I have landed back in Gabon and I am writing this from the twilight zone that I occupy after 36 hours of traveling, eating sugar and drinking cups of tea to stay awake.
The journey was fine, apart from yet another encounter (during the Toronto to Paris leg)with a person who just doesn’t know how to behave when cruising along with 300 other people in a confined space at 10,000 feet. It occurred to me that if only the government could introduce some passenger oriented pre-flight behavioural training, the world (or at least that flight) would be a much better place.
This particular gentleman must have been the founding member of the Exhuberant Old French Men’s Club, since he was, indeed, very exhuberent, old and French. He spent the entire eight hour flight yelling wise cracks in French at his traveling companions who were (wisely) sat 15 rows away.Â He punched the buttons of his TV screen (the one that was in the back of my seat) irratically every 15 minutes or so for fear of missing anything, and he wrestled with the lady sat next to him as she tried to pass to get to the aisle, causing her to howl with laughter and use my head as a steadying post.Â
I don’t think he knew he was being obnoxious (although the Italian guy next to me threw him some very dirty looks after a couple of particularly loud whoops)Â he justÂ hadn’t figured out how to behave appropriately.Â Now, had heÂ done some pre-flight training, he would have known what to do. This training could include the best way toÂ address air stewards, acceptable noise levels, the art of waiting your turn, how to load the overhjead compartment without causing a fellow traveler to receive a concussionÂ and the bestÂ way to sit to prevent you from kneeing your neighbour in the back or draping yourself all over his seat. Each person could have their passport stamped to show they had acheived an acceptable level ofÂ good mannersÂ and every so often would have to go to a refresher course.Â
Oh my God, the very thought of a world where people are polite and considerate when they travel, it gives me hope….