You Get Stuck with the Middle Seat
No matter how smooth your flight, you’re not going to have a great experience when you’re stuck with people on either side of you. To make the most of a bad situation, stake out the armrests early on. It’s understood that the middle passenger gets his or her fair share of at least one armrest, since the window-side passenger has an entire wall to rely on. Don’t shy away from claiming your valuable real estate, and don’t be afraid to recline your seat if it’ll help you get comfortable. Another tip: Bring or ask for a neck pillow so you can sleep sitting up.
Your Seatmate Stinks
There’s nothing worse than having to tell someone that their odor is a problem, but at least there are some discrete solutions.
For bad breath, offer them a mint or some chewing gum. You’ll be heralded as a generous passenger and their breath will hopefully improve. (Side note: Always bring mints or chewing gum!) If the problem is more of a bodily stench, take advantage of the personal air nozzle up above you. Direct a strong flow of fresh air at your face—it’ll save you the trouble of covering your nose or breathing through your mouth.
If your stinky seatmate is odiferous enough to render both tactics useless, you can always ask to switch seats if any are available. It’s best to do this out of earshot of the offender, of course, unless you don’t mind embarrassing your seatmate.
You Sit Next to a Chatty Kathy
You can’t exactly blame the Chatty Kathy for being excited about traveling or wanting to know your life’s story. But you can still end up annoyed—especially if you view flying as an opportunity to read a book or catch up on your favorite shows. Thankfully, this problem is easy to solve. Headphones, books, and eye masks say “leave me alone” so that you don’t have to. If Cathy is really persistent, just mention how jetlagged you are or share that you’re excited to finish your book on the flight. Most people will take the hint.
The Food Is Gross
It’s hard enough to endure a long flight to begin with. It’s so much worse when the food is borderline inedible. If you’re served a gross meal, ask if you can switch it for the alternative. The worst they can say is no.
There’s a Bratty Kid Onboard
You can’t blame parents for wanting (or needing) to traveling with their kids. You can blame them for not keeping said kid under control. This one is tricky, especially if you can’t tell if there are special circumstances contributing to the child’s behavior. In most cases, the child will eventually get what he or she needs to stop screaming or will fall asleep, and the best thing you can do is be sympathetic to the parent(s). If it’s really bad, you can ask to move—but a distraught baby can usually be heard by most of the plane.
The In-Flight Entertainment Doesn’t Work
When it comes to passing time on a lengthy flight, we can’t stress this one enough—come prepared to entertain yourself. You never know when in-flight televisions will be unavailable, and it’s not uncommon to lose Wi-Fi while flying over the ocean. If you’re unprepared for a blank seat-back screen, ask the flight attendant if there’s any additional reading material available onboard.
This rarity is something straight out of Bridesmaids—but it can happen. If you find yourself next to a panicked flyer, don’t let their fear affect you. Comforting a stranger is sometimes easy enough, but let the flight crew deal with the situation if it gets out of hand—they’ve probably dealt with it before.
More from Smarter Travel:
- The Worst Decisions You Can Make on a Cruise
- 7 Risky Foods to Avoid While Traveling
- The 10 Most Fattening Foods in the World
Read the original story: 7 Most Annoying Things That Can Happen to You on a Plane by Shannon McMahon, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.