Re: Unsullied

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Now you jinxed it. Tomorrow we'll find twenty dead UPS carriers dressed as schoolgirls and stuffed in his crawl space.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:15 AM
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He did a fantastic job of landing the airplane under difficult circumstances. Calling him a hero seems to me to stretch things a little bit. For one thing he was trying to save his own life. For another, he was doing his job. He did it extremely well, but it's not like he was rushing into a burning building or charging a machine gun nest. His options were to be excellent or be dead.

I certainly look up to him for the excellence of his actions and for the grace with which he has handled the media attention, but I'll save "hero" for people who had choices and did the difficult thing.

We need a word for sub-hero. Sort of a Bronze or Silver Medal for actions that are admirable but not heroic.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:30 AM
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2: presumably there was a parachuts somewhere up in the captain's cabin. He could have bailed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:32 AM
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parachute


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:32 AM
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3. I don't think this is standard in civil aviation, to avoid, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the port engine just caught fire, so I'm off and you can all go fuck yourselves."


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:36 AM
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2: The man worked for U.S. Air. Relative to my experiences with them, he deserves super hero status, not sub-hero.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:37 AM
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No, he just keeps getting better. My favorite revelation was that he had written to his local public library about paying late fees because a book he had checked out -- on professional ethics! -- was stuck in the plane's hold.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:39 AM
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7: Oh sure, he just checked it out and is hiding so that he comes out higher on the curve against other pilots. (Hey! I went to school with pre-meds, you know.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:46 AM
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I worry about perverse incentives (and I speak as someone about to get on a plane in a few minutes). I am convinced that a substantial number of pilots are just itching for something, anything, to give them a reason to ditch their bird in the nearest river. I want to yell at them, "It's too late! Regional papers only!"


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:49 AM
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Commercial airplanes don't have parachutes for the pilots? Is this some sort of "the captain goes down with the ship" honor-thing? In any event, I guess he still could have taken one of the parachutes that was intended for the passengers, and jumped. If he'd been less heroic, I mean.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:51 AM
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Commercial airplanes have parachutes of any kind on board? I never knew that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:52 AM
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They certainly don't mention it on the pre-flight drill.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:54 AM
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10: I don't know if they do or don't have parachutes, but I believe a pilot is strongly expected to fly the plane into the ground, rather than give up while it's still airborne. As long as the plane had wings, there's a good shot piloting is going to make a difference in terms of survivability for the passengers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:54 AM
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No parachutes on commercial planes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:55 AM
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13: Or at least the pilot can avoid crashing into populated areas.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:56 AM
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9: Exactly . They'd ge treated just like in Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff. (What a star-crossed life he ended up having.)

Have a good flight, Gonerill.

Would you mind awfully, my good chap, If I sat here next to the emergency exit. I tend to gouge people's eyes out if they get in front of me.
-- JP Donleavy, The Unexpurgated Code


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:58 AM
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14: holy shit, they don't have parachutes?? That's crazy. And this:

First of all parachutes are expensive. And having 200 or more parachutes on a fleet of 150+ airplanes would blow airlines' budgets to pieces.

Well boo-fucking-hoo. Aviation is damned expensive; could parachutes really add that much to the overall capital cost of an airplane?

I'm never flying again. This is horrifying news.

13: Of course they're expected too. But that doesn't mean they don't have the option of doing something else. (Although, I guess it turns out they don't.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:02 AM
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Maybe they could put harnesses on those inflatable ramps by the doors and the life rafts. Sort of like in Temple of Doom.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:04 AM
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17: Wasn't the fact that you've never heard of anyone parachuting out of a commercial flight to avoid a crash a tipoff that it's not practical?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:04 AM
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holy shit, they don't have parachutes?? That's crazy.

How would you expect to get 200 panicked people into parachutes in a crowded plane and out the door before it was too late to matter?


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:05 AM
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19: Where are the DB Coopers of yesteryear?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:06 AM
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I was thinking of him. But the plane wasn't crashing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:08 AM
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21: After thousands of man-hours, the FBI still can't answer that. Now that I think of it, Cooper is the only case I ever heard of somebody chuting from a commerical flight. (Note to Brock: He got the chute when he got the money, it was not on the plane.)


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:09 AM
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The plane itself is made of the same stuff the "black box" is made of, right? If not, why not?!?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:10 AM
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20: well, the first thing you need to do is tell everyone not to panic.

Seriously, it's not necessarily easy, but getting "200 panicked people [into parachutes] in a crowded plane and out the door" is exactly what flight attendants are trained to do (replacing the parachute bit with other stuff, apparently, although this remains a shocking revelation).

19: I wouldn't think they'd be used often. And I don't really usually follow plane-crash-news very closely; I sort of assumed they'd been used periodically. It seems insane not to have them. I'd trade that goddamn oxygen max for a parachute any day.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:10 AM
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You are very precise these last few days.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:11 AM
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I'm imagining Brock on a flight where the pilot announces that the engines have failed and the plane is going down. He valiantly offers to help the flight attendants distribute the parachutes. Flight attendants begin laughing at the absurdity of the notion that parachutes are kept on board. Soon the whole plane is laughing uproariously at Brock. They all die happy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:14 AM
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It seems insane not to have them.

The deal is that planes crash on takeoff and landing -- the time delay from "We know we're going to crash" to "We're on the ground" is very rarely more than literally a couple of minutes. And you very rarely know how bad the crash is going to be until you're down -- the US Air thing should have been an 'everyone dies' crash, but through luck and skill it turned into a 'hardly anyone gets hurt' crash.

Circumstances where you'd have time to get a hundred panicky people out of a plane before it hit, and you were sure that was safer for them than riding it down, would be incredibly rare.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:14 AM
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26 -> 22

The pareto chart of fatal plane crashes would have the "both possible and advisable to have passengers parachute" category as a very thin sliver indeed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:14 AM
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holy shit, they don't have parachutes??

When I was about six years old I developed a horrible fear of flying for a couple years: I have a distinct memory of asking my dad whether there were parachutes for everybody on board, and he told me that of course there were. Wasn't for many, many years that I realized he'd been bullshitting me just to get me on the goddamn plane.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:16 AM
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Also, nobody knows how to use parachutes. If everyone is on the plate trying to get their oxygen masks or whatever to work, theoretically they can help each other, or learn by watching each other. I would guess that if a planeload of random people all parachuted out, 25% would fall like rocks to their certain doom and another 25% would break their legs severely. Unless the flight attendants spent like 45 minutes going through a seminar on how to use parachutes, like they do when you go skydiving for fun.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:17 AM
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I wonder what would happen if you tried to bring a parachute as a carry-on? If it were recognizeable, would they let you put it in the cabin?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:17 AM
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The plane itself is made of the same stuff the "black box" is made of, right? If not, why not?!?

1. Because building a 747 out of high grade steel or titanium would cost several giga-bailouts per plane;
2. Because a 747 built out of such materials would take most of the daily output of the Saudi oilfields to get airborne.

No, you're stuck with light metals, fancy-pants ceramics and no parachute. This is why airline pilots command high wages.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:19 AM
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And where are people going to land? Scattered over a several-mile-long stretch of the plane's trajectory. On the tops of trees, on the highway, in the middle of the Orange Bowl, all kinds of places.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:20 AM
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You do realize what is involved in putting on a parachute right? They aren't just backpacks. They have full bodied harnesses that have to be adjusted. I would imagine it takes several minutes to put one on in the best of circumstances. There is a reason sky divers put them on before getting into the plane. Not to mention most of the exits would be unusable. You would have to get everyone out the tail exit. I know that the normal emergency exit doors can't even be opened while in flight. This might not be true if there is a major decompression of the cabin, but now everyone has to get on a parachute while wearing an oxygen mask.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:20 AM
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I wasn't saying it was a good idea.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:21 AM
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As to the hero thing, the pilot himself would like to defer the accolade. He recognizes that his skill what extraordinary, but less than heroic.

In the interview he stated that he had made small deposits in experience to his pilot account, so he was able to make one huge withdrawal when he needed to.

He was also a fighter pilot, ipso facto a war criminal to you pinkos, so there is that.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:22 AM
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Now, if they were serious about safety, everyone would spend the whole flight strapped into a parachute, and the whole belly of the plane would open out in an emergency, dropping all the passengers simultaneously. It'd be epic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:23 AM
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37: He had to do an emergency landing while having flashbacks of the raid on Nacho Grande.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:23 AM
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and the whole belly of the plane would open out in an emergency, dropping all the passengers simultaneously. It'd be epic.

Or ejection seats. Which would make bailing out at low altitude survivable. It would probably result in some broken necks though.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:24 AM
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I've been impressed that Capt. Sully was asked not to comment about the accident to the press to help the investigation somehow (don't know how that helps), and he complied in a no-drama sort of way.

I don't like calling him a hero, but he certainly seems to have his head screwed on right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:25 AM
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38: That's ridiculous. The parachutes would be located directly below you, open for entry like a toddler swing, and when your seat dropped out from under you, you'd plop naturally into position and see a little light advising you to buckle up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:25 AM
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I do realize most crashes are during takeoff and landing, and that parachutes wouldn't be useful in those circumstances. But they could equip planes with parachutes under ~$1m per plane (plus fuel costs, which could be substantial). That seems like an amount worth spending even if only small risk is alleviated.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:26 AM
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43: That's pretty much the same logic that's made the security check point into such a huge pain.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:27 AM
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No. The security checkpoints are a huge cost, mostly in hassle.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:29 AM
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I imagine, with all of the hundreds of thousands of person-hours of safety research that has been done (to do things like help pilots land on the motherfucking Hudson) is that the reason there aren't parachutes is that most of the time there wouldn't be a chance to use them and that they wouldn't actually help in the vast majority of cases.

(Apparently, if you die in a plane crash, you are not spending large amounts of time in free-fall (planes usually aren't breaking up in the air), likely survived the impact but broke your legs, and died of smoke inhalation or fire.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:29 AM
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Chances of survival are better in the plane, not out of it. I don't think you can name a scenario where it would be safer to jump.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:29 AM
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And why don't trains have airbags?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:29 AM
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I am interested in the one person on the plane who apparently behaved very badly. She ran to the back of the plane (the part that was most submerged), knocked a flight attendant aside, and yanked a mostly submerged door a little bit open, which is what caused the inside of the plane to flood as quickly as it did. It must be pretty odd to have that bit of self-knowledge. She knows she's "that" person. Eek.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:31 AM
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49: Sounds like a maverick to me.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:31 AM
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47: You'd need something weird -- the fuel tank sprung a leak, and the plane is more than gliding distance from any grossly flat spot where it could possibly land. So it's still in the air, high up, and controllable, but it's no question going to crash badly in the near term.

That I could see making parachuting a good idea. But I also can't see it ever happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:32 AM
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The cost of installing artillery at street corners to target out-of-control cars that are going to hit a pedestrian might be excessive, but it seems like an amount worth spending even if only small risk is alleviated.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:33 AM
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32 is a great question. I might call an airline to see what they say. One big problem is that I don't have a parachute, though, and they're expensive.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:33 AM
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45: When are the checkpoints going away? You'd think that would be a huge boost to Obama's popularity...


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:33 AM
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The checkpoints will continue until morale improves.


Posted by: Barack Obama | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:34 AM
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53: Don't use your own phone/name. You'll get on a list.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:34 AM
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When are the checkpoints going away? You'd think that would be a huge boost to Obama's popularity...

Seriously? Every time I mention that I think we should eliminate all the airline security screening processes, people look at me like I'm from Mars.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:35 AM
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54: A baby step would be to shitcan the moronic "no liquids" rule. The stupidity of it causes me physical pain.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:35 AM
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It must be pretty odd to have that bit of self-knowledge. She knows she's "that" person.

Have there been interviews or other things suggesting this is the case? I'd like it to be true, but it seems possible she's oblivious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:35 AM
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You'd need something weird -- the fuel tank sprung a leak, and the plane is more than gliding distance from any grossly flat spot where it could possibly land. So it's still in the air, high up, and controllable, but it's no question going to crash badly in the near term.

There's a bomb on the plane. If the plane drops below 55 mph, the bomb will go off. Pop quiz, hotshot: What do you do??


