8 things I’d like to hate less about flying in 2011

This story ran on New Year’s Eve in The Toronto Star and so many people have reached out to me offering their own pet peeves that I thought I’d re-run it here so that there’s room for comments.

Go ahead add your pet peeves to the list. Here’s hoping that together we can make air travel a little better for everyone. :)


If only getting here didn’t mean enduring bad passengers on the flight

2011 Wishlist for Frequent Flyers

ByHeather Greenwood Davis

Some people ask for a lot out of Christmas: Two front teeth, a hippopotamus, an Ipad. Not me (well okay maybe the Ipad). Of late I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time in the air and on my most recent flight back from the Turks and Caicos I realized exactly what I want the new year to bring me . . . better flight companions.

And so in honour of the new year, I bring you my 2011 traveller’s wish list:

1. A working TV: I don’t know what things are like at your house but in mine, the chances that I’ll get control of the remote to one of our two TVs is slim to just-not-hapening. So when I get on a flight of any real length I love to settle in and catch a flick. It’s my guilty pleasure. When you, airplane-seating Gods, give me a TV in the seat in front of me that teases me with sound but no picture, I have an incredible urge to find you and poke your eyes out. Just saying.

2. An aisle-mate who understands “inside voice”: You and your family just spent four days at an A-MAZE-ing hotel, you’ve got a sunburn in places you didn’t know existed, you regret giving that guy on the beach your phone number and you’re still not sure that shirt you bought isn’t too tight across your chest. I know. I don’t want to know. How do I know? Because you’re shouting it from the top of your lungs in a closed plane. Have you never been on a plane? Shut up already. Seriously. Which brings me to . . .

3. More mature seatmates: If you’ve been on a plane more than once you know the routine: Chair upright, seat table stowed, laptop away until seatbelt sign is off. I don’t like the rules either but they’re there and you have to follow them. So playing nice when the stewardess passes the first time and then tipping back slowly as soon as she’s gone isn’t going to work. Dude, she walks up and down the aisle. She’s going to bust you. You’re an idiot.

4. People who pick the right seat: You want to look out the window but you also have a bladder problem that will require you to get up every three minutes. Warning: I wanted the window seat but you took it and I’m only getting up three times per three-hour flight. After that I pretend I’m asleep and you’ll just have to deal with the consequences. If you need an aisle seat, get an aisle seat!

5. Kids who are attended to: Listen, I have two of my own. I know it can be tough to travel with kids, especially on long-haul flights. I never send dirty looks to moms with babies because I get it, there’s nothing you can do and you want the child to quit it as much as I do. But when the kids are big enough and you see that they are consistently kicking the back of a seat, knocking my tea into my lap or my laptop off the table, it may be time to intervene. You brought them, so it’s your responsibility to teach them how to fly. Smiling at how cute they are when they’re trying to stand on their chair and delaying take-off? Not cool.

6. Self-propelled travellers: You’ve got to get up. I get it, but do you really need to drive the back of my seat into the floor while you do it? Can you not use your armrests? And when you do grab my seat must you take my ponytail with you? This manoeuvre is only acceptable by unaccompanied senior citizens. All others may be tripped accidentally/on purpose as they pass.

7. Shoeless Joes: It’s been a long day. You’re finally comfortable in your seat and your feet are killing you so you slip out of your shoes and settle in. Totally acceptable. 20 minutes later you realize you need to use the facilities, so you pop out of your chair, walk down the aisle and step into the toilet . . . WHAT? Without your shoes? NOT acceptable. What else will you do with those feet? Do you then take them to bed with you? Allow your boyfriend to tickle them? Put them up on the couch? C’mon people.

8. Privacy Protectors: Those racy pictures you took of your girlfriend in the privacy of your hotel room? The ones that you (and she) would never want a plane full of random people seeing? Don’t use it as your screensaver. And if you do, don’t fall asleep with it on and the slideshow streaming through the lot of them. Trust me on this one. Shut’er down.

Got a few of your own? Add them in the comments below.

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{ 22 comments… add one }

Kim Haskett January 4, 2011, 1:01 PM

.1. The area between the seats, above the armrest, ahead of you..IS NOT A FOOT REST.
My elbow becomes a good ‘blocker’ after your 2nd attempt… I WILL hurt you!! keep your feet on the floor
(ohh??? and I never even thought about if she had been in the washroom with her sock feet… ewww!)

2. Don’t complain when they run out of ‘chicken, fish, beef ..what ever..if you didn’t pre-order take
what they give you, shut up, and plan to eat more before or after the flight on your next trip.
….no one ever starved to death on a airplane!

3. if your seat number is 15 and they are calling for Aisle’s 60 to 40… get OUT of the line already,
and let those of us, that have to go to the baaaacck of the plane get the heck on. CAn you not COUNT?

3b. Flight attendants (I know your job is to be nice BUT!)…quit letting these people board that can’t read their tickets..YOU can read, yes?
STOP them, motion them aside and let the process work!!

And by the way..I put Flight Attendants on a pedestal shared with Nurses. They both do difficult jobs,
in demanding circumstances, with emergency’s just waiting around the conner, and always seem to have
a smile and patience that goes the distance……kudos to them both!!

Thanks for the great article Heather…I feel better just getting this off my chest^^
Happy New Year!

Kim Haskett


Heather Greenwood Davis January 4, 2011, 1:32 PM

Loved these Kim. Hilarious.


