Humor by Jen Lancaster

Remember when air travel was glamorous?

Once upon a time, men took trans-Atlantic flights clad in suits and fedoras and ladies didn't step onto the tarmac without seamed stockings and white gloves. And the stewardesses? No, not flight attendants, stewardesses -- were pretty much sex on a stick.

Actually, those days existed long before I ever booked a ticket, however I'm a huge fan of "Mad Men" and have thus lived vicariously through the oh-so-civilized Don Draper.

If Don Draper were flying the Friendly Skies today, I wonder how he'd feel about the vagaries of modern travel, considering the elegance has gone the way of the smoking section. As I'm currently on a cross-country tour promoting my first novel, I'm well-versed in everything wrong with the state of aviation.

My concerns don't center on the indignity of a TSA groping (without benefit of dinner), departure times best described as "guesstimates," or the constant nickel-and-diming on all things luggage-related. I view these aspects as cost of doing business in a post 9/11 world. Complaining isn't going to make a difference.

Rather, my issue stems from behavior within passengers' own control. Here's the thing: I make every effort to be polite. I hold doors, I thank and tip egregiously, and anyone with 10 items or fewer is always invited to step in line in front of me.

In return for my courtesy, I'd appreciate a modicum of respect. That means if I'm dozing in the seat next to you, eyes closed, headphones on, please do not poke me midflight to reaffirm that we are, indeed, still heading to Atlanta. Had you any doubt, perhaps you should have checked with the nice lady in the polyester uniform who greeted you upon boarding.

Some foods lend themselves to consumption in close public spaces, like the main cabin in Coach. Deli sandwiches are an excellent choice, as are fruits, salads, chips, and bags of trail mix.

St. Louis-style spare ribs are not.

Also? Please don't force me to suggest you place the licked-clean bones somewhere other than the seatback pocket in front of you.

It's never appropriate to direct your sneeze toward my Diet Coke in order to keep your iPad dry.

There's a time and place to apply deodorant, tweeze your chin hairs, and floss your teeth. Taxiing down the runway is not that time.

A mute button exists on the Super Mario Brothers DS. I know; I Googled it. And sir? You're 40 years old; it's time to put the video games away. Authors like James Patterson and Tucker Max exist specifically so your demographic can read happily on the plane.

No one likes a whistler. No one.

I agree, Jesus is nice. But all your talk about the imminent prospect of Heaven is making me nervous. What Would Jesus Do? Save his chatter about the Promised Land for baggage claim, most likely.

Finally, it's my right to recline my seat, which, out of consideration, I only do when I score an upgrade. Despite the ample square footage in First Class, I'm happy to readjust should your need arise.

Or, you could be like the passive aggressive gentleman in 4B yesterday, who choose to continually shove the back of my seat instead of actually speaking to me.

Of course, he never expected me to shove back.

Had he known, he might have repositioned his beverage.

My point is this: If you don't want to spend the entire flight back from Dallas with a damp lap, I suggest you embrace civility.

After all, I'm on the road for two more weeks.

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