To:Fellow Travelers From: The Center of the Universe Re:Travel Tips
Over the past several months, I have been afforded numerous opportunities to observe you all during my various sojourns around the country. Furthermore, given that my stockpile of frequent flier miles has yet to reach the level at which I am guaranteed the regular business class upgrades and numerous other perks I enjoyed during the early years of my career, I have not only observed you, but have, in fact, interacted directly with many of you on a far more personal basis than either of us would prefer. In doing so, I have noted numerous occasions in which your behavior has extended far beyond the boundaries of what could be considered common decency by any reasonable standard. Therefore, I feel duty bound to alert you to these transgressions so as to ensure you take the appropriate corrective action.
As always, please regard following as constructive criticism and be assured it in no way bears upon my regard for you on a personal level:
Attn Creepy Backpack Guy at Toronto Airport: Beginning a conversation with a strange member of the opposite sex with the phrase, “I swear I’m not coming on to you, but…” is a surefire signal you are doing just that. In fact, beginning any conversation with a cheesy opening line is not only a surefire signal you are coming on to said strange member of the opposite sex, but that you are doing so clumsily and unappealingly, as is evidenced by the follow-up to your opening “line.” I can only assume, when you inquired as to whether I could ever love a man with spaghetti sauce on his pants who forgets anniversaries, you were being self-referential. In that case, my answer is a resounding "NO.”
Attn Angry Businesswoman on Northwest Flight 726 Minneapolis – Boston: I suspect you were very frustrated upon discovering the overhead bins were too full to accommodate your gigantic suitcase. Actually, I know definitively how frustrated you were, because you shared your frustration with your fellow travelers – vociferously and continuously – while standing in the center of the aisle berating the flight attendants for “ruining” your Very Important Business Dinner by wrestling your gigantic suitcase away from you for checking rather than merely jettisoning the luggage of other, Less Important, travelers. Considering our flight was not scheduled to arrive in Boston until 7:52 p.m., a wiser traveler might have scheduled her Very Important Business Dinner for later than 8:00 p.m. Failing that, she would have taken an earlier flight. At the very least, she would not have strolled onto a full aircraft at the last possible minute when it was a virtual certainty that carry-on space would be scarce, if not non-existent.
Attn Creepy Backpack Guy in Toronto Airport: While I could easily have been telling a polite white lie when informing you I did not wish to continue what was already a relatively one-sided conversation because I had a sore throat, I was, in fact, telling the truth. I have been quite ill over the past several weeks and can assure you that I had no intention of suddenly springing back to health and re-engaging in our non-versation, no matter how closely you chose to hover over me as I stared at my book in a futile effort to ignore you.
Attn Seat-Stealing Old Lady on US Airways Flight 294 Philadelphia – Boston: It is perfectly reasonable to politely request that a fellow traveler exchange seats with you, particularly given your advanced years and understandable desire to sit next to your daughter. This is true even when you are asking said fellow traveler to relinquish an aisle seat and take one in the middle of the row; after all, it was a short flight, and, while indisputably unpleasant, it would have been bearable. Had you asked thusly, I think you would have discovered I was more than willing to accommodate you; in fact, I typically welcome any opportunity to be nice to the elderly and would probably have offered up my seat, even had you not requested it. However, merely plunking oneself down in the aisle seat of one’s choice and informing its legitimate occupant of your intention to remain there regardless of whether you were entitled to do so is not only unreasonable, it is outright rude. Therefore, I will not apologize for deliberately crushing your jacket with my suitcase when I placed it in the overhead bin. It serves you right.
Attn Married Guy in Next Seat on United Flight 1957 Charlotte – Boston: I enjoyed our conversation tremendously, particularly since, for nearly the entire duration of our flight, I was under the impression I was speaking with a single man. This was a logical assumption on my part, as you were not wearing a wedding ring. I suspect you are well aware any reasonable single woman would make such an assumption. And I suspect that is why you do it. Your inadvertent reference to your wife as we began our approach to the Boston airport and subsequent stammering upon realizing your mistake only confirm this suspicion. One can only hope this awkward dabble in illicit flirtation has taught you that this manner of duplicity is far more difficult than it appears to be and that you will refrain from such behavior in the future.
Attn Creepy Backpack Guy in Toronto Airport: My inadvertent upward glance was not a signal I wished to resume our interaction. It was a simple result of my need to know how long I had to endure your stalker-esque presence before being able to board my plane.
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who have endeavored to make my travels in coach class as tolerable as possible: the flight attendants who bring me my Diet Coke in the can, rather than in the plastic cup; the gallant businessmen who assist me in lifting my suitcase into the overhead bin; and the entire JetBlue community for making satellite television available in flight. As my frequent flier miles are accumulating more quickly than I could have hoped, I fear I will be soon leaving most of you behind. I would say I will miss you all, but I believe we all know that would be an untruth.
Business class awaits.