Flying is a tough activity as a parent. We have three kids and whenever we fly it has the potential to be a very stressful experience.
For my wife the stress will stem from packing and other sensible and practical concerns; for myself it is often the etiquette of other passengers.
They say that "manners maketh the man"however on a long haul flight I think the phrase, "manners maketh the journey" would be just as powerful a statement.
A flight cabin is an unnatural habitat, hundreds of strangers crammed into a small place for an extended period of time is quite clearly a recipe for disaster. Quite why the movie "Snakes on a Plane" needed to add snakes to the equation to add to the tension of a plane journey has always been beyond me. Human beings are a great deal more scary than snakes or any other species of animal when sat next to each other on a plane.
More often than not a good journey can be turned into a bad one simply by the people that fate has chosen sit next to you and your family on the plane. Strangers on a plane can stumble across any number of faux pas that can disrupt, annoy or outright ruin your flight. These incidents can range from a man simply wearing a sleeveless vest (something that should only be allowed if you are a professional sportsmen), to someone seated near you with the misfortune of having a cold, to a first time traveller that cannot work the entertainment system, to anybody else's kid aside from your own, to your own kids, to a heavy person in front of you, to a heavy person next to you, to the fact that you are heavy, to someone speaking in a foreign language next to you, to someone who has their own homemade food on the flight, to someone who leaps up immediately upon landing, to someone who does not let others out of their row when exiting the plane......................the list goes on and can even extend to immigration control when some people queue hop in the hope of getting to the baggage conveyor belt (where they will wait again) faster than their fellow passengers.
On recent flights a new irritating pattern of behaviour has become more and more common place; people have started sitting in seats that they were not allocated. This is particularly frustrating when you are boarding with your family as seat allocation tends to be a hot potato. It is frankly infuriating to find some chancer pretending he/she have just made an honest mistake when it is clear they simply want to try and get a whole row to themselves.
This happened, yet again, when we flew on Monday and it has made me now think that something has to be done when it comes to flying and ensuring a better standard of etiquette from the fellow passengers. Preferably a 10 commandments of how to behave on a plane to be read out by the Captain before departure. Quite clearly a great deal of thought will need to go into these commandments and I am open to suggestions; however I would make one simple demand. That any male passenger wearing a sleeveless vest will not be permitted to fly.