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:35 AM
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that goddamn oxygen max

['Mmm, breathing.']


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:35 AM
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57: Hmm. I thought people didn't like them. I guess the liquids and shoes would be the first, easiest step.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:36 AM
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60: Lock-up Dennis Hopper? Probably not a bad idea on its own merits.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:36 AM
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59: Yes, you're probably right that the person who would do that is not likely big on self-reflection. Sigh. I'd like to think it at the very least lurks at the back of her mind.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:37 AM
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Just have one big parachute for the entire plane. Problems solved!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:37 AM
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51 Gimli glider:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:37 AM
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62: People don't like them, but most people seem to honestly believe they are important for the safety of air travel. Even apparently rational people. Hell, I've sat at a table full of scientists and found that no one else would agree with me that banning liquids from planes is self-evidently idiotic from the standpoint of safety. ("But how can you be so sure there aren't explosives that can be mixed out of liquids?", they asked.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:38 AM
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66: Are there any other airports named for "Lord of the Rings" characters?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:39 AM
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65: Such a thing exists! It adds *a lot* of weight to a plane apparently.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:40 AM
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67: I'll bet they weren't chemists.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:40 AM
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Here's a pilot's take.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:42 AM
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("But how can you be so sure there aren't explosives that can be mixed out of liquids?", they asked.)

This is why in my view we should just ban carry-ons, and also luggage. If you require clothing or other personal supplies at your destination, you should FedEx them in advance.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:43 AM
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67: I think it is because the image of the plane exploding is so vivid. Visualization is one of the things that messes up rpeople's isk estimation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:44 AM
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Also, mandated nudity while on the plane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:44 AM
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72: Buy them at the other end. Stimulus! And Profit!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:45 AM
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69: Fill the cabin with helium!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:46 AM
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I think on that movie "Air Force One" that they had parachutes for all the staffers. They also had an escape pod for the president, so grain of salt.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:46 AM
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74: I'd be comfortable just with strip-searches of all passengers pre-boarding, but I supopse nudity could have some incremental risk mitigation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:47 AM
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75: The flight attendants would be happy to offer our guests their choice of poncho for the small fee of $25.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:48 AM
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In the interview he stated that he had made small deposits in experience to his pilot account, so he was able to make one huge withdrawal when he needed to.

This is an awesome quote!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:51 AM
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But they could equip planes with parachutes under ~$1m per plane (plus fuel costs, which could be substantial). That seems like an amount worth spending even if only small risk is alleviated.

You must be a plaintiff's side lawyer, Brock. $1Million per plane for a very minimal chance of being actually useful?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:53 AM
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Well then why am I forced to listen to see the same live demonstration about how to buckle the seatbelt every time I get on a plane? There's about a 99.99% chance there's no one on the flight who doesn't know how to fasten the seatbelt, and that would be true even if the flight was completely full of first-time fliers. Since they come around and check every seat before takeoff anyway, couldn't they just help anyone who had trouble?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:58 AM
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Yes, you're probably right that the person who would do that is not likely big on self-reflection.

Oh, cut the woman some slack -- God only knows how any of us would have handled ourselves in the panic.

(Okay, all caught up on the thread and my burst of serial commenting now.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:59 AM
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And why does my seat back need to be upright for takeoff and landing?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:00 AM
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One time - one very special time - I rode on a plane where the tray table had a little cup holder built into its underside, that folded down when the tray table was in its upright and locked position. This is so useful that I shake my fist at every flight since for not incorporating this handy feature.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:02 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:02 AM
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Isn't it so people behind you have room to tuck their heads down in an emergency situation?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:02 AM
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82: Dude, are you going to make me walk you through torts? The safety demonstration is a minimal burden and the risk of injury without a properly fastened seatbelt is reasonably foreseeable what with turbulence, etc. Individually checking each seatbelt is a slightly greater burden on the flight crew and instructing passengers puts the responsibility for being buckled squarely in their laps.

Yes, I work on the defense side.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:03 AM
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87 to 84. I've never seen 85, but it sounds very useful. What airline (or what type of plane)?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:04 AM
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70: no, not chemists.

I was recently talking to someone who just got back from a trip to Central America, who said something that I think is relevant: namely, that they had been able to do things there which would never be possible in the U.S., at least without lots of signed waivers and safety demonstrations. He described the attitude there as something like 95% confidence safety -- "well, a lot of people have done this before, and most of them came back from it without scars" -- whereas in the U.S. it's more like the criterion is that unsafe events are five or six standard deviations from the mean. But I think the real problem is that we apply different standards in different places; in air travel, we're working to prevent exponentially unlikely things, whereas for automobile travel we're much more lax about it. Surely there's a happy medium we could try to find where we work to rule out unlikely accidents everywhere, but don't obsess over the ridiculously improbable but emotionally striking events like airplanes exploding from someone mixing up a liquid bomb.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:04 AM
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God only knows how any of us would have handled ourselves in the panic.

My point exactly. She does know. That must be rough.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:04 AM
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87: Well, that does make sense.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:04 AM
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92: And the tray table thing is so you and the rest of your row can get out easily if they have to.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:05 AM
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90: Yes if instead of the daily distributed carnage on the road, about once a year the road system went beserk in some way and killed 40,000 people we would look at it quite differently.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:07 AM
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93: The tray table thing I'm fine with. I take issue with the lack of built in cupholders in the undersides.

Also, I had no idea how luxuriously comfortable plane seats were before I was pregnant. I can't believe what people my current size put up with. It's really uncomfortable, it turns out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:09 AM
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95.2: I think petite people should have to pay extra since they are much more comfortable than the rest of us.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:12 AM
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And where are people going to land? Scattered over a several-mile-long stretch of the plane's trajectory. On the tops of trees, on the highway, in the middle of the Orange Bowl, all kinds of places.

No more masturbating to the Orange Bowl


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:13 AM
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96: And stupid people should have to pay more for cable TV.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:14 AM
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I think we should be allowed to repeatedly punch in the back of the head people who recline their seats more than the tiniest amount.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:16 AM
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99: Especially those who do a very quick shove down as opposed to a gentle reclining.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:17 AM
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99: ? I've never been in an airplane seat that allowed more than the tiniest amount of recline.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:17 AM
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re: 101

We may have different standards for 'tiniest amount'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:17 AM
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That's what she said.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:20 AM
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AND! The headrests make me livid! If you are not tall, then they land on the center of your crown and push your head down and forward. (I usually grab a blanket to sit on to boost me up, because it's so ungodly uncomfortable to have to engage my neck muscles at an awkward angle for an entire flight.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:20 AM
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102: well, I've never been behind an airplane seat that reclined enough to bother me, if that's a clearer way to state things. A full recline of the seat in front of you removes virtually no legroom and maybe 3 inches of headroom.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:21 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:23 AM
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104: This is the bane of my existence -- airplanes, trains, cars, whatever -- my head only hits the bottom jutting bit of the headrest. Aaargh!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:23 AM
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The headrests make me livid, as they fall squarely between my shoulderblades. Just make the backs flat! People are not all the same height!

Virgin America has those underside cupholders.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:23 AM
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re: 105

On planes I've been on a full recline of the seat in front substantially reduces the space between me and the seat in front. It's at least a 10 or 20% recline, more maybe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:24 AM
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Seriously? Every time I mention that I think we should eliminate all the airline security screening processes, people look at me like I'm from Mars.

Well yeah, you say "eliminate all the airline security screening processes," and you are being kind of nuts. Maybe IRL you've been more modest-sounding, but that kind of phrasing is way out there - we has metal detectors a long time before 9/11.

Aside from the idiotic liquids/shoes things, the biggest/best change would be letting the non-ticketed through the checkpoints. If they're being screened, what does it matter if they have a ticket? (to be clear, I do understand the concept, but I think that the last 7.5 years have shown that the fears were overblown, and we can stand down a bit)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:25 AM
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110: Are you a lobbyist for the Airmall?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:28 AM
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If they're being screened, what does it matter if they have a ticket?

They take up waiting area space that is needed by disgruntled passengers whose flights have been delayed, canceled, rescheduled...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:30 AM
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88: this is contracts, not torts. No one is on the plane without a ticket.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:32 AM
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If they're being screened, what does it matter if they have a ticket?

For one thing, it would make the screening lines that much longer.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:33 AM
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113: Really? So those massive suits that get brought following a crash are breach of contract claims and not negligence? Huh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:38 AM
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I guess you could go back to getting relationship bonus points for meeting/dropping-off spouse at the gates.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:38 AM
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Well yeah, you say "eliminate all the airline security screening processes," and you are being kind of nuts. Maybe IRL you've been more modest-sounding, but that kind of phrasing is way out there - we has metal detectors a long time before 9/11.

I'm open to being convinced that metal detectors are worthwhile. The shoes and liquids screening I'm firmly convinced are absurd. But I don't think "we had metal detectors a long time before 9/11" is a good reason to accept that they're worthwhile.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:41 AM
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115: no, of course they're negligence claims. Point being, they're interwven with a contractual relationship, which could be used to shift some of these risks. Like the not-knowing-how-to-fasten-your-seatbelt risk. (They would still need to have attendants check to make sure everyone actually buckled up, as they do now, to the extent that one person's being unbuckled might pose risks to other persons.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:41 AM
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I just thought of a new revenue stream for the airlines. Sell ad space to lawyers on the sides of the inflatable masks.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:41 AM
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The ad space would be on the side of the mask, not the lawyers.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:43 AM
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116: Do they let parents meet their kids at the gate? My parents always met me at the gate when I was little, until the rule was changed -- at least at EWR -- and the unticketed were no longer allowed past the checkpoint. I got off a plane from SFO and proceeded to stand at the gate baffled and concerned for rather a long time before walking toward the checkpoints.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:43 AM
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Unless we're willing to require metal detectors (not to mention liquid bans and shoe screenings) in all enclosed public spaces (subway cars, city buses, trains, concert halls, sports arenas), I'm not sure why their use would be justified at airports.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:44 AM
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121: I've gotten an exemption to accompany my grandma to her gate. I assume they let parents do that as well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:45 AM
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121: You can still get past the gates to escort a minor or someone else with special needs. I'm not sure how you go about it, but I don't think it is that big of a deal.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:45 AM
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If they haven't changed the rules in the last 5 years, you go to the ticket counter and they give you a pass to go in, if you're picking someone up...


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:50 AM
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"But how can you be so sure there aren't explosives that can be mixed out of liquids?", they asked.

There are: Hydrogen Peroxide is soluble in alcohol and forms a high explosive on doing so. It also looks just like water.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:51 AM
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126: No, assuming you're not kidding. You are talking about TATP, which is synthesized by a careful mixture of hydrogen peroxide and acetone. It's not an easy procedure and I believe it makes a whitish putty or paste, not a clear liquid.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:55 AM
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The ad space would be on the side of the mask, not the lawyers.

Well, this lawyer, for one, is firmly on the side of the masks!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:57 AM
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More here, if you're interested.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:59 AM
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129 to 126.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:59 AM
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129 to 126.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:00 AM
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119: I wonder if there's any research out there on advertising targeted at people in the process of having near-death experiences. Does it imprint more strongly on you, or on the other hand do you associate that product or service with trauma and fear? That being said, if airlines do start advertising on oxygen masks, I predict a steep and mysterious increase in "false alarms" and "turbulence events." Advertising is no good if no one sees it.

122: Well, unlike city buses, concert halls and sports arenas, an explosive on some planes could kill hundreds of people at a time rather than merely ("merely") dozens.

Also, metal detectors seem different from the more recent security measures in that they're less intrusive. Yeah, maybe it only seems that way because we're used to it and creeping surveillance statism is bad and all that, but there does seem to be a difference between walking through an arch or even having a wand waved over you, and taking off your shoes and throwing away (or repackaging, or leaving behind and buying new ones on the other side) common items you carry with you.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:04 AM
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You know, maybe if airlines would consider selling adspace on seatbacks, I wouldn't have to pay $5 for a snack pack containing 6 pretzels, 1 oz. of nasty cheese-like product, and raisins.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:08 AM
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As far as I'm concerned it's my Second Amendment right to carry a gun on a plane, as a defense against tyranny.

