Enough about seat reclining already! How about these 8 travel conundrums?

Before I actually get on to my post I wanted to direct anyone interested in the ‘Recline/Not Recline’ argument to read this article at the New York Times. Written by a friend of mine, it takes the cost of travel to a new level.

However, I wanted to pass on some other dilemmas that I have faced in the past few weeks. Interesting to see how you might handle them:

1. Feeding the Baby?
Nursing mothers feeding babies has been hitting the headlines for several months with a huge backlash against those removing them from cafes/coffee shops when they breast feed in public.
So this week, was it OK for a nursing mother to feed her baby in the back row of First Class on my flight?

2. Bare Feet
This seems to bring out as strong emotions as the reclining argument does – without of course any air marshals being called as far as I can ascertain. Sticking your bare feet up on the seat in front or the cabin wall seems to be a no-no to me.
However, when I sleep, in a flat-bed on a plane I know I sleep better with bare feet.
Vile you say?
Well I only do it when I can hide my feet in the footstool provided and I do bring slippers so I’m not wading through wee in my bare feet in the loos when I need to use them.
As soon as I wake up back go on the socks.
Vile or virtuous?

3. Seat Grabbing
This one does drive me mad. Usually what happens is that you have a couple seated in the row behind you and rather than disturb their partner, the window passenger grabs your seat (and often your hair) to climb over their partner.
This drives me mad – there is the shock of your chair suddenly going backwards and the pain of having your hair pulled.
The guilty party usually gets my evil eye, set to a ’10’ for this one.

4. Storing under your seat and not the seat in front
The leg room under the row in front is part of my seat area in my view. The bulkhead passenger in front usually thinks that it’s his/hers for whatever they didn’t bother to put above their seat.
This doesn’t seem to happen as much as it used to, but just this week the guy in row 1 was about to steal all the legroom from the person in row 2, when the flight attendant intervened and found some space in the overheads.
God was he sulky.


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5. VOIP in the Lounge
‘Darling I’m in the BA First Class Lounge at the airport’, he shouts. He had to shout when using Skype or VOIP on his laptop without a headset as the microphone is a good 3m away from his mouth. Personally I am glad he clarified that as I am sure his wife feels much safer now. Honestly, there should be a rule along with the ‘No seats on the chairs’ rule which is the ‘No shouting at your PC when in the lounge’.

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6. Are you going to ….?
‘Can you tell me if you are going to the Marriott. The clue is that it says ‘Hilton’ the side of the bus in 2m high letters but this had escaped this passenger. Indeed he proceeds to flag down every shuttle – car rental (whoever heard of the Hertz hotel?) – Parking (Yes, the ParkQik hotel) and other hotels until he finds the Marriott bus. (Oddly with 2m high letters M-A-R-R-I-O-T-T on the front.)
He must have delayed dozens of passengers by stopping their shuttles, getting on and showing the driver the paper they printed off from hotels.com
If I am not sure what your hotels shuttle looks like I like to call the hotel and ask them to describe it. With GPS they can often even tell you where it is at the moment you call.

7. Whose space is it anyway?
So towards the end of boarding a guy gets on with a huge ‘carry-on’ bag. I think that United has given up on trying to enforce anything these days. He then goes through all the BusinessFirst bins until he finds and empty one, stuffs in his bag and then proceeds to Economy.
Five minutes later he’s back having found space near his seat, to decamp the bag to nearer his seat.
Is all overhead space available to everyone on an ‘as needed’ basis I wonder?

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8. This is a hotel corridor, and all those doors – behind them people are trying to sleep
Sleeping in a strange room, a strange bed, a strange time zone can all conspire to cause less than perfect sleep. (My tip is to take a pillow case from home – makes you feel more at home.) Noisy guests in the corridor can be enough to wake me. So can we have a deal, as soon as you leave the lift you stop talking at anything more than a whisper? In exchange, when I check out at 5am, I won’t bang my door and wake you up?

Oh, and on the recline issue – I don’t do it. Unless the person in front does and then I always pop it back up for the meal service or if the person behind needs/wants to get out. Of the flights I’ve taken this week, I haven’t reclined at all. And no one paid me either! (Damn!)


  1. OMG “seat pulling” is the most aggravating pet peeve for me. I’ll be working on my laptop, or just falling asleep when WHAM! my life is shaken by an earthquake-in-the-sky as the person behind me decides that my seatback is a sturdy piece of furniture that they can use to steady themselves as they get up to head to the bathroom.

    And yes, I agree, sometimes there is hair pulling — hair pulling like you haven’t experienced since the 3rd grade. By then, I’ve worked 70+ hours that week, and suddenly I’m thrown back in time and I’m an 8yr old getting tortured on the playground.

  2. Generally, the baby and feet don’t bother me but VOIP – or the need to announce what should be a private conversation to anyone in a 20′ radius – annoys the hell out of me. Used to have a regular guest at the HGI who would walk through the hallways at 2 am, using the walkie talkie feature on his phone. I think some people never quite grasped the concept of consideration. I think a case could also be made (for those of us who have to travel in economy) against travelers who eat with their elbows in the air. Difficult enough to eat on those tiny trays without dodging those flapping appendages.

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