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How I Stopped The Manspreader With The Aircraft Safety Card

Jacks Smack 100720

A few years ago I was flying cross country. I had a middle seat and a fairly sizable man to my left and another to my right. I hate the middle seat. But, what I hate more is paying extra for the privilege of not having one.

Airline pricing models are a pet peeve of mine. What comes with a ticket these days is questionable at best. Seriously, why even start with a ticket? What does that actually provide?

The whole; ‘oh, you’d like to take clothes with you’ that will be $30 to $50 more. Or, “you’d like to sit with the person you bought a ticket for on the same transaction”, that’s another $9 to $10 a leg (not a human leg btw, but a leg of the flight). Some, more ‘budget-friendly airlines, annoyingly have begun to charge for carry-on bags, too. The idea that you now have to pay for the privilege of fighting for space in the overhead bin is crazy making. 

What about WIFI? Besides the high prices, you can look forward to internet speeds so slow that they make the network unusable. Not to mention the terrible security. Want to keep your business, yours? Stay off their network. The list continues; I won’t go into any other ‘add-ons’ because it will anger me. 

Stubbornness Gets You The Middle Seat:

Just tell me what it will cost to relocate me, my toothpaste, and underwear from here to there”

I was placed in the middle seat because I refuse to pay extra for that assigned seat. I wait until I get to the airport and ask for a seat. So far they’ve always given me one. I anticipate the day when they instruct me as to where I will stand for the flight since I’m too cheap to fork over the extra dough.

So, it’s not really the money; it’s the principle. I have a real problem with the ‘nickel and dime’ dance. Just tell me what it will cost to relocate me, my toothpaste, and underwear from here to there. 

More Annoying Than Airline Pricing Models:

isn’t it a well known, albeit unspoken, rule that the middle seat gets both armrests?”

While the airline’s pricing model may be annoying; what’s more irritating are the people who disregard all societal niceties when on the plane. On this particular flight I was flanked by two men. The individual to my left, the owner of the window, immediately commandeered our shared arm rest. Hmmm… isn’t it a well known, albeit unspoken, rule that the middle seat gets both armrests? Seriously, the window person gets to lean against the wall and have an armrest, and the aisle person gets to have extra leg room and an armrest, the middle person gets…..  Well, they should, at least get to have the two remaining armrests. 

Because I am fairly small, I fit in the seat just fine. Sure, it’s confined; but, doable. Now, if I could get the individuals on either side to comply, all would be good. 

As if taking control over our shared armrest wasn’t insulting enough, he immediately man-spread right into my leg room territory. My immediate reaction to his sense of entitlement was to acquiesce. I placed my arm on my lap, leaving him the armrest. Then, I scooched my legs over a few inches abandoning my paid-for personal space. I wiggled around in my seat, attempting to make myself known to my fellow aisle mate. I know I am small, but invisible too?

No matter what my physical maneuvering, he kept the stronghold over both the arm rest and my leg room. My anger level began to rise. I ran through a few scenarios in my head. I could be snarky and ask “Hey, would you like to rest your head on my shoulder and nap?” But, that one, depending on his response had all sorts of ways to make the rest of the flight uncomfortable. 

I imagined pushing his arm off the arm rest, claiming victory over the land grab. I tried taking back my leg space but that just left his leg touching mine. Something which apparently didn’t bother him but repulsed me immediately. I retreated.

Finally, Victory!

Finally, out of sheer frustration, I picked up the letter-sized laminated aircraft safety card from the pocket of the seat in front of me. I spent a few minutes reviewing it, to make it look like I intended to better understand the safety features of our airplane. Then, instead of returning it to the seat pocket, I slid it into my seat, between me and the window manspreader. The safety card was in my personal space completely. However, it stuck out past my seat into the airspace directly in front of my seat. Air space that, up until that  moment,  was hijacked by someone whose seat number did not match mine.

The physical presence of the laminated card forced the manspreader to retreat. Feeling smugly victorious, I exhaled the remaining resentment and relaxed back into my seat. I won that round.

Let’s Be Clear:

Just because you’re bigger does not give you permission to steal my leg room.”

But, let’s make one thing clear. Keep your legs together on an airplane. Sure you’re cramped. I am too. Stand up. Walk the aisle. Just because you’re bigger does not give you permission to steal my leg room. I should not have to make myself smaller to appease you. Nor, should I have to put up with your legs rubbing up against mine. I didn’t design the airplane. But, who ever did already drew the lines of personal space. Stay within the boundaries of the seat in front of you and the lines of your own seat. Period. I paid for my seat. You paid for yours. Stick to it. If you don’t, be prepared to be corralled and fenced in by safety instructions. Maybe they should add a section to that placard on the ‘correct’ way to use your OWN seat. 

8 thoughts on “How I Stopped The Manspreader With The Aircraft Safety Card

  1. Kaprice Dal Cerro says:

    This and so many other reasons I dislike flying these days. While I was reading this, I started to feel claustrophobic. I’m happy that you were able to gain back the little space that was yours.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      I am not a huge fan of flying but I do LOVE travel… Sorry, about the claustrophobic trigger…. it wasn’t that bad. Just tired of inconsiderate people.

  2. jodie filogomo says:

    Dang this was good. Because I would have acquiesced too. I always do.
    Now you need to submit this to all of the airplane magazines so people (and I mean men) who fly can read it!!

  3. Beth says:

    Thank you, Jack, for this! I’ve been on planes in the same situation. It puts us all in a bind, the design the airlines use. But, but! there do need to be respected boundaries.

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