Airplane travel ground rules


Roger Murdock:We have clearance, Clarence. Captain Oveur: Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?

- Airplane

Ready or not, spring break is around the corner and after that, summer trips begin. Wow has the year flown by!!

Team Phenix is about to make our commute out to the Left Coast,  so it's time to remind our kids of  airplane ground rules.  While our pack has been making this trip since the kids were six weeks old, it's worth reinforcing the ground rules.

These are the headlines...

Flying is not about you - it’s a community experience.

This means you need to share things like overhead space, armrests, and the lavatory.  You don’t need to share stinky things like a tuna sandwich, nail polish, or dirty feet.

You need to be patient with the airline staff, the guy in the middle seat, the people in line in front of you.

I know you’ve never lived in a small village before, but anytime you climb on a plane, pretend that you are part of a larger, extended family living 30,000 feet above ground.

Observe community norms.

Don’t clip your nails on the plane, don’t talk to the people sitting next to you unless they want to talk to you, and don’t blame the flight attendants for the weather outside.

Keep your feet away from the seat in front of you.  Stand up when the person in the middle seat wants to get out. Keep the area around your seat neat and for the love of everything healthy, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze!  You are in this together with the rest of the people on the plane, so use your best manners and leave your selfishness at the door.

Be flexible.

The best way to stay nimble is to UNDER pack. You don’t need a huge assortment of shoes or toys.  You are going on a trip where there will be LOTS of fun things to see!  Don’t bring your life with you.  You should expect to live a little differently when you’re away from home

However, DO pack snacks, enough reading material to be happy if you get stuck, good music, and something to write in or draw on. Imagination is the best travel companion and your carry-on materials should be used to provide some raw material for that imagination.

Be practical.

Remember the laundry list of things you need to do to make everyone's life easier.

Go to the bathroom before you board the plane.

Don't bring anything valuable or with lots of pieces on a trip with you.  This is particularly true of Lego sets.  (Not that we have any direct experience on this issue...)

Keep a good attitude no matter what.  If this is challenging, at least say "please" and "thank you" like it's your job.

And finally, stare out the window as much as possible.  Never, never, never get so used to flying that you fail to marvel at the vast beauty of the world.  Airplanes are one of the few chances where you’ll ever get to see our world as if you were a bird.

How do you prep your family for a big trip?