Bad man­ners at 36,000 feet

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - Rus­sell Wanger­sky

For­give me for a mo­ment as I write about some­thing par­tic­u­larly close to my world.

I’m just back from a two and a half week re­search project in the Ne­vada desert, fin­ish­ing up fol­low­ing the route my great­great-grand­fa­ther, Wil­liam Cas­tle Dodge, took to the 1849 gold rush. It’s a route clearly left in his di­ary, a re­mark­able trip made by a 22-year-old.

But while I’ll be writ­ing about that trip in de­tail in a book, this col­umn’s about the nec­es­sary evil it took to reach the desert and re­turn, along with some work-re­lated side travel; in all, 11 flights, trips rang­ing from late in the evening to the very early morn­ing.

And I have some sug­ges­tions.

Say you are on an early, early flight to any At­lantic city from Toronto; fly­ing east, you’ve missed a late-night con­nec­tion, and have been stuffed in an air­port ho­tel at half-past mid­night. Don’t worry, the air­line says: you’ll be on the next avail­able plane. But that means a 5 a.m. wake-up call, and you don’t sleep well any­way. You make your way through a sleep­less fog to the plane, con­fi­dent that you can catch a nap.

But no. On ev­ery sin­gle plane that flies, you will be within three rows of two wide-awake peo­ple who know each other — or, worse, don’t know each other.

They’ll start a spirited con­ver­sa­tion as soon as their seat­belts are on, and as the flight crew dims the lights and the jets roar, they’ll up the vol­ume so they

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