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Do You HAVE to Floss in Here?

As a regional sales manager in the telecom test equipment business, I've flown for more than 20 years, and I am amazed at the lack of common courtesy on airplanes. You can blame the airlines—since customer service has vanished from every element of their operations except their commercials—but only so much. Herewith, my guide to in-flight offenders.

THE SHOELESS Businesspeople, particularly men, seem to feel the need to take their shoes off. Your feet may not stink to you, but they do to us. A guy once put his stocking feet right next to my meal. I asked if he let his children rest their feet on the table while he ate. "No," he said. I requested the same courtesy. If you have to remove your shoes, bring a pair of the slippers you get on international flights.

THE RECLINERS While I too lean back on an eight-hour flight, it's impolite to do so on a 1 1/2-hour segment. I've had to ask the passenger ahead of me to move the seat up just so I could lower my tray table and devour my delicious airplane dinner.

THE FLOSSERS Personal hygiene is a private matter-it should be, anyway. I still remember the woman who sat next to me clipping her nails, scattering me with shards. I drew the line when she pulled out a bottle of polish. As for flossing, would you do it in a restaurant?(In an emergency, most planes have a bathroom.)

THE FRONT-LOADERS Be considerate to those who aren't premium-level frequent fliers and can't board early to stow their bags. I'm talking to you people who put briefcases in the overhead. On a full flight, stick your stuff under the seat. It'll save time and aggravation. Also, if you're sitting near the back, don't stow your bag up front. I once told an attendant about a front-loader, and she checked his bag.

THE FIRST-CLASS JERKS There was a time when flight attendants would fight to serve first class; now it's the junior people who get the job. One night, after watching the idiot next to me snap his fingers for service, I pointed out that really important people buy their own planes.

THE BAG-WIELDERS If I get hit in the head one more time by someone navigating the aisle with a bag on each shoulder, I'm going to scream. A bag that's too heavy to carry in front of you should be checked. The planes load faster, and passengers suffer less inconvenience, if you simply do a better job of preparation before going on board.

THE SQUEAKY WHEELS They sometimes get more than the grease: I've heard about attendants sending luggage to the wrong airport just because a passenger was rude.

ONE LAST THOUGHT Can't we agree to be nicer to one another?Air travel has gotten tough enough without us fighting all the time.

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