The Five Unspoken Rules of Seatmate Etiquette
You control your own limbs but no one else's. We're all in this sardine can together, so keep your knees together, gentlemen, and the armrest stays down except under mutual agreement. And no pushing on your way out of the plane, particularly you window-seat partisans.
Keep your convos short, sweet and discreet. Remember, you're sitting in a metal tube which amplifies all the details about those "unfortunate" stitches you had to get, ahem. The sad thing is, the people most in need of this rule will never realize not everyone wants to know who pulled whose hair first.
Observe the imaginary wall. It's okay to exchange pleasantries with the person next to you, and we've all inadvertently elbowed 32B while trying to locate our seatbelts. The wall can be broached to offer gum or Xanax (please?) before takeoff without a problem. But don't strain to keep the conversation going like you're on a date, and just as you are keeping your elbows to yourself, eyes on your own tray. Keep fans and lights away, and for the love of all things Britney, use headphones.
Let sleeping dogs lie. Not just carried-on pets, but the people around you as well -- if you can't sleep on planes, that sucks, but don't share the misery. Shut-eye or soda? Definitely shut-eye. If your seatmate has nodded off and you have to get out, you are allowed to crawl over them if you know you can do it without waking them up. (A skill we've personally never mastered, but we hear some have!) This goes double on overnight flights, but it's the rare plane that doesn't feature at least one happy snoozer en route.
The squeaky wheel gets delayed. You don't need more than one pillow unless you are paying for them. You don't deserve a free cocktail because you've had a really long day. You don't get to take your shoes and your socks off. Is this your private plane? No. No, it is not. And you are the person breaking the invisible compact.
Have your own unspoken rules for Seatmate Etiquette that we should know about? Blast off in comments below..