Also, I dispute the premise of 132.2.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:09 AM
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133: yes, or maybe the in-flight "movie" could be two solid hours of advertising. Oh, and they could also prohibit headphones, to ensure you're listening.

OR, you could just bring your own food on to the plane.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:11 AM
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Why do they demand that laptops be taken out of bags, anyway? That's another one I've never understood.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:15 AM
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OR, you could just bring your own food on to the plane.

So long as I either purchase it in the airport after the security checkpoint or it contains no liquid greater than three ounces....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:15 AM
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you could just bring your own food on to the plane

But what if the terrorists brought the Falafel of Death on the plane! Oh the humanity!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:15 AM
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Why do they demand that laptops be taken out of bags

To make sure it's not a slab of C4. The guys on the x ray machine are not exactly radiologists.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:18 AM
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To make sure it's not a slab of C4. The guys on the x ray machine are not exactly radiologists.

But why are laptops the only objects that they assume could be a slab of C4?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:19 AM
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Though now I remember the strange response of security screeners to an Apple Airport router. Something like: "we'll have to look more closely at this -- it's round and organic-looking and has wires coming out, so you naturally understand our concern." I didn't, but oh well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:21 AM
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Laptops are just the most common thing dense enough that the x-ray can't get a clear picture. You'll have to remove anything that casts are large shadow on the screen. Happened to me with a crystal picture frame.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:22 AM
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If the stupidity of the liquids ban is causing you pain, you could imagine that they were doing it to guard against nitroglycerin.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:25 AM
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Maybe it's because laptops have a very complex internal structure that's hard to get a clear look at when it's inside a bag with a bunch of other crap, but can be more easily examined when it's by itself in a tray.

I think they also want you to take out camcorders and maybe some other similarly complicated and large electronics.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:26 AM
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The bomb that blew up the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie was disguised as a large radio (a boom box, get it?) and was checked baggage. The days of TNT sticks wired to an alarm clock are over. anything electronic is therefore a potential explosive camouflage.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:29 AM
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I don't get the "Is Sully a hero" argument. It seems like society has a very clearcut rule in these situations. The person saved looks at the person who did the saving and gushes "You are so brave! You're my hero." Then the person who did the saving says "Just doing my job, ma'am."

Sure, tehcnically speaking the two are in disagreement, but there is no reason to resolve the disagreement. In fact, there is no way to resolve it. The person saved is *obligated* to be grateful and the person who did the saving is *obligated* to be modest. You can't assign a truth value to "Sully is a hero" without stepping on someone's obligation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:42 AM
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The fact that laptop batteries occasionally are explosive adds to the irony here. Fuel-cell-powered laptops will be even better.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:43 AM
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127: No, not kidding. In the liquid-fueled amateur rocketry community there is regular discussion of peroxide/alcohol fuels (which are attractive for a number of reasons) that get shot down due to the danger of mixing the two accidentally. The mixture isn't used as an explosive because it's sensitive and there are much better things to use if you want practicality. If you're going down with the plane anyway, a tetchy explosive is no biggie.

There was a lot of research on peroxide mixtures in the 50s for missile fuels. Peroxide/alcohol mixtures were found to be horrible unstable and energetic.

Incidentally, there is an awesome book by John D. Clark, "Ignition!" on the history of rocket propellant development that covers this stuff. It's autobiographical and hysterically funny.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:46 AM
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146: I think the disagreement is about whether to reserve the word 'hero' for people who couldn't truthfully say 'just doin' my job': for bystanders who run into burning buildings and such. I don't think the reservation works, but I think it's where the argument comes in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:46 AM
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148: Not a chemist, and have no hobbyist knowledge, but when this whole 'liquids plot' came out, I thought that was dismissed as impractical -- was it that it was so touchy that it'd be hard to get a serious explosion, it'd probably go off before it was all mixed? There was something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:48 AM
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No time to do more than skim the whole thread, but:

(a) Brock is insane. Reclining airline seats substantially reduces leg room, which is why, as a tall person, I'm trying to enforce the norm "it's rude to recline your airline seat," which I think most frequent fliers believe in.

(b) The parachute idea is ridiculous.

(c) As a lawyer who does a little bit of airline work, the safety demonstrations you see have little to do with tort liability -- they have a specific form mandated by the FAA which has existed forever. The interplay between tort (and airlines are common carriers, w/heightened responsibilities), contract, and federal preemption in airline cases is endless and still surprisingly unsettled.

(d) Many of the current airline security regulations are designed simply to slow down the process and increase the likelihood that a screener will notice something out of the ordinary. The liquids in containers rule is really just an excuse to provide more screening and more deterrence for a lot of passengers. That's the real justification anyway -- a somewhat maddening, if somewhat understandable, thing about airline security is that the TSA keeps its data about actual benefits, security studies, etc., classified.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:51 AM
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149: Yeah, I get that.

I'm claiming that "You're my hero" and "Just doing my job, ma'am" are expressive acts that don't really have a truth value. I'm not sure I can really support that, but it seems to be a big part of the issue here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:52 AM
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151d -- Oh, I thought it was to boost the "travel size crap" industry.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:54 AM
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Yeah, I'm with 150, and some Googling will probably turn up whatever it is we're both remembering. The gist was that you need a fairly significant explosion to do enough damage to bring down the plane, and that you're unlikely to get it without either first injuring yourself in such a way that you can't complete the task, or alerting other people to what you're doing so that they would stop you.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:56 AM
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You know people are surely digging, loving to take down heroes almost as much as making them.

See, Sully runs a safety consultancy. The landing was a publicity stunt. His fees will be skyrocketing now.

Easy. Some people haven't been trying.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:01 PM
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145: I saw someone last night crossing the street with a big blasting boombox. Nostalgia!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:04 PM
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152: "Just doing my job" has to have at least a fuzzy truth value. "Just" is where it gets fuzzy -- landing a plane on the Hudson when necessary was arguably part of what Cap'n Sully gets paid for, but is arguably above and beyond. Likewise police/firefighter/military heroics. But there are amateur heroes who do heroic stuff that's totally unrelated to their professions. I think the arguers want to draw a bright line -- if you get paid and trained to do stuff related to your heroics, you may be an excellent and commendable pilot/firefighter/cop/soldier, but you're not a hero.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:04 PM
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150 - The liquid explosive plot was indeed doomed, IIRC for the reason you give. Still, there are liquids that can be mixed to make explosive mixtures. I think that the problem with the way people look at the liquid explosive plot is that people are thinking in terms of explosives being things that are used to deliberately create explosions, which is a small subset of things that are capable of creating explosions. TATP is used as an explosive, but peroxide/alcohol mixtures are not. Both are capable of exploding. The reason the latter is not used in practice is because it's hella touchy and hard to control.

It's not clear to me that the danger is all that severe, but I also don't feel horribly inconvenienced by the liquids ban. Perhaps I'd feel different if I traveled with kids.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:08 PM
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149, 152: A true hero is never supposed to admit it, right? Even if she runs into a burning building to save a stranger, she says, "I was just in the right place at the right time. Anyone else would have done the same."

And, of course, the denial of heroism is part of the proof that she is a true hero.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:09 PM
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The liquids rule is not really about liquids (although, some liquids can of course be used as explosives). From what I've heard, the TSA seized on the liquid plot to institute the rule, but then found that it was a useful way to increase screening/create uncertainty in the lines/give screeners an extra something to check. The underlying theory is that a security line that moves too smoothly is not providing enough security -- annoying and somewhat arbitrary rules are a feature, not a bug. Whether this approach is supported by any evidence, or has had any positive effect, is hard to say, since the TSA keeps all its data classified.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:13 PM
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The underlying theory is that a security line that moves too smoothly is not providing enough security

Sort of like the way my heart pounds when I see a cop in the rearview mirror. I haven't done anything, honest, but if I suddenly took off, or did a U turn to avoid the cruiser, I think that might be probable cause to at least get a second look.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:19 PM
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I think we should be allowed to repeatedly punch in the back of the head people who recline their seats more than the tiniest amount.

99: Especially those who do a very quick shove down as opposed to a gentle reclining.

Seriously. Someone HIT ME IN THE HEAD with the seat, hard, last time I was on a plane, because I was leaning down to get a book out of my bag and he went SHWOOMP back. That results in a nice bonk on the bean from the tray table. I was not happy.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:21 PM
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Can you really not bring your own food from home onto an airplane? I'm dreading our summer flight already.

Also, is anyone comfortable in airplane seats? I just figured that, faced with the impossibility of creating a seat for a wide range of body types, designers aimed for one that would make absolutely no one happy, just to be fair.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:23 PM
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152: "I'm just doing my job" has a fairly well defined truth value in the context of, say, determining pay or training programs. But it just seems misguided to carry that over to a context where people are exchanging gratitude and modesty.

The debate reminds me of Thoughts, Arguments and Rants style analytic philosophy. People are trying to clarify the semantics of an exchange that is really driven by pragmatics. And the whole process seems driven by a blinkered idea of meaning. "You are using declarative sentences, so there must be a fact that we can uncover here."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:24 PM
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The liquid rule has been making me insane lately on occasions when I am traveling on short trips to places where I need to look pulled together. To look pulled together, I require both that my stuff not run the risk of being lost in transit and that my stuff include the toiletries that make me look mildly professional. Relatedly, how lovable is the confluence of the liquids rule with airlines charging extra for checked bags these days? So lovable.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:25 PM
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since the TSA keeps all its data classified.

This is why I have about as much confidence in the TSA's procedures as I do in the cases against the detainees in Guantanamo.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:27 PM
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we should be allowed to repeatedly punch in the back of the head people who recline their seats more than the tiniest amount

We are allowed to jam our knee into their backs as deeply as passive aggression will allow, though, right? Right?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:27 PM
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148: Interesting. I have not heard of such, but it makes some sense. I'm guessing you need >30% H2O2?

I am familiar with the book and have had some semi-professional experience with similar folks.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:28 PM
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At least in the types of security I've worked with, unpredictability does make the security better. It makes figuring out how the security system works harder, so people put more effort in to trying to get around it, and you can frequently notice said effort, and "puts a lot of effort into trying to bypass security systems" is a good signal for "up to no good."

Not a perfect signal, of course. And not useful in cases where there are strong philosophical arguments against using it (eg the Fifth Amendment). But for a lot of situatuons it's really useful.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:30 PM
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What's struck me about this incident is how much more press it's gotten thanks to it happening in New York. If the emergency landing had happened on the Cuyahoga, the crew would've been put on the cover of TV Guide, shown up on Today and then been forgotten about ten days later. But it happens that this event also counts as local news -- and therefore a more compelling story -- to a large chunk of the people who run the media. Sometimes this effect is sort of charming, like when Letterman spent the bulk of last night's show talking to the crew; other times it's pretty insufferable.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:30 PM
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Can you really not bring your own food from home onto an airplane? I'm dreading our summer flight already.

You can bring food, as long as it's not liquid.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:31 PM
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134.2: Why?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:32 PM
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Incidentally, there is an awesome book by John D. Clark, "Ignition!" on the history of rocket propellant development that covers this stuff

Anything in the book about my favorite rocketeer, Jack Parsons? I still think his life story would be an awesome movie.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:33 PM
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I'm guessing you need >30% H2O2?

If I was trying to make a bomb (or a rocket) I'd use something a lot more concentrated than 30%. At least 75%, preferably higher.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:34 PM
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170: But if the Cuyahoga were on fire, that would be bigger news that the Hudson.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:34 PM
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OK, I am fully aware that it my be my own parochialism speaking but:

If the emergency landing had happened on the Cuyahoga, the crew would've been put on the cover of TV Guide, shown up on Today and then been forgotten about ten days later.

I think it would have definitely been national news if it happened on the Cuyahoga, if only because it seems likely that there would have been a worse outcome. Is the Cuyahoga filled with large passenger ferries able to be on the scene within minutes?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:35 PM
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Anything in the book about my favorite rocketeer, Jack Parsons?

