Honesty with Attitude From an Industry Insider

Kirby Wadsworth

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Sit down, shut up, and fly

Last night I tweeted, "Move it, Get out of aisle, let ppl by, dont smash in2 ppl alrdy seatd, dont grab seatback getng 2/frm seat. Is that so freakin hard ppl?"

Got a load of holier than tho feedback. ooo - dont be part of the problem kirby...oooo

Listen - I live up here.  I spend more time at 30K ft than 99% of the world.  More than they legally let Stews and Pilots.  I was reading the sign on the new X-ray scanners at BOS which tells you that the machine emits the equivalent radiation you'd receive from 2 mins at 39K ft.  My blood ran cold.  I need lead underwear.
Point is, I watch what the Stews go through - 4 times a day most of them.  Load 'em in - give them the 'please share overhead space, please step out of the aisle, please put smaller items under the seat' speech.  Last week I heard one frustrated stew muttering under her breath, "this is the worst 15 minutes of my day..."

I had an idea - why don't they make a video for everyone to watch before they load the plane.  Like when everyone is jockeying for position in front of the entrance gate.  Sorta like they do at some airports during the TSA line - but instead of 'take off your shoes, put liquids in the bin' this would be about how to get on an airplane quickly without pissing off everyone else in the process.

Rule 1 - don't carry a bunch of stuff.  2 regular bags, one in each hand.  No coffee, soda, books, fishing rods, guitars.

Rule 2 - pick up your bags, don't try to roll your rollerboard down the aisle.  It bangs into everyone, and doesn't fit as the aisle gets narrower at the back of the plane - and believe me if you are trying to roll a rollerboard down the aisle, you are headed to the back of the plane...

Rule 3- Don't smash yourself or your crap into other people on the way down the aisle.  C'mon, do I really have to explain that?  Are you just an a%%shole or what?

Rule 4 - When you get to your row, put your bag up in the overhead fast.  Put your other bag on the seat in front of you and step out of the aisle.  Face the rear of the plane, so you are out of the way and in front of your seat.  Let people behind you get by - while you are doing this, unpack your Bose headphones, your book, and whatever else you need for the first 30 mins of the flight.

Rule 5 - If there is already someone sitting in the seat in front of you, do not smash your butt or any other part of your body in the seatback in front of your seat while following Rule 4.  Don't touch the seatback.  If you do, say, "excuse me" - you just irritated the person in front of you.

Rule 6 - When there is a break in the flow of people going by, you may cautiously step out, turn around, stow your carryon, and sit down.  If there is a little room above your rollerboad in the overhead, you may also cram in your jacket or sweater.  Do not take up invaluable overhead space with your clothing - you may only cram it into nooks and crannies.

Rule 7 - Sit down. if you are in the aisle or middle seat, do not put on your seatbelt until the window seat is occupied - and it will be.  As other row mates arrive, smile, nod and jump up quickly into the aisle to let them follow Rules 1-6.  Move behind your row to let them in, but not so far back that the rest of  the line blocks you from getting back to your seat.  Again - sit down as soon as you can to let others get by. 

Rule 8 - If you are in the aisle seat - keep your feet, hands, wings, beak and anything you got now bow wow, out of the aisle while people are loading.  Keep your shoulders out of the aisle. 

Rule 9 - Once everyone is in your row, put on your seatbelt.  Shut up and read the in flight magazine.  Do not get up again.  Do not ask the stewardess for anything.   Do not bother your fellow passengers.  Do not introduce yourself.  Do not ask them about the book they are reading.  Do not comment on their watch, shoes, clothes, personal appearance, etc.

Rule 10 - Do not have body odor. 

Rule 11 - Do not squish beyond the confines of your allotted seat.  If you are that big, buy a second seat.

Rule 12 -  Do not allow your children, pets, or anything else about you to touch, sniff, or otherwise annoy row mates.

Rule 13 - Do not dominate, or otherwise battle over position on the armrest.  Armrests are shared space. One of you goes in back, the other goes in front.  this position can switch by mutual consent.  This should not require a conversation - just let it happen.  If your row mate is struggling to type into a laptop keyboard, be kind and let them have the back position.

Rule 14 - Don't spill - if you do...well, just don't.  That is all.  Don't.

Rule 15 - You asked for the window seat and you got it.  If you have a bladder condition, bad back, DVT or anything else requiring frequent trips up and down the aisle, GET AN AISLE SEAT...

Rule 16 - Passing gas...see Rule 14 and Rule 10.

Rule 17 - Keep your legs in the area directly in front of your seat.  Do not spread your legs into your row mate's space.  If you do, Rule # 14 is abrogated and your row mate is free to spill cola on your crotch.

Rule 18 - After landing, it is not necessary, useful, or productive to get up from your seat at the the exact second the pilot turns off the seat belt sign, especially if you are seated in a window or center seat.  It will be 5 or 10 minutes before you have a chance to reach the aisle. 

Rule 19 - Do not be the person who runs up the aisle as soon as the Fasten Seat Belt sign is turned off.  There is no frigging rush, the plane is not going to take off again with you in it. Relax - let it happen.  Everyone in the lower numbered rows will get off ahead of you - get over it- then, when it's your turn step into the aisle, grab your stuff - 2 bags, one in each hand - and walk calmly off the plane.  If you want to pull out the handle of your rollerboard, carry it off the plane and step behind the wheelchairs waiting on the gangway.  Step out of the path of passengers behind you, and arrange yourself.  When you are ready, cautiously reenter the stream of people headed for the terminal. Keep walking up the gangway and do not stop in the middle of the hallway at the gate.  Do not block people behind you.

I think it would make a great video - and it would really help get planes into and out of the gate faster with less stress - especially on the Stews.

Happy Skies....

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More Stories By Kirby Wadsworth

Kirby is widely recognized throughout the storage industry for his expertise in marketing and business strategy.

A veteran of both startups and established storage vendors, Wadsworth was a founder of Storability and served as vice president of marketing prior to its sale to StorageTek. Earlier, as vice president and general manager of Compaq's Network Storage Services Business Unit, he envisioned and introduced Compaq's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA) which is still widely recognized today.

As vice president of marketing for Digital's Storage Business Unit, Wadsworth launched Digital's StorageWorks product line into the open systems marketplace, and led the creation and introduction of the Enterprise Storage Array product family.