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.