Hello from Hong Kong.
Okay, so I am going to start my travelogue blogging with a bit of a bleat.
You head to the airport all full of vim and vigour, and happily wait through the three hours before departure that international flights now seem to require for security purposes. You even happily wait for your row number to be called before crowding into the boarding queue. It’s a nice steady walk down the aisle of the aircraft to your seat, which if you can count up to 50-something and read A through J, is quickly and easily spotted.
So far, so good.
If you have been a good little camper and followed the whole, simple process then there is a good chance that your flight will start off really well. What comes next is totally out of your control. Just like the old saying
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.
Only now it’s not YOUR family that you need to look out for. Unless you are travelling en masse with every extended family member you have, you will be surrounded by strangers. Eww yuck. Okay, I’m not a socio-phobe (is that a real word?). What I am is a manners freak, especially in confined spaces. You know. Like aircraft.
What I don’t want to suffer from on an aircraft that will be my home for the best part of twelve hours is a small, annoying, but old enough to have better manners child kicking the back of my seat. Even in a rhythmic, get used to it, it’ll be soothing you to sleep soon kind of way. Neither do I want someone who thinks that their seat needs to be as horizontal as possible as soon as possible and intends to keep it that way, food service included. In the same vein are people who recline their seat without checking if you are writing or still have a glass of drink on your tray table.
Crying babies on the other hand – not a problem. Who can blame them? After all they have no idea why it feels like their brain is going to explode on takeoff.
So, those are my pet peeves.
Just for the record, on the flight to Singapore I had a kicker for the first fifteen or so minutes until I peered through the gap with a specially selected scowl after which the kicking ceased. And in the last food service of the flight was treated to the delights of a bouncy teenager having a hilarious giggle-fest with her twin sister. The hilarity not being my problem so much as my mobile glass of water. But like they say, you learn your behaviour from your parents. At one point in the flight I saw her father repeatedly push back upright the seat directly in front of him as it’s occupant tried to move to a sleeping position. Apparently it was okay for him to lean his seat back into my next-door neighbour, but not for the person in front of him to have the same privilege. He was long of leg, I’ll give you that. But he had the option of sitting on an aisle seat instead of his wife – and he chose not too. That was a piece of the most blatant in-flight bad manners I have ever seen.
On behalf of all reasonable air travellers, I humbly request that you take your best manners with you as carry-on when you board your aircraft, don’t check them into the hold with your other baggage!