There is an excess of in-flight horror stories these days. You probably have experienced an intoxicated person a few rows back who doesn’t stop whining at the top of his lungs, or a baby who doesn’t stop crying, or the classic case of an overeager seatmate who goes on and on and on with the story of his/her life. However, more than these out-and-out exasperating situations, there are still numerous other instances that may not be as apparent but are still prevalent causes of stress to the hapless victim.
One of the major stressed during a flight can be traced to unwelcome intrusions of personal space. However, this problem cannot be entirely avoided considering that numerous individuals share a very small piece of real estate during a flight, and it seems to be getting smaller (see recent USA Today article). The best that one can do is to minimize the occurrence and take the edge off of such intrusion as much as possible.
Since you will be sitting really close to others during a flight, you should pay attention to hygiene. If you have a very early flight the next day, you may want to wake up early to shower or at least take a shower the night before your flight. If you happen to be sitting beside one whose smell is just plain offensive, do not make snide remarks if you do not want to engage in a nasty fight. You may be better off approaching a flight attendant and request to be seated elsewhere.
Unless you arrived at the boarding gate less than 10 minutes before boarding, there is no excuse for you to use the airplane’s toilet immediately after embarkation. This will just cause unnecessary delay in your departure and you are surely going to be a target of many hateful stares on your way to your seat.
If you have had a history of motion sickness, ensure that a bag for such purpose is within your reach. This should be done immediately after you have settled down on your seat. You do not want to be caught mid-barf before finding out that you do not have anything functional to use. Don’t trust yourself to make a run for the lavatory, you may find yourself throwing up your lunch on your seatmate’s lap.
If there are things you know you will use during the flight, do not put them inside the bag you will place in the overhead bin. Rather, use a small enough bag you can comfortably take with you in your seat. This is especially crucial if you are not occupying the aisle seat. You do not want to disturb your seatmate every time you feel like checking out your bag.
Be mindful of your headphone volume. Again, you will be sitting really close to others inside the plane. Your seatmate may want to doze off during the flight but finds it impossible to do so because he or she can can’t help but hear the racket caused by your favorite rock metal band.
If someone is causing you much discomfort, do not take it upon yourself to reprimand them. Flight attendants are especially trained to handle these situations. So, call for one and relay the problem.
Finally, do not forget to be your usual polite and charming self during your flight, relax and enjoy the time in the air. It takes the edge off of the situation and most often guarantees a positive response from others.