Flying is easy. One would think.

On occasion, circumstances we encounter prove to us that a need exists for a reminder of basic rules of etiquette. We "get it"—life is a complicated whirlwind of overlapping personal, social, and professional obligations, leaving nary a moment for quiet contemplation of the rules of right and wrong. With all of the activity around us, it's difficult to keep the needs of your fellow wo/man in mind. That is what we, the grumpy and friendless writers of the internet, are here for. To simply remind you, as we often do in our hacky little way, of a few simple rules that will make things more tolerable for one and all. One and all on airplanes, in this particular case.

1) If you have the aisle seat, do not fall asleep with your tray table down. You have the aisle seat. Fine. Good for you. You win. But you have also accepted the implicit responsibility of getting up quickly and with good cheer whenever one of your seatmates on the inside wants to get up for any reason. And you know what is not conducive to sending an unspoken message to your seatmates on the inside that you prepared to get up quickly and with good cheer at any moment? Falling asleep with your tray table down. Falling asleep with your tray table down sends the message: "I have constructed both a physical and emotional barrier to egress by you, my inside seatmates. In order to exercise your god-given right to get up, you are now put in the position of having to violate norms of both manners and physics. I care little for the needs or comfort of others." Unacceptable.

2) Do not talk to me for long. Say hi, chit chat a bit, okay. Now let's stop talking.

3) Do not recline your seat. Do not recline your seat. Ever. Congress should pass a law that all economy class airplane seats must be welded into a permanently upright position. There are no exceptions.

Now let's stop talking.

[Image by Jim Cooke]