Rocke-who?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:35 PM
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||

It is so sad to be in a workplace that has had a bunch of people laid off. The surprising "see you all later" e-mails just kill. Of course, the one with a Styx mp3 of "Come sail away" is interesting...

|>


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:39 PM
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176: Yes, it would have almost certainly been a disaster, but not for lack of ferries. Finding room for the plane would be the problem. The Cuyahoga generally shallow, twisty and narrow.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:44 PM
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If the emergency landing had happened on the Cuyahoga

The dude woulda been a flat out fucking hero, no questions. Aerial view of the Cuyahoga Rier winding through Cleveland.

No ferries, but it is a very *small* river, the "continental" divide is only 30 miles south, as it is the river bends around for about a total of 50 miles total length.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:45 PM
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MH is an anti-hero!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:45 PM
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Or an ante hero.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:46 PM
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180: Of course, you could always try the lake. Much easier.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:47 PM
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168: The people I know work(ed) with 90-98% ("High Test Peroxide" in the jargon of the community). There is one group that fiddled around with 50%, including mixing with alcohol to try making a monopropellant. Moderately successful, no explosions, but too much hassle. I suspect that 50% is too low a concentration for an explosion.

173: It's long enough since I read the book that I don't recall.

Ignition! is absolutely the best book to give as a gift to anyone with an interest in chemistry. It's really funny and full of delightful little anecdotes about strange characters. Unfortunately it's out of print and copies are going for ~$400 second hand last I checked. There's a print-on-demand version available for ~$70, but in my experience those tend to have lousy bindings and I'm finicky about bindings. But not dust jackets.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:48 PM
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The liquid rule has been making me insane lately on occasions when I am traveling on short trips to places where I need to look pulled together.

This, exactly. I am not going to check luggage for the sole purpose of bringing one bottle of the goop that makes my hair not utterly frizzy. But I am also not inclined to try to squeeze 2 oz. of it into some cheapo plastic container that I can put in a ziploc that I can put in my carry-on.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:49 PM
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Ignition! is absolutely the best book to give as a gift to anyone with an interest in chemistry. It's really funny and full of delightful little anecdotes about strange characters. Unfortunately it's out of print and copies are going for ~$400 second hand last I checked. There's a print-on-demand version available for ~$70, but in my experience those tend to have lousy bindings and I'm finicky about bindings. But not dust jackets.

I heard that UMN stopped their print-on-demand service in the last few months. But otherwise, yes.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:50 PM
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184: That's interesting. What are the handling requirements for that? I'm only familiar with the 30%, which just sit in the little white bottle in the lab fridge. (Don't get it on your skin! Look, Mom, I'm white! No, really!)


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:54 PM
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184: I've seen it recommended a number of times, enthusiastically enough that I've looked for a copy, and been really impressed by how expensive they were. I wonder if there's a publisher with rights to it that could be talked into reprinting it, given that there seems to be a market.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 12:56 PM
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Rocke-who?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Parsons


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:01 PM
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The cover photo in the link in 189 is really impressive.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:11 PM
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189: He's mentioned, but only in passing. He doesn't feature in any of the truly entertaining explosion stories.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:12 PM
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I mean, how many signifiers of machismo can you put in one picture? A hairy, shirtless man, not smiling, his face half in shadow, wearing dress pants, smoking a pipe, surrounded by a rough hewn rocky structure.

He is kinda flabby, though.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:15 PM
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Reclining airline seats substantially reduces leg room, which is why, as a tall person, I'm trying to enforce the norm "it's rude to recline your airline seat," which I think most frequent fliers believe in.

It is NOT rude to recline your seatback. Seats go back.

What is rude is not to take into account the size of the person behind you, and to knock their knees or smush their space. For the record, the airline industry is to blame.

My point: if there is someone tall behind you, you are being a nice, cooperative person by not leaning your seatback, and it is good etiquette to be nice and cooperative. We do not need to disable the entire seatback mechanism; they make plane seats WAY more comfortable.

Stop creating a stigma where there shouldn't be one!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:16 PM
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I am short and small and I really really hate it when the person in front of me reclines his or her seat.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:18 PM
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193: Yep. If I put the seat back, I'm way more comfortable. I'll be careful. I'll refrain if I'm in front of somebody huge and I'm not stuck next to somebody even huger. But I've never heard it was rude to recline.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:19 PM
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194: I sympathize, but I think they're within their alloted cabin room provided by purchasing their ticket.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:21 PM
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Hats on airplanes. Vomitaceous plus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:22 PM
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They are, but only because the airlines made the seats do that diabolical thing. It fucks with my flow and makes me resentful. Also, it makes it impossible for me to watch a movie on my computer on the seat tray. I recognize that this makes me cranky and selfish, though.

The worst is being in the seat that doesn't recline and having a recliner in front of you. It's a fundamentally cruel system!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:23 PM
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Also the worst is that once in a while there is a missing window, presumably where the wires are running through the wall or something.

This is the most clausterphobia-inducing feature ever. I can't explain why, except that it's like the horror movies where someone has smooth skin where their mouth or eyeball should be, and they're trying to open their mouth or eye. Having a shade lowered is no big deal, but just having the smooth wall freaks me the fuck out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:27 PM
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I saw Gareth Branwyn of MAKE give a presentation on Jack Parsons at our local Dorkbot chapter a few months ago and man, it was pretty awesome. My favorite part of the story was when Parsons cast a spell to summon a storm to force L. Ron Hubbard and Parsons' ex-girlfriend back to shore as they tried to abscond with the money Parsons invested in their yacht-arbitrage scheme. Better still, the spell worked.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:27 PM
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The reclining feature is a disaster and a recipie for conflict. The problem is that the seats are designed so that each passenger has the option, at his or her own discretion, to do something that has the potential to significantly lessen what's an already small space -- which is a special annoyance for tall people, but is also an annoyance for the less tall. Moreover, the recline feature is built into the seat so that many folks think that they've purchased the right to recline when they purchase a ticket, regardless of the effect on the person behind them.

An etiquette rule of "it's fine to recline so long as I'm not obviously hurting the person behind me" is way too subjective, and will always be taken advantage of by some. The ideal solution would be to build more comfortable seats where each passenger isn't given the discretion to harm the person behind them at will, but, since that's not going to happen, the better default rule is that it's rude to recline, unless there's no one behind you at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:31 PM
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He is kinda flabby, though.

I think that's just the effect of the pleated brown corduroy trousers.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:32 PM
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I can't explain why, except that it's like the horror movies where someone has smooth skin where their mouth or eyeball should be, and they're trying to open their mouth or eye.

Did anybody watch Fringe last night?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:34 PM
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201: You can't just go around declaring things rude and expect everyone to fall in line. Having the seat reclined into your space is well down the list of what personal space-intrusions that happen on an airplane. I get the middle seat or stuck next to somebody wider than the seat all the time.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:34 PM
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You can't just go around declaring things rude and expect everyone to fall in line.

What about the fat man wearing too much cologne who fell asleep next to me, put his head on my shoulder, and snored? Can I declare him rude?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:39 PM
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192: Mandom!

193 et seq.: I think the real problem is that seats on airplanes are now packed more tightly than they were when the recline feature was designed. I'm a little on the small side of average (if you ignore gender), and there are some planes where a reclined seat gets close enough to my face to give me the claustrophobic creeps. I think that (a) airlines should put more room between rows, but failing that (b) they should disable the recline buttons, but failing that (c) no one should recline their seat if there's someone sitting behind them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:39 PM
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An etiquette rule of "it's fine to recline so long as I'm not obviously hurting the person behind me" is way too subjective, and will always be taken advantage of by some. The ideal solution would be to build more comfortable seats where each passenger isn't given the discretion to harm the person behind them at will, but, since that's not going to happen, the better default rule is that it's rude to recline, unless there's no one behind you at all.

Since when do etiquette rules have to be purely objective? This is crazy talk.

United will give you a seat with more than enough leg room for the person in front of you to recline, for a small extra fee ("Economy Plus"). If this is the kind of shit that bothers you, it's totally worth it.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:41 PM
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Getting stuck in the middle seat, or having someone wider put next to you, is not in your control. Reclining your seat is. It's generally rude to do things that deliberately make other people substantially less comfortable (or worse, I've seen laptops nearly destroyed, etc., from the recline). I blame the airlines for creating the situation, but that's how it is. My sense is that most frequent travelers of all heights find it generally a bit rude, but I could be wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:41 PM
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205: Go ahead and slap him awake if he's got his head on your shoulder.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:43 PM
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205: Rude, or merely affectionate? Your call.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:43 PM
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206 -- right, when the seats were designed, there was sufficient space for folks to recline without creating the kinds of problems we see today.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:43 PM
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Hey, here's a question that's sure to provoke disagreement: what do you do when someone asks you to move to another seat so they can sit next to their child/grandmother/boyfriend/boss? My inclination is to do so if it involves switching to another aisle or window seat, but definitely not if it's a middle seat, even if it leaves the poor six-year old sitting all alone. Does this make me a bad person?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:44 PM
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What about the fat man wearing too much cologne who fell asleep next to me, put his head on my shoulder, and snored? Can I declare him rude?

I don't remember snoring.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:48 PM
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212 -- I'd say you have to move if you're offered a trade of an equivalent quality of seat (aisle to aisle, window to window, or aisle to window), but not to move from a window or an aisle seat to a middle seat just to accomodate someone. It would be a generous and kind thing to move from an aisle to a middle seat to accomodate someone else, but I wouldn't say it's a breach of good manners not to do so, and it's a bit rude to ask. On the other hand, if you won't move from the window seat in 18F to the one in 21F just because you were sitting in 18F already, you're being kind of a jerk.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:49 PM
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214: On this one I agree with you. And for the six-year old I'd take the center seat if there was no other way to make the swap.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:52 PM
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I once gave up an aisle seat, unasked, because I was seated amidst the varsity basketball team of St. Peter's University. There was little 5'2" oudemia, dangling her feet in the aisle, while these gigantic young men were smooshed all around her. So I asked the guy in the middle seat of my row if he wanted to switch. I'm not normally so nice, but it seemed just.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:55 PM
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My point exactly. She does know. That must be rough.

Until I've been through it and done well, I am willing to cut her some slack.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 1:55 PM
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My experience is that frequent fliers are more likely to be jerks and recline their seats. Regular upgrades and free gins and tonic have inured them to the suffering of the plebs. Of course, it's not rude to recline your seat in first class.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:04 PM
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Huh. I am 5'11", and have space troubles, but when people recline their seats in front of me, the seat usually approaches my knees but does not actually limit my legroom.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:35 PM
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189: if my given first name was "marvel" i would not change it to john!

iirc anotger part of the tale goes thus:
jack marvel parsons to his mentor aleister crowley aka the Great Beast: "al, al, we are going to conjure up the GREAT WHORE OF BABYLON"
aleister crowley aka the Great Beast: "omg americans are all idiots -- this will end badly DON'T DO IT"
MP: "WILL TOO! get back to yr asthma so-called Wickedest Man in the World "

as they do the spell, a gorgeous green-eyed redhead knocks on the door...
the GREAT WHORE OF BABYLON (for it is she): "Hi can I borrow a cup of sugar?" (or maybe her car broke down, i forgot that bit)
ron l hubbard (for it is he): "yes you can and you can come inside and pretend to be Marvel's GF but secretly be jiggin with me and run away so he blows himself up in raging rockety despair"
And this is what happens! THE END


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:42 PM
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I'm 6'2" and don't really have any problems with others reclining. My main sources of discomfort are the base of the seat in front of me preventing me from stretching (or even moving) my legs, headrests that meet me on my neck, and seat cushions that practically force my ass forwards making me cycle between slouching and scooting back up.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:44 PM
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219: What bothers me isn't actually the legroom, it's the faceroom, and the not being able to bend forward and get something from under the seat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:46 PM
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What bothers me isn't actually the legroom, it's the faceroom, and the not being able to bend forward and get something from under the seat.
Oh, see, I already can't do that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:48 PM
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I'd like to add my name to the list of people who are fairly tall (six foot) who don't care if the person in front leans back.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:52 PM
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Most people -- except for the tallest of tall people -- can move around a reclining seat by positioning their legs. But, you then have no more room in which to move your legs, reach over for something, or open your laptop without it being driven into your chest. Generally, to avoid hitting a reclining seat, I'm required both to position my legs well to the sides for most of the flight and to keep from moving them at all. I'm not losing circulation, it just creates a very claustrophobic space situation, and removes the barely adequate amount of space that's between the seats when they are upright. (On some airlines, the seats are now so close to each other that it's now literally impossible for someone to recline without hitting my legs, but that's not yet true on all airlines.).

