21 July 2005

In-flight Behavior

Around one month ago, I flew to Taipei, Taiwan (which was just a short two-hour hop from Manila) to attend to an academic conference. Flying is a definitely exciting thing for me, considering that I needed to make 13 flights this year (Taipei was 9th and 10th, respectively) after a long break of four years. My last air travel was August 18, 2001, when we returned from Guam.

Anyway, first time to travel by air alone...

How does one exactly behave oneself in-flight? This question just popped up in my head, especially since my sister is a Psychology major, so things like these rub off. Questions like:

1) How would you share an armrest with another passenger who happens to have sausage-like arms?

2) What would you do if he has bad breath?

3) Do you strike a conversation with your next-door neighbor?

On the MNL-TPE flight, I rode EVA Air's Airbus A330, and the first picture above happens to be the exact plane (courtesy of Airliners.net). The aircraft was brand-new, with a 2-4-2 seating arrangement. As always, I request a window seat, since I feel claustrophobic when I'm surrounded by too many people (a feeling I get during clearance sale periods in malls). The guy sitting next to me was a decent guy, no problem with that. Besides, the flight was full, if I had a problem with him, I wouldn't have a solution.

On the TPE-MNL flight, EVA Air scheduled an older Boeing 747, and again, the second picture above is the exact plane I boarded. This time, there was no in-flight entertainment, and the guy sitting next to me had bad breath similar to the scent of rotten eggs and fermented soybeans. The Boeing 747 had a 3-4-3 seating configuration. However, the flight was not full, and the seat next to the guy's seat was empty (I am on the window seat again). Isn't it protocol to move away from me, once the plane took off? I don't know about this, but if I were in that position, I'd change seats after take off, since I'm conscious of the concept of "personal space."

Personal space, is, after all, a flexible concept. One maintains it until it is impossible to maintain. One preserves a distance from another person unless one cannot continue in preserving that distance, ie. in cramped subways, etc.

Back to the guy-with-bad-breath. I couldn't talk to him, he was Chinese. Anyway, I just turned my head away and enjoyed the two-hour stint. Good thing I was the first to use the armrest, so he didn't squeeze my limbs during the flight.


  1. hehe...

    I've flew alone and I've flew alone with a 2 year old... and I've flown with other family members. For me it wasn't much different any time. The flights I took were never full so I always had plaenty of space.

    Wow, you fly a lot!

  2. That does sound quite annoying. Maybe his "law-abiding" instinct - his ticket said he had to be on that seat - got the better of his "personal space" instinct. Or, maybe, he has different ideas about personal space.

    Anyways, I hope you have more luck on your trip to the States. That's probably going to be a long flight, so it would be nice if you got either a nice person, or some freedom.