Growing up as a boxing fan in a middle class house, I never imagined a day we could afford ringside seats to the biggest fights in the world. But these days everybody can, thanks to commercial air travel.
According to a recent report, the Federal Aviation Administration has logged 3,400 reports of unruly passengers this year. Most people attribute the spike in smack downs to increased mask policing and residual rage from a year of lockdowns.
Regardless of how we got here, the fact remains there have been so many brawls on planes this summer, Brad Pitt and Ed Norton could make a sequel called "FLIGHT Club." But I can't elaborate further because everybody knows the first rule of Flight Club is you don't TALK about Flight Club, you record it on your iPhone and post it to social media.
With so many fists flying, I decided to make a list of ways you can make sure your next non-stop journey doesn’t become a "connecting" flight. Keep in mind that this is for people who fly COMMERCIAL, so if you’re a Texas Democrat, stop reading now.
1. Respect the Carry On Rule
We’ve all boarded a plane that’s only seated 10 rows of passengers yet somehow has already filled 18 rows of overhead storage bins. I like skipping a baggage fee as much as the next guy but trust me, the $35 Visa charge doesn’t hurt HALF as much as the roundhouse right to the neck.
If you don’t believe me, ask passengers on a recent Frontier Airlines Flight who got into a storage fight that was so wild, police put the violence at a NINE on a scale of "One to a Real Housewives Reunion."
Understaffed Flight Crews are too busy seating people and their Emotional Support Ferrets to count your bags so we’re counting on you. Remember, "one carry on and one personal item" does not mean two rolling suitcases, a laptop, and shopping bag from Metro News.
I know your smart phone has been calibrated to make you feel like the most important person in the world but everybody behind you has a phone too. And they’re rage-texting about you while the Flight Attendant gate-checks their bags.
2. Dress For the Flight You Want.
When I was a kid, there was a nobility to flying. People put on nice clothes and took pride in the image they projected. I’m not saying we wore tuxedos, but none of us looked underdressed for a Motley Crue concert. I flew Spirit Air last month and the first guy I saw was so disheveled I almost put a dollar in his coffee cup. But enough about the pilot.
Jokes aside, I understand we can’t all fly First Class, but we’ve gotta have SOME class. Hopefully that shared commitment to dignity will instill a sense of self awareness in the flip flop and tank top crowd. Sure, it might not help your pilot find a gate any faster when you land at O’Hare, but if it stops ONE GUY from trimming his toe-nails while you wait, it was all worth it.
3. Put Your Mask On and Shut Up About It
Yes, it’s a ridiculous rule. We’ve seen no data to indicate planes are a significant source of viral spread. But mask mayhem is a significant source of viral videos so lay off the flight attendants who’ve been forced into hall monitoring.
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I know we’ve all dealt with that one arrogant crew member but they deal with hundreds of impossible passengers every day. As frustrated as you are to not get treated like Royalty after paying $76 to fly to Rochester, you can take heart in knowing the person who disrespected the Crown will always be on the wrong side of supply and demanding.
4. In the words of Meatloaf, Let Me Sleep on It
If the person next to you is napping when the beverage cart pulls up do not, under any circumstances wake them. I know you’re just trying to be considerate so consider this: lack of sleep causes strokes and heart attacks. Last I checked nobody was being treated at the Mayo Clinic for a Ginger Ale Deficiency.
Yes, airlines have gotten stingy with the goodies but believe me, your seat mate can survive without the rations. Just because your ticket says "Portland" doesn’t mean you’re on the Oregon Trail.
5. Be Kind When You Recline
Always give some consideration to the height of the person behind you before reclining your seat. I know you just want to be comfortable but so does the 6 foot 6 guy with the neck tattoo. He may not be able to afford "extra leg room" but it will cost him nothing to use YOU as a floatation device should the flight become a cruise.
6. Give Peace a Chance
I was boarding a flight home from L.A. last week and as I waited for the aisle to clear, the guy behind me sighed so loudly it could’ve woke up the control room on the Chris Cuomo Show. As I began shouting obscenities in my head it dawned on me that he wasn’t being rude so much as he was being miserable, because let’s face it, we’re ALL miserable flying coach these days.
There are so many indignities it’s more like "Assistant Coach." The fees are bigger, the leg room is smaller, and there’s so many boarding classes it feels like you’re trying to remember where you parked at Disney World.
"I think we’re in Pluto Green, honey, but I’m not sure what letter of the alphabet."
I’m Sicilian. I was raised to take nothing from nobody. But everyone’s so on edge these days that pride often leads to pugilism. So the next time somebody mouths off on the way to the Magic Kingdom make like Princess Elsa and "Let It Go."
I could do this for days but we’ve arrived at our destination. I’m not saying this was a flawless flight but if you follow my advice your next trip will be an unbeatable experience.