This is why a no reclining rule is good manners -- it's not just crushing someone's knees that's the problem, it's the removal of space for movement and work. So, even the recliner who only reclines when she thinks she's not doing harm may be causing more problems than she knows. Just say no!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 2:55 PM
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I agree with Eggplant and rob helpy-chalk. This thread has filled me with envy for those of you short people who apparently have the possibility, even though it be a remote one, depending on the cooperation of the person in front of you, of being comfortable in one of these seats.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 3:00 PM
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[A reclined seat] fucks with my flow

For what it's worth, I've had some success with low-dose monophasic seats.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 3:07 PM
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226: Me too (another tall person). Much worse for comfort is having anything under the seat in front of me. So I deprecate as rude and uncouth the bringing of large bags onto the flight and filling up the overhead trays. I check my bag if it is large and every other fucking thing I bring on board goes in the overhead other than the book that I am reading.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 3:20 PM
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I fully endorse everything in 228. (Well, except for the tall part. I'm 5'10"-5'11".) I find being fat much more of an issue on planes than being tallish.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 3:34 PM
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229: And some of us are tall and have a robust build.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 3:40 PM
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and have a robust build

If you know what I mean.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 3:45 PM
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Contrariwise, I sat next to a quite enormous guy on a tiny plane recently, and he was just a beautifully gracious seat neighbor. It helped, of course, that I am small, but he was so careful about where he put his feet and how he held himself, which must have been a lot of uncomfortable work. When I got to my seat and saw him, I was sure that I would wind up being filled with unkind resentment of him, but by the end of the flight, I wanted to give him a bouquet of flowers. (Instead, I invited him to put his bag under the seat in front of me, which I hope was actually helpful.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 4:26 PM
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So I deprecate as rude and uncouth the bringing of large bags onto the flight and filling up the overhead trays. I check my bag if it is large and every other fucking thing I bring on board goes in the overhead other than the book that I am reading.

I did until they started charging, and now I feel like the airline has pitted common sense and decency against an overpriced bullshit fee. And the flights this season! "Ladies and gentlemen, please do not put any coats or small items in the overhead compartments until we have put all suitcases too large to fit below up there." It was so overstuffed. THAT'S WHY THERE'S ROOM IN THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE PLANE. STOP CHARGING FOR IT.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 4:41 PM
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since that's not going to happen, the better default rule is that it's rude to recline, unless there's no one behind you at all.

I'd like to associate myself with this sentiment. It just seems true to me that the equilibrium where everyone agrees that reclining is rude has more total happiness than the one where people recline whenever they want to. This might sound like a parody of utilitarian reasoning, but basically is how I think about the issue.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 4:54 PM
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I think that Heebie should have to pay for 1.5 tickets now. She shouldn't get away with pretending that she's just one person. That's Nazi babykiller talk. Her child should not ride for free.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 4:59 PM
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Then can I recline? I'd like the half-seat directly behind my seatback, please.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:02 PM
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please do not put any coats or small items in the overhead compartments until we have put all suitcases too large to fit below up there.

This drives me nuts. I don't mind the checked bag fees so much (I delude myself into thinking the fee means I'm not being charged for a service, in the form of a higher ticket prices, unless I actually use it), but fuck losing my meager footroom to my little overnight bag just because some jackass brings a small steamer trunk on board. If they're going to charge for checked bags, they really need to limit the size of carry-ons better so everyone gets to use the overheads.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:06 PM
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Properly charging fares for unborn children might both reduce the birthrate and discourage abortion. Sure, sunk costs is a fallacy, but after you've spent a bit of cash on a fetus, you'll value it more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:06 PM
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237: Maybe I'm pennywise/poundfoolish, but a $15 surcharge is *so* much more obnoxious than just incorporating it into the airline price, because you're in a different financial frame of mind when you book your flight than when you're at the airport.

And since it's not a cost-saving measure whatsoever, and it makes everything more unpleasant for your passengers, I find it totally infuriating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:12 PM
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and it predictably, obviously forseeably, c'mon airlines makes everything more unpleasant for your passengers,


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:13 PM
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Maybe I'm pennywise/poundfoolish, but a $15 surcharge is *so* much more obnoxious than just incorporating it into the airline price, because you're in a different financial frame of mind when you book your flight than when you're at the airport.

And now you know why they do it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:17 PM
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Parachutes:

The deal is that planes crash on takeoff and landing

Also, in between times, they tend to fly wayyyyy up in the thin cold air, not at safe heights for parachuting.

Liquids:

No, the "liquid explosives hahahaha!!1!lol" article was in that notorious information source, The Register. If you've got H2O2 of high purity, and more or less anything else to mix it with, you're in business; it's an incredibly powerful oxidant, which tends to generate lots of heat and, often, superhot steam. I think it was Alex Harrowell who noted that if you've got 90% pure hydrogen peroxide and you're not causing serious trouble, you're not trying.

Seats:

The seat goes back because the seat was designed to go back, because you're meant to lean back. Deal.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:22 PM
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I think she was saying she's in the opposite different frame of mind than the one they would want, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:22 PM
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See, dsquared is the kind of problem passenger who makes life hell for the rest of us.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:28 PM
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My version of dealing simply includes resenting both those who meant my fellow passengers to lean back and those who do the leaning.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:30 PM
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because you're meant to lean back. Deal.

So long as you don't mind your fellow passengers daydreaming about stabbing you in the kidneys.

Come to think of it, what am I saying? Clearly you don't mind that sort of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:37 PM
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Also, the seat goes back because it was designed for a plane with 36-38 inches of legroom between seats, where there was room to recline. Now that most coach seats have 30-32 inches, the argument from design fails.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:37 PM
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the argument from design fails.

Thus, we can conclude airplanes evolved by natural selection. Probably from some form of bicycle.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:39 PM
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Don't forget the ironing board.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:44 PM
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And now you know why they do it.

No, they did it so that they could bargain for lower prices on Expedia and Priceline, which have not yet started incorporating addendum costs into their algorithm.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 5:55 PM
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250: Right. They don't want to show the extra cost until they absolutely have to (same reason hotels and rental car agencies add a bunch of fees when it comes time for you to pay).

Plus, once you're actually at the airport you're a captive consumer.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 6:00 PM
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re: 204 and 207

WTF, reclining into someone else's space is rude. Blaming the 'victim' doesn't make it any less rude. It just makes you selfish.

The seat goes back because the seat was designed to go back, because you're meant to lean back. Deal.

I choose to deal with it by thinking that the person reclining is a cunt, who deserves a good fucking belt in the teeth.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 6:51 PM
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252: Oh wow, I haven't read the thread at all but yes, people who recline their seats on airplanes right in front of your face and into your lap are ... I can't say it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:02 PM
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253: Everything from about comment 7 on has been about that.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:04 PM
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||

I just found out that one of Wobegon's pioneering ricin terrorist got his start in politics with MADD -- his daughter had been killed in a drunk-driving accident. He got on the slippery slope of extremism, and before long he was planning to kill the county sheriff's entire department. Let this be a warning.

A friend of mine knows all the members of this conspiracy, and was messing around with one of their wives right when it was all happening.

Garrison Keillor didn't tell you about this.

|>


|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:07 PM
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254: So I see. Glad that we all agree.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:10 PM
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by the end of the flight, I wanted to give him a bouquet of flowers. (Instead, I invited him to put his bag under the seat in front of me, which I hope was actually helpful.)

At the end of the flight? Probably not very helpful.

I think that Heebie should have to pay for 1.5 tickets now. She shouldn't get away with pretending that she's just one person. That's Nazi babykiller talk. Her child should not ride for free.

Kids under 2 fly free, John, as long as you hold them in your lap instead of giving them their own seat. I think what Heebie's doing now is close enough to holding the baby in her lap to count for a free ticket.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:28 PM
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Kids fly free? That's an outrage! The little bastards!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:33 PM
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I have to admit that I'm sort of with Mr. Davies on the reclining seats. I personally don't put the seats back most times, but that's only because I'm a super anal person who really likes to sit bolt upright and stay awake reading trashy novels on the airplane. Everybody else on the plane always seems to be reclining and sleeping, and good on 'em.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:35 PM
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I'll quit reclining my seat when they pry my cold dead fingers off the little lever thingie.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:41 PM
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Jesus, if I were Obama, Ford's Theater is the last place I'd ever go. A braver man than I. I hope at least that he stays far away from all Textbook Depository Centers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:42 PM
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259 -- You are not evil, but have chosen to side with the forces of evil.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:43 PM
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On overnight flights, especially, nearly everyone reclines. We all lose a few cubic inches and gain a few cubic inches. No big deal.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:45 PM
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WTF, reclining into someone else's space is rude. Blaming the 'victim' doesn't make it any less rude. It just makes you selfish.

The argument isn't over whether taking someone's space is rude, it's over whether the space a seat occupies during the recline process belongs to the person in the seat or the person behind it.

I think it's pretty clear that it belongs to the person in front. When the airlines don't want you to be able to recline your seat, they stop you from doing so. Yet they continue to install seats that recline. Yes, it's difficult to reach stuff underneath the seat in front of you. Yes, there is frequently not enough room to use a laptop on the tray table. Life is tough. If you want more legroom, you can spend more money and get it.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:48 PM
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264 is the problem. People assume, not that unreasonably, that when they've purchased a seat they've purchased the right to recline. But the airlines now space the seats so close together -- closer than what the seats were designed for -- such that reclining often imposes a serious burden on the person behind you (no, not alleviated by a series of other recliners -- you still have the problem of moving your legs around or trying to do anything like work). Thus, it's rude to recline your seat, even if the airlines, not you, caused the problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:54 PM
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I don't care all that much about reclining seats in front of me as long as 1) they take some care around meal times - fortunately, airlines rarely serve those anymore - and 2) they pick an adjustment and stick with it. The rockers are annoying.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 7:58 PM
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Wow. I thought people here were mostly on the right side of all the key moral questions of our age, and now you're defending reclining seats on cramped airplanes? I'm disappointed, Unfogged, deeply disappointed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:17 PM
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If somebody reclines in front of me I'm fucking well going to recline. Really, this is a debate? Talk to the people in the bunkhead seats.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:25 PM
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Also, how shitty is it that the airlines have forced us into this Lord-of-the-Flies-esque backbiting and infighting when the real enemy is the corporate overlords who don't care about our constitutional right to cheap, high quality, roomy air travel?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:26 PM
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People assume, not that unreasonably, that when they've purchased a seat they've purchased the right to recline. But the airlines now space the seats so close together -- closer than what the seats were designed for -- such that reclining often imposes a serious burden on the person behind you (no, not alleviated by a series of other recliners -- you still have the problem of moving your legs around or trying to do anything like work). Thus, it's rude to recline your seat, even if the airlines, not you, caused the problem.

Airlines have had 31" seat pitches for 20 years now, it's not like they're stuck with seats they bought before deregulation. Not to mention that there are plenty of seats on airliners that don't recline - the ones in front of the exit rows and the ones in front of a bulkhead. If the airlines thought letting people recline was a bad thing, they'd prevent all the seats from reclining. They don't, probably because people avoid non-reclining seats like the plague.

I really wonder if this is a height thing, I'm 6'4" so can't move around anyway.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:29 PM
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I won't recline, even if the person in front of me does. It actually doesn't make that big of a difference, and I don't want to pass the pain down the line.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:29 PM
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Makes a big difference to me; if I recline on a cross-country flight I can just barely get my knees to where they aren't jammed into the seat in front of me.

On the other hand, I usually fly JetBlue, which has like a billion (1-3) more inches of room, so it's all much mellower.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:31 PM
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I'm basically 10, so I'll prop my knees up against the seat ahead of me as soon as practical to prevent any reclining (on the theory that recliners usually do it ASAP). Most of the time people give up, thinking their seat is stuck.


