Jessica Gregson’s blog

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Reading ‘The Collective’ between Nairobi and London

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The book: The Collective, Stephen King

The place: A flight from Nairobi to London (no photograph available due to exhaustion and despair).

A few days behind on this one, as it’s taken a while to recover from the intense and violent rage engendered by this flight. I fly a lot, twenty flights to far this year, with three more scheduled within the next week – you would think that I would have developed a Zen acceptance of all the discomfort and inconvenience flying brings, and in that case you’d probably be right. I have an enviable ability to effectively go into a state of suspended animation on long flights, shutting down any bodily functions or needs beyond breathing, basic circulation and swiping to turn the page on my Kindle. What I have not developed a Zen acceptance of is the execrable behaviour of fellow passengers.

Listen. I am not unreasonable. I recognise that my fellow passengers are probably not all serial murderers, genocidaires or similarly morally repugnant individuals, fit only to be cast into outer darkness. Probably these people have friends, families, and interests. I expect they are kind to animals and tear up at the end of <i>Titanic</i>. However this does not detract from my fierce desire to cause them extreme bodily harm, owing to their utter disregard for what I consider to be the basics of air travel etiquette.

The problem with air travel is that it has developed so fast that it is taking time for rules of etiquette to catch up. No one knows how to behave, except (obviously) for me. Here are my rules of air travel behaviour:

  1. On passing through security, do not, by any means, stand in front of the x-ray belt waiting for your items, and then block access for everyone else while you painstakingly re-loop your belt and rearrange your various electronic items in their respective pockets. NO. Collect your items, retreat to a neutral area and repack away from everyone else. Yes, even your shoes. I have walked through vast tracts of airports barefoot as a result of this policy, and it has never done me any harm.
  2. On boarding the plane, find your seat as quickly as possible, and then SIT THE HELL DOWN, waiting for everyone to find their respective places before shoving your oversized and misshapen handluggage into the overhead compartment. Do not stand blocking the aisle as people back up behind you coaxing your luggage into the compartment. NO.
  3. Do you have a tiny bladder, or some sort of physical need to leap to your feet and wander around every couple of hours? Then BY NO MEANS request a window seat. You will miss some views. That is no less than you deserve.
  4. Observe strict armrest and legroom discipline. Legroom: you are permitted ONLY the space immediately in front of your seat. Is any part of your leg to the right or the left of the join between your seat and the next? Then you are breaching legroom etiquette. Likewise armrests. Middle seat has armrest privileges owing to it being the worst seat. Aisle seat takes aisle armrest; window seat has whole wall to lean against so has no armrest privileges.
  5. If you are the person who rams their seat back as far as it can go the second the seatbelt sign is turned off, and keeps it that way until ordered by cabin crew to put it up because the plan is about to land, you are literally the worst kind of person.

Written by Jess

May 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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