Who Are You on An Airplane? An Introduction to Mike Barish

by  Mike Barish | Apr 18, 2012
Girl on plane
Girl on plane / undrey/iStock

You can learn a lot about people by how they behave on an airplane. It's a narrow tube, the air is stale, and people’s definitions of personal space differ immensely. The women in high heels and tight pants seem showy. Passengers who think that a massive bag will fit in the overhead compartment have serious spatial relations issues. People who go into airplane bathrooms barefoot are disgusting. So, what better way to introduce myself as the new Associate Editor at ShermansTravel than to give you a sense of what I’m like on a plane?

I prefer the aisle seat. It gives me more room, though people walking to the bathroom often bump into me. I don’t drink anything other than water and ginger ale on flights. Well, the occasional Bloody Mary has been known to happen.

I sleep very well on planes. My personal record for longest uninterrupted nap on a flight is 11.5 hours. That probably no longer qualifies as just a nap. When I woke up, the woman sitting next to me told me that I looked very peaceful while I was sleeping. She made me more uncomfortable than any amount of turbulence could.

If you touch my head because you were using my seatback for leverage as you stood up, I will glare at you. I feel very justified in doing so. Don’t touch my head.

That’s not to suggest that I don’t enjoy interacting with my fellow travelers. We just need boundaries. On a flight from Atlanta to New York, I sat next to a woman with an infant and a toddler. When she returned from the restroom with the younger child, she struggled with the diaper bag, baby and narrow seat. I wasn’t bothered at all by the commotion and asked if I could hold something for her so that she could get herself situated. Without skipping a beat, she handed me her son. He smiled. His sister giggled. Their mother sighed with relief and sat down. Maybe some boundaries should be broken.

I recline my seat. It’s my seat, so it’s my choice. I don’t ask the person behind me if it’s OK. I recline slowly and fully. I make no apologies for that.

I read the SkyMall catalog. It might be the single greatest aspect of the in-flight experience. I own several products listed in its pages and regret nothing.

I’m offended by people who don’t turn off their electronic devices when instructed to do so. I don’t believe that those people are actually endangering us; I just think that everyone should follow the rules. Sorry, Alec Baldwin.

I’ve learned a lot from my time on airplanes (and on the trips that put me on those flights). I’m thrilled to join ShermansTravel to share that knowledge with you.

Travel should be a positive experience, no matter who you are on the airplane. Unless, of course, you’re the person who goes into the bathroom barefoot. That’s just gross.

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