Posted by: Richard M. Nixon | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:32 PM
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If you're 6'4'' and are taking this view, you're either a masochist or insane. But the bottom line is that if you insist on intentionally making a tough, crowded travel situation worse for those around you because of your view of the "property" you purchased, you are being a dick.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:33 PM
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I'm basically 10, so I'll prop my knees up against the seat ahead of me as soon as practical to prevent any reclining (on the theory that recliners usually do it ASAP).

You're apparently the size of a 10 year old, too. Prop your... knees on the seat in front of you?

Also if any of you antisocial assholes are bound and determined to take your need for comfort out on the innocent traveler in front of you (who's only trying to get some rest) then you could get some of these.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:34 PM
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274: yes. Which is why preventing people from reclining in their seats is dickish.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:34 PM
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Yeah, I intentionally fly Jet Blue when I can because their legroom situation is better. And you can pay a premium for seats that actually approach what a coach cabin looked like when the seats were designed 30 years ago. But that's not always possible.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:35 PM
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For a visual illustration of the fact that kids fly free if they sit in your lap, I recommend the movie Fearless.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:35 PM
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I really wonder if this is a height thing, I'm 6'4" so can't move around anyway.

Might be "I'm 6'4" so I can see over the top of the reclined seat"? I'm not generally claustrophobic, but being pinned in place with no space in front of my face makes me unhappy, and being behind a reclined seat is cramped enough to set off that reaction. I can see that I might be less bothered if I were 8" taller. (Probably also less comfortable otherwise, but not so psychologically cramped.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:37 PM
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You know what's way, way, way more annoying than anything to do with reclining seats? People who grab the edge of every headrest as they walk down the aisle or get in and out of their seat. Yes, please, may I aid your trip to the bathroom by allowing you to slingshot my head forward? That sounds lovely.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:37 PM
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Also, if I'm on an old airplane and there's an ashtray in the arm rest and the airline hasn't sealed it shut - well, I'm just going to have to learn how to smoke.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:37 PM
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276 -- Cute, but just not equivalent. People sitting in a non-reclined way have (barely) enough space to move around without being in either active pain or unable to move. And everyone has to be non-reclined for take-off and landing. That's not the case for the recliners. That's why the default should be no-recline, although it's the airlines' fault for starting these wars.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:38 PM
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You're apparently the size of a 10 year old, too. Prop your... knees on the seat in front of you?

Nope. Full-sized. And willing to contort at the beginning to avoid prolonged discomfort.

But how is it more dickish to prevent their backwards motion than to prevent my forwards motion?


Posted by: Richard M. Nixon | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:38 PM
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276 -- Cute, but just not equivalent. People sitting in a non-reclined way have (barely) enough space to move around without being in either active pain or unable to move.

Not true.

it's the airlines' fault for starting these wars.

True.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:39 PM
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We've turned a post about heroism into minor kvetching over 3 inches of space. Just in case anybody's wondering how this whole 'pull together in the rough economy' thing is likely to work out.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:41 PM
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Okay, so assuming a red eye flight, a window seat, and 31" of leg room, and I'm 6'1" tall? No matter how the seats are reclined I'm going to have my knees jammed someplace uncomfortable. I would way rather be on a plane where everybody's reclining.

Of course, the worst of all worlds would be a plane where some twit behind me decided they were going all me-against-the-world and stopped my seat from reclining, so I both couldn't sleep and had a headrest in my fucking face.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:42 PM
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285: I'm trying to amp up the rage. Accelerate the winnowing, that's my theory.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:42 PM
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You know, I hate to be all free-markety, but the airlines could easily disable the recliners if they wanted to, and could even advertise that fact. "Our seats don't recline! No other travelers can invade your personal space!" Yet none of them do. If there existed an anti-reclining norm among frequent fliers that was violated only be rude assholes, this seems like it would be a profitable strategy. Yet, somehow I think more people would be upset than pleased. Ergo, there is no norm against reclining.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:43 PM
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287: Asocial Darwinism?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:44 PM
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Airlines could stop charging for checked luggage, but they don't. Must be because there's a preference for paying extra for one's bags.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:46 PM
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290: airlines that don't charge for checked luggage advertise based on that fact, and have been quite successful in attracting customers who like not getting nickel and dimed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:49 PM
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Weirdly enough, when you get up to e.g. your fancier first class international flight kind of seats, they recline more! Must be because the airlines really like stiffing the swells.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:50 PM
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I'm 6'1'' and take red-eyes all the time. On the red-eye, the situation is marginally different, because you don't have to worry about eating or, usually, trying to work, so the biggest annoyances of having the person recline in front of you aren't there in the same way they are on a day flight. You're meal or your laptop won't get crushed. Still, reclining on a red eye means that you've now forced the person behind you scrunch backwards and try to sleep, whether or not they want to, as well as increasing the claustrophobia factor.

I should say that I don't think it's morally unnacceptable to recline if the person in front of you has already reclined -- sometimes it's a necessity. But I try not to do it. I do think it's rude to be the first person to recline.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:50 PM
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How many airlines charged for luggage on routine domestic flights 3 years ago? How many now? It's become a norm to be discounted against quite rapidly. Somehow, I don't think it's the result of following market research, unless it's the kind of market research that asks the question "how much shit will our customers take without revolting?"


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:51 PM
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If you're 6'4'' and are taking this view, you're either a masochist or insane. But the bottom line is that if you insist on intentionally making a tough, crowded travel situation worse for those around you because of your view of the "property" you purchased, you are being a dick.

I agree. Put your laptop away and let the person in front of you recline, or go buy a seat with more legroom. United only charges 50 bucks each way for 34" seat pitch.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:53 PM
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No one has a problem with reclining in first class, because the legroom is wide enough to permit reclining. This is 100% a problem generated by the airlines deciding to remove legroom while maintaining the same kinds of seats that people got used to in regulated coach -- "relax, sit back, and enjoy the flight." Passengers have been left on their own to solve the dilemna until the airlines come to their senses.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:53 PM
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The first time I paid for checked bags - Dec 2007 - I chose to because the fare was so low, the extra for the bags still came out to a lower total than all the other possibilities.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:54 PM
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It's become a norm to be discounted against quite rapidly.

Yes, well, I assume they polled the jet fuel, and the jet fuel said "we'd like to cost you a ton more money!", and they reacted accordingly. Now, as demand drops, they'll probably eventually start following the lead of the "discount" airlines again, although certainly not soon enough to win back my business unless I'm desperate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:55 PM
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I'm generally indifferent to reclining but,

Put your laptop away and let the person in front of you recline,

Apparently, property rights reside in seats and not trays. So much for fee simple.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:55 PM
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Airlines have tried to use "more legroom throughout coach" as a marketing slogan, over and over again. It turns out people would rather save twenty bucks and be squished.

Aren't you a lawyer? If you have to work, can't you fly business class and charge it to the client?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:56 PM
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I'm glad you have the ability to always fly United, and to always avoid working on flights. Most of us don't. And I still don't understand where exactly you're putting your legs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:56 PM
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299: if they wanted you to use your laptop on the plane they would compete on the basis of offering outlets and wi-fi. If you're a business traveler, they want you to pay a premium. They don't want you flying coach.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:57 PM
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I try to charge business class to clients, when I can. Most won't put up with it for domestic flights, although it's the norm for international trips. Seriously, I am shocked at the lack of solidarity from tall people on this issue.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 8:59 PM
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298: Cost of fuel isn't really about people's preferences or norms. That's all I was saying with the first comment about paying for bags.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:00 PM
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Maybe you're the only person who regularly tries to actually do work on airplanes. It seems unusual to me.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:00 PM
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So why is it the person in front of you's fault that your clients are too cheap to spring for business class?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:01 PM
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People in Botswana have flies bigger than the three inches we're talking about here that live under their skin (see 'Nannies' post immediately below).


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:01 PM
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302: If they didn't want you to use the tray, they wouldn't allow it to come down. This argument sounds familiar.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:01 PM
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And of course the truth is that ANY clear rule would be better than what we have now. It's because passengers have the option to recline, the space is valuable, and the property rights to the space are unclear that the problems arise. I think this may be one of the very few areas where I agree with law-and-economics.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:01 PM
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And of course the truth is that ANY clear rule would be better than what we have now.

The rule is "if you want to recline, your seat reclines". This isn't clear?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:03 PM
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Honestly, I don't actually care that much about trays either.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:04 PM
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I'm looking forward to having two six-year-olds with me when I go back east in June. Be forewarned, person in front of me: whether or not you recline is up to you. Whether or not you rest is up to me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:04 PM
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308: you can use the tray to hold your drinks perfectly well if the person in front of you has reclined.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:04 PM
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even if


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:05 PM
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My actual outlook is that just about everything having to do with air travel is crap and I write off the whole experience as crappy and I get along a lot better that way. It's not uncommon that I'm pleasantly surprised by my flight. This should be a lesson about the benefits of setting expectations way low.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:07 PM
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Rule is probably the wrong way to think about it. There's no rule, if you recline your seat no one's going to stop you. There's a good shot you'll be making the person behind you miserable, but if that doesn't bother you, it's not your problem. If it does bother you, you probably shouldn't recline your seat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:08 PM
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No, because it's so clearly a dick move to recline into the person behind you, in many circumstances. I mean, you wouldn't recline into someone who just got served or was eating a meal, would you? (if you would, there's a special circle in hell for you). And the seats are not always reclined, so there's always going to be that choice as to whether or not you make the decision to recline. It's why the recline feature is a recipie for conflict.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:08 PM
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315: yes. With the further caveat that if somebody tries to keep me from reclining in my seat, when (a) the seats are designed to recline and (b) I have no problem with the people in front of me reclining because (c) hey, none of us are that comfortable here anyway, I'm going to judge them for it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:09 PM
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I think some of you should maybe look into getting jobs that require less travel.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:10 PM
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I mean, you wouldn't recline into someone who just got served or was eating a meal, would you?

No, because my seat would already be reclined, because everybody reclines their seats at the first opportunity and keeps them there. I have been on flights where they asked people to bring their seats forward when meals were served, and I was pleased to be asked, and cheerfully complied.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:11 PM
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I am with the anti recliners. Of course I hate air travel so much now that I took a 20hr train ride recently rather than a four hour flight.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:12 PM
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There's a special jiggly way of reclining your seat that spills the other guy's drink for him. I can't tell you exactly how to do it, but I'll show you sometime if you happen to be sitting behind me on a plane.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:13 PM
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I've been surprised in recent years by how few people seem to be reclining. There was a period of a few years when I did very little flying, but when I did fly, it seemed like everyone reclined. (Before that, I don't remember.) I suspect this is just the result of me avoiding red eyes as much as I can and not flying internationally.

I'm sure this sounds bizarre, but when I flew over here I picked a one stop flight over a non-stop because 2 to 3 hours is about my limit for sitting in airline seats without really wanting to walk around (the aisle doesn't cut it), and my experience has been that I feel better after domestic one-stop flights than after domestic non-stop flights.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:18 PM
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Cross-country flights, that is.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:19 PM
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I'm temperamentally with the anti-recliners, but it's an institutional problem. The institutional logic of reclining seats mandates reclining if reclined upon. To do otherwise is the futile act of a hippie.

I and the public both know
what all schoolchildren learn
to whom reclining is done
shall recline themselves in turn.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:20 PM
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I love the Gimli Glider story.

More insightful Wrongshore commentary when I finish the thread!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:21 PM
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323: I would much rather have a stop and get to pick a non-shitty airline than fly a nonstop on e.g. American.

I keep being tempted to back off slightly and admit that, if the person in front of me doesn't recline I probably won't either (no troublemaker, I), but no! Reklyn4lyfe!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:23 PM
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On a completely different subject, this might be my favorite anti-FDR statement so far. It's like he has his own Austrian school.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:23 PM
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326: I was going to get a snack, but now I'll wait.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:25 PM
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327: This is where I shouldn't admit that I usually fly on American. I'm not far from getting a free flight from the frequent flyer program, but it's taking a few years to build it up. They've quite often been my cheapest option (or within a small percentage of the price of the cheapest) anyway.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:26 PM
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I'm with 323. Most people I know seem willing to pay a premium for non-stop flights, but (depending on length of the flights and of the layover) I sometimes prefer having a stop.