Stelford Eaton January 4, 2011, 6:12 PM

A great and funny article. Although my first thought when you talked about removing the shoes was….smelly feet!!!!! The air exchangers don’t work THAT well!


Heather January 4, 2011, 2:37 PM

Don’t get me wrong… that’s a problem too!


GBK Gwyneth January 4, 2011, 1:19 PM

Fun list! I would add “overhead compartment hogs” to it as well ….

I have to admit, what caught my eye is the photo … That’s got to be Fiesta Americana Coral Beach in Cancun, right?? We were there last January and really enjoyed it!


Heather Greenwood Davis January 4, 2011, 1:31 PM

Yes! I took it at the Fiesta Americana a few weeks ago. Did you try the spa? Phenomenal right?


Michael Anderson January 4, 2011, 10:19 PM

I flew close to 122,000 miles in 2010. Here is my frequent flyer wish list:

*That airlines in Canada ban people from bringing cups of coffee and tea onto the plane. Nothing irritates me more than watching somebody lurch down the aisle with two bags and a cup of coffee in hand. Australian airlines don’t let you onboard with cups of scalding liquid.

*A ban on people who bring an excessive amount of luggage onboard and then manage to smack you in the head, arm, shoulder as they go by.

*A plague on people who think the only way to get the back of seat television to work is to try and drive their finger through the screen…and into the back of your head

*Permanent lifetime ban from excessive grooming on planes. I’ve witnessed people clip and file their nails (men and women) among other things.

*A big sign at the front of the plane that states “Don’t do or say anything on this plane that your mother would be embarrassed by.”


Thetripchicks January 5, 2011, 12:56 AM

It’d be a dream come true if all the snorking, hacking, obviously ill pax were required to sit in the same section of the plane and wear surgical masks to boot. Better yet, sick people (and flight attendants) be allowed to fly another day with no penalty provided they have real medical proof. Have caught too many bugs from sick flyers and FAs. . Ann
(On Twitter @thetripchicks)


Heather Greenwood Davis January 5, 2011, 12:58 PM

I like it!


M Handelman January 5, 2011, 2:01 AM

You started it and I’m sure I’m you and I are not the only ones with pet peeves, but here are some of my unhappy flying experiences:

No sir, you may not store your mile wide sombrero under the seat in front of your seat mate: he or she may want to put feet there.

Boarding drunk is only acceptable if you know you’re a quiet drunk and will sleep the entire flight. Aside from embarrassing the life out of your kids, your next seat mate may not take a bemused attitude when you ask him if he’s a fag.

No my dear, I’m terribly sorry that your baby’s diaper needs changing, but you shouldn’t do it on the seat table while awaiting takeoff. (honest, this happened to me, I was sitting in front of the lady. Happily, the flight attendants were equally mortified.)

Happy New Year.


palinode January 5, 2011, 3:23 AM

Whenever I take a flight on an airline that charges for every piece of checked baggage, boarding and deplaning becomes a claustrophobic ordeal. Everybody is stretching the limits of what’s allowable with carry-on, because who wants to pay an extra 25 bucks to an airline when you’ve already shelled out several hundred bucks to pack yourself in like a sardine? On one flight I had a seat at the back of the plane, but there was so much carry-on in the compartments that I ended up having to check my bag.

My other peeve is one you’ve mentioned: people who don’t seem to think that they should follow the few simple instructions that are in place for the safety and comfort of everyone in the plane. Stop yakking on your cell phone. Put up your seat up for ten minutes. Ten minutes out of your entire existence. Is it going to make such a difference to your life if you’re not reclining for ten minutes?


Heather Greenwood Davis January 5, 2011, 12:57 PM

Someone suggested that I need to do a pet peeves list for airlines. The baggage fee issue would be high on that list. And yup, the guy/gal who just can’t follow the simple instructions is often at the receiving end of my evil glare. Thanks for the comment!


Sandy (@sandyel) January 9, 2011, 3:19 PM

Love this list. Too funny! The no shoes in the bathroom thing grosses me out completely!


Heather Greenwood Davis January 10, 2011, 11:22 AM

Flying again today. Seriously considering printing out this list and the comments, laminating it and handing it out to passengers as they board the plane. :)


Sharon January 18, 2011, 3:50 PM

I don’t have any to add, but I love your list. There’s nothing worse than facing a long haul flight without a working TV. Luckily, I always take reading material, but if you’re traveling with kids they need the distraction.


Heather Greenwood Davis January 21, 2011, 9:56 PM

Thanks Sharon!


Tracey Friley August 14, 2012, 11:19 AM

LOL Great list. Don’t forget the overhead bin space hogs. Yuk.


Heather August 14, 2012, 2:08 PM

HA!You’re right they might just make my 2012 list ;)


April D. Thompson August 14, 2012, 3:59 PM

Your #7 reminded me of the folks who think it’s OK to put their feet (with or without shoes) on the arm rests just behind where my arms are resting. Eww, Yuck! No sir, no ma’am.


Michaela August 15, 2012, 11:27 AM

I’m guilty of enjoying walking around barefoot at work, never in a plane though. LOL! And # 6 is on point. Use your leg muscles folks! :-D


Ask Wifey August 15, 2012, 5:07 PM

Love your list! And ugh I hate getting up 50 times per flight unnecessarily. Bad seat pickers!

Winks & Smiles,


AngelaQT August 16, 2012, 2:41 PM

Hehe…these are fun. I´d agree with all of them…especially that last one. Ha!


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