While watching reruns on television last night — yes, it’s that very sad time of year — I was treated to not one but two commercials that referenced Alec Baldwin’s infamous inflight meltdown.
You remember — he was playing Words with Friends after the plane door had closed and had a very heated exchange with the American flight attendants. Then a very heated Twitter tirade about same.
Then he closed his Twitter account.
Months later, his Twitter is open. He even made fun of the account on a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live. And now not only Capitol One has referenced the incident in their latest ad — starring Baldwin, of course — but also a commercial highlighting the inventors of…
Words with Friends.
Yep, stuff like that happens to me all the time when I have travel mishaps.
I got a peek behind the curtain yesterday during my flight to Dallas. Discovered something that can turn a cold, distant flight attendant into a friendly and engaged conversationalist.
It’s as simple as that.
Two pilots were deadheading on my flight from New York City, and they were in the row in front of me. After we achieved a ‘comfortable cruising altitude,’ the flight attendants started coming. One by one. Big smiles on their faces. Gratitude on their lips.
All because one of the pilots brought the crew cookies when he boarded the plane.
With the rest of the passengers, the flight attendants were polite, but we didn’t get those genuine grins. Or the frequent check-ins to see if we needed anything else.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve received a less effusive version of this treatment when I’ve given a flight attendant a magazine when I’m finished with it. But yesterday I learned an important nuance:
I was wondering what I would write today, and then it hit me.
I was sitting on the airplane, and the passenger in front of me reclined his seat back in one fast, forceful, in-my-face motion. Since he was quite tall, his head was suddenly inches from my face.
There was no look back to see if I had my tray table down. (It was.) No quick check to make sure he wouldn’t overturn food or crush a laptop. (I almost dropped both.) He just pushed his way into my personal space.
This was war.
Now, I have a lot of sympathy for the overly tall on airplanes. I have given up my exit row seat on more than one occasion to folks jammed into middle seats. But this man had two seats to himself. He could have easily angled his body to gain more legroom without robbing me of mine.
Allowing seats to recline on airplanes is based on the assumption that people will do the right thing. Can we assume that anymore?
Sadly, I think not.
So I propose that, going forward, we remove the recline lever from all airplane seats. Instead, the standard airplane seat will be set at a gentle recline at all times. This compromise position will accommodate the majority of travelers and do away with the growing recline lever abuse.
It will also free up flight attendants of one pre- and post-flight announcement and duty — no more seat backs to straighten or police.
I like it. What say you? Vote in the poll below. Be heard!