Also, I'll moderate my anti-reclining position for redeyes or flights to Europe. It's OK when everyone's trying to sleep. But during the day? No.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:27 PM
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Without FDR's unprovoked aggression against Poland, WWII would never have happened at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:28 PM
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I picked a one stop flight over a non-stop because 2 to 3 hours is about my limit for sitting in airline seats without really wanting to walk around

This relates to the single greatest advance in transatlantic air travel: the little drink/snack bars airlines have started setting up en route. It's nice to see them actually encouraging people to get up and move around a bit.

The A340 we flew last year was extra-awesome, because it had a small staircase leading down to a set of 5 or 6 restrooms. Going up and down the stairs was even better for stretching.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:29 PM
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All of this is just furthering my desire to one day be able to fly first class somewhere.

(I made it into that mythical land once, when I was a child flying alone and there was extra room in first class and the steward thought they could keep a closer eye on me if I was up front with the one designated first class steward serving 10 people as opposed to the overworked ones in steerage. God, those were the nicest stewards I ever met. They even took me with them into the lounge at the lay over. Too bad all that leg space was wasted on a ten year old).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:31 PM
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We need to put this dispute to the test by chartering a flight for the Unfogged commenters and seeing who survives. It will be like "Soul Plane" only different.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:32 PM
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I always blame WWII on Ethiopia and China. If they hadn't been so darn invadeable, I think the trend toward war would have petered out for lack of interest and Germany would have spent 1939 through 1945 writing conceptual poetry and baking cakes for Ukrainians.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:33 PM
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I gave up on American, despite having status -- executive platinum status! -- with their FF program, because the upgrades were too hard to come by and the conditions in coach were too goddamn awful. I now try to fly Jet Blue or Virgin America (which is surprisingly cheap with much better service, but has a very limited schedule).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:35 PM
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I think airplane seats should slide forward and back like seats in cars. Let those with the strongest thighs win!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:39 PM
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Except once when I was going to Vermont a few years ago, Jet Blue has never been cheap enough to be worth it for me. Virgin America is what I flew when I paid for my bags that time mentioned above. Can't say it was worth it for any reason but the price; it was an overnight flight so the bonuses like the tv screens didn't matter. There was also an odd moment at the start when they moved people from front rows to back rows to even out the weight (or so they said). I've never come across that before.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:42 PM
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339 -- I just like it that VA has OK legroom, a decent music selection and lets you pick the CDs that you want to listen to. And their on-board food for purchase is pretty good. Plus, they summarily execute recliners.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 9:49 PM
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I usually fly on American.

I flew them for years, because they have the only nonstop from Boston to St. Louis. Had frequent flyer miles and somehow built up enough to use them for my Berlin flight last summer. And that was pretty much the last hurrah for me and AA, I think. In the past two years or so their nonstops to St. Louis are way too much more expensive to justify the convenience (usually > $150 more than switching at ORD). And the way they've kept shaving away at their frequent flyer program, I'll never get full mileage credit for a flight ever again.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:17 PM
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I'm surprised we're this far into the the recline/no-recline discussion without the suggestion that one turn around and inquire about reclining.

My standard bit is something like, "Hi, I'm Stanley. Nice to meet you. [small talk] Anyhow, so I'd kind of like to recline but recognize that might make things uncomfortable for you. So, really, I'm okay either way, but I wanted to see if you'd see it as an inconvenience if I did recline, because if you do, I'm totally okay with not doing so. What do you think?"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 10:46 PM
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I should add that the probability I'll be unable to sleep in any moving vehicle approaches one, and that my conversation with the posterior passenger would surely highlight the fact that I'd get a bit more comfort out of reclining while reading but that it's really, really, really not a big deal not to.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:16 PM
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Further to 326: this thread takes a real wrong turn shortly after the Gimli Glider story.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-11-09 11:30 PM
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There's a good shot you'll be making the person behind you miserable, but if that doesn't bother you, it's not your problem.

I see it more as, 'if making the person behind you miserable doesn't bother you, you're a dick'.

The space of actions permitted by the laws of physics and the legal system of wherever you happen to be is much larger than the space of actions you _ought_ to take, because they inconvenience or discomfort other people. That's what politeness and consideration for others is _for_. It's how we get along in crowded or uncomfortable spaces without killing each other.

342 is fair enough. I'd also be inclined to cut people a lot more slack if it was a late night or over-night flight where everyone can reasonably be expected to be trying to catch some sleep.

The person who leaves me squashed into a tiny bit of space because they want to increase their bit of space, on a 2 hour mid-day flight? Fuck 'em. They are selfish pricks. I can't even really believe it's something people want to debate. It's as transparent a case of selfishness as I can think of.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:09 AM
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nattarGcm 1 :: 0 Recliners

The world is full of stuff you can legally do, but it's still rude to.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:23 AM
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Still, reclining on a red eye means that you've now forced the person behind you scrunch backwards and try to sleep, whether or not they want to

Reductio ad absurdum achieved! Trying to claim that your convenience trumps the desire of people to sleep on a night flight, is the exact equivalent of firing rockets while sheltering behind civilians.

It so happens (as all the tall people on this thread seem to realise) that sitting bolt upright for two hours is bloody uncomfortable too. That's why the airlines invented this thing called "reclining seats". Try them, they recline, it's great. If the person in front of you reclines, take it as a handy reminder that you ought to freaking recline already, not sit there seething with queeny rage. If you want to type on a laptop computer, then that's unfortunate, but they're called "aeroplanes" not "mobile Regus offices", and you can't use your laptop as the equivalent of a Gazan schoolyard to make someone else sit upright.

In related news, the bartender simply cares about serving the most number of drinks per minute possible, not on respecting someone's hypothetical mental list of the order in which people arrived at the bar. Except in cases of egregious injustice, you simply don't have the right to be served ahead of someone who arrived after you but who is more conveniently located, or who has their act together better.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:26 AM
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In related news, the bartender simply cares about serving the most number of drinks per minute possible, not on respecting someone's hypothetical mental list of the order in which people arrived at the bar. Except in cases of egregious injustice, you simply don't have the right to be served ahead of someone who arrived after you but who is more conveniently located, or who has their act together better.

Yeah, up to a point. But it's all a matter of degree. If you are in a crowded bar and have good bar-fu -- which I do -- then that's one thing. Aggressively pushing in front of someone is a different thing. And sometimes the nice thing to do -- when your superior bar-fu attracts the attention of the bar-person -- is to point out that the person next to you was first.

It all depends. The norms of the place you are in kind of determine that. If you are in some madly crowded club with a scrum ten-deep in front of the bar no-one gives a shit if you try to squeeze in, or if you get served 'out of turn'. All's fair, etc. On the other hand, if there are only 3 people waiting at the bar and you rock up, push in front and get served, then you are being kind of a dick.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:36 AM
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In related news, the bartender simply cares about serving the most number of drinks per minute possible, not on respecting someone's hypothetical mental list of the order in which people arrived at the bar.

Either way, of course, you're right re: bartenders. You can't really expect the bartender to be the one keeping track, especially if a place is busy, and not getting served when you think you ought to doesn't justify being a dick to the bartender.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:41 AM
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The person who leaves me squashed into a tiny bit of space because they want to increase their bit of space, on a 2 hour mid-day flight? Fuck 'em. They are selfish pricks. I can't even really believe it's something people want to debate. It's as transparent a case of selfishness as I can think of.

This argument applies even more strongly to the person who insists the person in front of them remain upright. Reclining the seat costs minimal leg room, a fair bit of top-of-the-laptop-screen room, and a moderate amount of face-room. In exchange, it gives a much more comfortable seating position, which is a clearly worthwhile trade.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:26 AM
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re: 350

Reclining a couple of inches to get a slightly more comfortable back angle is a minor inconvenience to the person behind, reclining the seat all the way, on the other hand, completely removes pretty much all of the upper body room for the person behind. They either have to recline themselves, or suffer in discomfort.

Late night flights, you can see how the norm might be 'everyone reclines'. No harm done. Day-time flights, no. The person whacking their seat all the way back is being a cock. No two ways about it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:39 AM
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350 is exactly right. What we've got here is a limited resource which two groups of people want. The recliners (let's call them "the Israelis", to make things clearer and less emotional) have been given the property right to it, for historical reasons which might or might not be considered just, while the non-recliners (viz, "the Palestinians") think that they are using their de facto legal and physical control in too aggressive a way and without consideration. And thus we can see that ttaM and Rob are simply denying the right of the recliners to exist, practically wanting to push them into the sea. I don't see how that can possibly be helpful on the way to a two-state solution.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:51 AM
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pretty much all the upper body room

All the upper body room? When the person in front of me puts their seat all the way back and mine is all the way forward, I can read fine, have to contort myself a bit to get from the window to the aisle, and can touch their seat with my forehead but can't actually rest my head on it. Reaching shit on the floor is a bit of hassle, but doable. Do airplane seats in Europe recline much further than this, or is it just that what short people call "suffering in discomfort", tall people call "being on an airplane"?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:53 AM
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re: 353

If a seat in front of me is reclined all the way back I'd struggle to be able to read a book. Their head would be pretty close to my chest, and they'd be WAY WAY inside my 'body space'. That is, the space into which intrusion leads to the little lizard brain bit going 'kill kill kill'. Of course, pop-anthropology tells me that, as a Scot, my body space extends a fair way beyond the bounds of my body.*

I am fairly robust of build, mind. I'm not that short, either [or that tall, at 5ft 10-ish].

* wags would tell you it extends about as far as Berwick.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 3:36 AM
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My standard bit is something like, "Hi, I'm Stanley. Nice to meet you. [small talk] Anyhow, so I'd kind of like to recline but recognize that might make things uncomfortable for you. So, really, I'm okay either way, but I wanted to see if you'd see it as an inconvenience if I did recline, because if you do, I'm totally okay with not doing so. What do you think?"

You're a nice, talented person, Stanley, but I think that the Senate Democrats made a big mistake when they chose you to be their chied negotiator.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 3:53 AM
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That is, the space into which intrusion leads to the little lizard brain bit going 'kill kill kill'.

You see? There is no negotiating with these people. Stanley tried offering them everything they wanted, in 2000, and they still walked away.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:03 AM
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The Al-Aeroflot-Ryanair Brigades are mustering to my call, right now.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:05 AM
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William, Duke of Cumberland, was properly sensitive to Scottish concepts of personal space.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:13 AM
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Nobody remembers the Circassian Holocaust.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:14 AM
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Nobody remembers the Circassian Holocaust.

No. They're all dead.

Is it possible that cattle class flights in the US have slightly more room on average than in Europe? Otherwise I can't imagine anyone other than a professional contrarian arguing that sitting behind a reclined seat is tolerable. For comparison, Mrs OFE is 5'11", and usually has her knees wedged hard up against the seat in front while it's upright.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:20 AM
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re: 360.2

Yeah, that might explain it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:21 AM
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Tall people get enough breaks. Screw 'em.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:36 AM
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Do airplane seats in Europe recline much further than this, or is it just that what short people call "suffering in discomfort", tall people call "being on an airplane"?

Nah, the thing is that Europeans, (especially scots; vive les jours (premiers/jeunesse?) des nations mieux?) have standards, whereas Americans will put up with anything (cf. Senate stimulus) if they can be convinced it is democratic/procedural/liberal/don't make me think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:46 AM
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For comparison, Mrs OFE is 5'11", and usually has her knees wedged hard up against the seat in front while it's upright.

This is a result of the sitting position. If you sit up straight, your knees are close to the seat in front. If you recline, your legs straighten and stretch out into the space underneath the seat in front of you. It's almost as if the seats were designed with this in mind.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 4:47 AM
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If you sit up straight, your knees are close to the seat in front. If you recline, your legs straighten and stretch out into the space underneath the seat in front of you. It's almost as if the seats were designed with this in mind.

This is both true and utterly unhelpful; after all, what if one enjoys sitting rigidly upright?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 5:03 AM
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364: If you recline, your legs straighten and stretch out into the space underneath the seat in front of you. It's almost as if the seats were designed with this in mind.

