• It's all smiles until someone forgets their manners. (SBS)
For God's sake pull yourself together. You're in public.
By
Rob Hunter

26 Jul 2017 - 2:39 PM  UPDATED 26 Jul 2017 - 3:05 PM

Flying long distance can be a stressful experience under the best of circumstances, as evidenced in the doco Secrets of a Long Haul Flight, which goes behind the scenes of a QANTAS voyage from London to Sydney. And if you act like an insensitive sociopath, these kinds of journeys can be especially challenging as people will want something bad to happen to you.

Here are some simple tips to ensure you survive your next long-haul flight without crew members or passengers wishing you serious harm.

 

Go easy on the booze and remember there are people around you

Being cooped up in a metal tube for an extended period can be difficult for all concerned, but this is no excuse for poor behaviour. Being late to your gate, belligerent or otherwise obnoxious creates unnecessary annoyance for staff and passengers, while being drunk and disorderly on a flight should really be left to the expertise of movie stars and professional athletes. Unless you are one, don’t be a baby. Instead, remind yourself that flight attendants have dozens of passengers to take care of, and that the pilots and crew are defying the laws of nature to reach your destination and are therefore best left undisturbed.

 

Give the babies a break

Speaking of babies, being seated next to an infant can be a long-haul traveller’s worst nightmare, but the reality is sometimes babies need to go places, and not all of them have the mental capacity to understand and appreciate the amazing science and etiquette of air travel. Travelling parents are already most likely doing their best, but if a baby is crying and won’t listen to your requests for silence no matter how rational and well-reasoned they may seem to you, put some dang headphones in and stop complaining.

 

Do not assume you are interesting

Every person in the world has a story to tell, but it would be foolish to assume all those stories are entertaining. If your seat neighbour is willing and compliant, by all means try to fill the next 12 hours with pleasant dialogue. If they seem unwilling or uninterested, it is wise to have an alternate activity planned in case they or nearby passengers spend the whole trip secretly hoping you shut the hell up while silently thinking of painful ways to ensure you do.

 

Step away from the luggage

If passengers were considering dealing you serious harm during the flight, standing too close to the baggage carousel to collect your bags afterwards may be the final straw that guarantees you receive a deserved thrashing. After a long trip, people understandably want to retrieve their belongings and quickly depart, but standing a few metres back from the carousel won’t hurt you nearly as much as the people around you might if you stand annoyingly close.

 

Other helpful tips:

  • Remember the benefits of basic hygiene.
  • Be aware of the inherent dangers of setting things on fire.
  • Toilet waste goes in the toilet rather than on or around it.

Placing hundreds of people in close proximity for a lengthy period has the potential to be a horrifying experience, but with these tips, you should arrive at your destination with a minimum of injuries. Also, keep in mind that powerful drugs can knock you out for the duration of a flight, and are an excellent solution to this and several more of life’s problems. Happy travels!

 

Watch Secrets of a Long Haul Flight  Wednesday 26 January at 8:30pm on SBS.

More on the Guide
An etiquette guide to battlefield tourism
The dos and don’ts when visiting hallowed historical ground.
The 8 worst things about travelling
In 'Travel Man', Richard Ayoade shows us what a whirlwind travelling can be. But anyone who has travelled knows that with the whirlwind, can come some unpleasantness.