Yes, and per my 228, *not* as a place to store various sundries because most of the wankers on the plane have brought cleverly-sized steamer trunks on board* and filled the overhead bins.

*They only do it because they're savvy, experienced travelers they'll explain.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:12 AM
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your legs straighten and stretch out into the space underneath the seat in front of you.

Cf. the discussion of checked baggage fees above, which these days makes it especially likely that this space will be occupied by your moderately-sized overnight bag so that people who decide to bring 10 days worth of crap in the cabin to save $15 (or half an hour at the baggage claim) can have the bins.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:14 AM
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Proposed new social norm> Recliners on the left, non-recliners on the right. Incentive to reserve and get your seat selection early.

360: Is it possible that cattle class flights in the US have slightly more room on average than in Europe?

I do seem to recall back in the halcyon days of Halford's content that it was planes from European manufacturers that started showing up with reduced seat space. My assumption (but I don't follow this stuff at all) was that new US-manufactured planes moved to these new specs or were retrofitted and that there is no longer a gap.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:23 AM
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366, 367: You say that you often feel invisible, as if you "didn't really exist in the world", what evidence would lead you to this strange conclusion?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:30 AM
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Proposed new social norm> Recliners on the left, non-recliners on the right.

This would unbalance the plane and make it crash.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:35 AM
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This would unbalance the plane and make it crash.
Thereby giving more pilots the opportunity to become heroes by landing in rivers.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:42 AM
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They'd be tilted sideways so they couldn't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:45 AM
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They could just barrel role the sucker.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 6:56 AM
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This site suggests that carriers such as American, United and Delta typically have a seat pitch of 31-32 inches, whereas the kind of bucket shop airline that ttaM or I would usually use to go on holiday come in at 28-30.

I entirely agree that if I normally flew Emirates (pitch 33"), I would be quite happy with the eejit in front reclining. On EasyJet, not so much.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:00 AM
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I enjoy sitting rigidly upright with my legs hiked up under me in a lotus. Airplane design totally cramps my style.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:09 AM
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373: That would be a flight to remember.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:16 AM
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I think 350/351 is the entire debate. Prior to reading this thread, it never even occurred to me that reclining might be rude, because it doesn't bother me in the least when someone reclines in front of me. (So, ttaM, consider that before you go too far with your "transparent a case of selfishness".) Clearly, anyone who is highly inconvenienced by recliners is going to think reclining is a rude activity, and (if decent) generally refrain from doing it himself. Those of us who see it as a marginal inconvenience, at best, clearly outweighed by the extra comfort of a reclined seat, are going to see no problem with it.

The more difficult question, I suppose, is what I should do now, having been made aware of the fact that there is a non-trivial class of hypersensitive persons who feel their personal space is threatened by reclined airline seats? I'm really not sure. I'll probably generally stop reclining, because that's the sort of person I am, but I do at some level feel like this is their problem, not mine.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:48 AM
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Proposed new social norm> Recliners on the left, non-recliners on the right

Well I don't think anyone's going to take this wild, extreme-leftist plan seriously. I would, however, be prepared to concede a settlement where the non-recliners occupied a small block of seats over the starboard wing, and a larger, noncontiguous block of seats right at the back. As long as the recliners had preferential access to the drinks trolley and were the only ones allowed to walk up and down the aisle. That sounds fairer.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:48 AM
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You realize that confining the non-recliners like that can only lead to additional conflict. Otherwise reasonable people might be driven to spill drinks on the recliners. Sure, they'll be banned from future flights, but their non-reclining brethren will thank them for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:51 AM
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I would prevent this from happening by a) installing a barrier and b) not allowing anyone to call it "a barrier".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:52 AM
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Are people being obtuse or what?

If there are two people, neither reclining, they both have $foo space. If one reclines but the other doesn't, then one has $foo + $bar space and the other has $foo - $bar space.

It's a simple coordination problem. Either everyone reclines -- when it all evens out -- or no-one does -- also evens out. If it's night time and there's a reasonable presumption that everyone is going to recline, then rock on. If it's daytime and people are going to want to eat, read books, and so on, and if the seat pitch is such that reclining is going to be intrusive or awkward. Don't. If you do so, you're being a selfish shite, and don't whine about it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:54 AM
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380: Can't see any reasons why that wouldn't work. Boy, if there were only other, more important problems out there that could be solved this simply.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 7:56 AM
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re: 380

We are back to the recliners == Israeli, non-recliners == Palestinian, again, aren't we?

Or, if we don't want to make it as offensive an analogy, we can refer to one as the Boers, and the other as the swart, or something.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:01 AM
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if we don't want to make it as offensive an analogy,

What about the conversation would suggest that this was the case?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:04 AM
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re: 384

?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:05 AM
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re: 384

I'm running with the joke in 352, btw.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:05 AM
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Circassians and Cossacks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:06 AM
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386: I was trying to as well, just noting that the point of the Palestinian/Israeli analogy was specifically to be offensive. Or at least that's how I understood it.

Anyway, so long as the recliners are warmly covered by smallpox infested blankets, I don't mind what they do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:09 AM
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re: 388

Yeah, and the point of the boer/swart analogy was to ramp up the offense!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:12 AM
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388: I'm old enough that I've had the shot for that.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:13 AM
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390: Me too. I'll be all up in your lap next flight, LB.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:14 AM
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I'm basically 10, so I'll prop my knees up against the seat ahead of me as soon as practical to prevent any reclining (on the theory that recliners usually do it ASAP).

When I'm not pregnant, I kick off my shoes and wedge my feet on the very back of the armrests of the seat in front of me, and especially IF I CAN RECLINE I'm quite comfortable. And it doesn't interfere with their reclining, although once in a while someone reaches back for something and brushes my toes, and it startles them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:15 AM
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Heebie seems a bit pervy at times.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:20 AM
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If I were in front, I would so tickle them.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:31 AM
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391, 394: This is starting to sound as if the flight has bigger problems with maintaining order than simply disagreements over reclining.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:35 AM
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I am not reading this thread, but if you guys are still going on about airplane seats, two words: Exit row.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:45 AM
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When I'm not pregnant, I kick off my shoes and wedge my feet on the very back of the armrests of the seat in front of me, and especially IF I CAN RECLINE I'm quite comfortable.

And ideally situated for your GYN exam!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:49 AM
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I keep my knees together, like a prude. And usually both feet are layered on the same armrest, anyway. Thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:51 AM
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398: I don't remember you being much shorter than I am. But I think I'd have to snap a femur to get into that position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 8:58 AM
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And ideally situated for your GYN exam!

New from Delta! For the busy professional woman always on the go!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:00 AM
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two words: Exit row.

So unfair that you have to be 18. Rory get *so* mad when I don't sit with her.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:03 AM
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I don't remember you being much shorter than I am

I'm about 5'4". AND AN EIGHTH!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:05 AM
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Huh. Three inches. On the other hand, I'm the very reverse of limber, so that may be the problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:07 AM
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I was wearing big red cowboy boots with a small heel. Maybe I seemed taller.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:12 AM
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More intimidating, but not taller.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:15 AM
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I'm 5'8" and I curl up in the seats exactly the way Heebie describes. I wouldn't say that I get comfortable, but if you cycle through various uncomfortable poses, the trip goes marginally better.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:15 AM
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403: Writing "REBMIL" in lipstick on the mirror can be part of your future hooker routine.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:16 AM
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if you guys are still going on about airplane seats, two words: Exit row.

Ha! Would that it were so simple. More than two words: Can't reserve them in advance; have to hope you get to the airport* early enough to claim one; have to realize that all exit row seats are not created equal.

*Or, on Southwest, check in online as A1 or A2 so that you can grab one of the two seats that has extra legroom.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:34 AM
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Maybe this has been mentioned above, but "unsullied" should now mean "never been tested and performed amazingly well."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 9:48 AM
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I kick off my shoes and wedge my feet on the very back of the armrests of the seat in front of me

This is how I generally sit at my desk. (With "a drawer of my desk" replacing "the armrests of the seat in front of me".)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 10:05 AM
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Peoples, peoples. The number of unhelpful assumptions in this thread is absurd.

Airlines, airplanes, and seats on a single airplane can be quite different from one another. People come not only in different lengths, but also in different proportions. (I'm 6' and have a 36" inseam. I fit into a seat differently than someone who is 6' and has stubby little legs.) People's limberosity, soundness of their lower back, and all sorts of other things affect how they're able to sit. Whether it's a crowded flight full of assholes who take all the bin space matters, as does whether you're in a middle seat. Acceptable behavior on a 30-minute hop, an overnight flight, and a 3-hour daytime flight are different.

Thus, Halford is mostly right and Stanley is exactly right. I deviate from Halford in that reclining can be ok if the seat behind you is occupied by a small child, a sleeping person, or some jackass who's blathering on about "value chains"'; ask very sincerely if it's ok and give the person an easy way to say "no"; are on a short, uncrowded flight; or are on a red eye. (Halford is on board -- ha ha -- with this last point.)

"If the airline permits the seats to recline it must be ok to do it even if it's uncomfortable for someone else"?! Sifu, et al., the Bush years are over.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 10:19 AM
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I don't think more space between seats is an option, given what people are willing to pay. So, here's my proposal. Make seat that recline by sliding the bottom part of the seat forward (i.e. the part your butt is on) instead of the top part back.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 10:53 AM
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I don't see how its obviously a dick move to recline, because even thinking about it now, i don't see how it would be much of a problem. especially since no seat reclines more than about 2 degrees at most. all it does is take up some of the gap between the tray and stomach, which i don't use. if someone told me that "hey, could you not recline, it keeps me from moving at all" i would probably guess he's just dicking around, and would laugh.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 11:20 AM
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Where the fuck is Labs, anyway? I thought we paid the philosophers to answer questions like this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 11:30 AM
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414: Tall too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 11:36 AM
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Never pay a philospher or you'll never get rid of them.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 11:36 AM
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416: True. But heebie has trained her philosophers to sit for a count of ten before she pays them.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 11:46 AM
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399, 406: I'm about 5'10" and I curl up in a similar position. For sleeping flights, when stuck in economy class I sometimes curl up in the fetal position in my seat so long as I can jam my feet somewhere where they won't stray into the aisle or the seat next to me (it's easier in the window seat). Then I can use my knees as a pillowrest!

It helps that I have narrower hips than most housecats.

408: Booking rights on exit rows is one of the greatest benefits of frequent flier status, especially now that airlines are trimming their business class and coming down hard on upgrades. That big expanse saved my ass on so many of the flights back and forth to college.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:12 PM
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When I'm not pregnant, I kick off my shoes and wedge my feet on the very back of the armrests of the seat in front of me, and especially IF I CAN RECLINE I'm quite comfortable. And it doesn't interfere with their reclining, although once in a while someone reaches back for something and brushes my toes, and it startles them.

Yeah, see, this would enrage me if someone did it behind me. Feet belong on the floor (or as close as they can get, if you choose to cross your legs), NOT ON MY ARMREST.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:23 PM
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419: You would never notice. They stick way far back. You couldn't possibly get your elbow anyway near where my toesies are.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:30 PM
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someone reaches back for something and brushes my toes

That seems nice of them, but exactly how much hair is on your toes, heebie?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:35 PM
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No, brushes my toes. They're very long and get snarled.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:39 PM
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420 (duuuuuuuuuuude): I'm not sure how you reconcile that with people brushing your toes. And it'd enrage me if I happened to get up to go to the bathroom and saw you doing it. Like I said, feet belong on the floor.

I also have issues with people who wander around the office in their socks.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:39 PM
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Well, you might be enraged on your trip to the bathroom. That can't be helped. You might also be enraged that I'm currently de-shoed, here at my desk. LIVE FREE, TOES!

But the armrest passes between the two seats, but your fingers rarely do, and neither do my feet.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:42 PM
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1) I gathered some empirical, historical data on this topic by watching Airplane! last night on HBO. The 1970s era coach seats displayed in the film easily had room to comfortably recline without imposing any burden. Indeed, it would be impossible to shoot the movie in the same way today, due to reduced spacing between seats. How far we have fallen.

2) The relevant choice for you, the airline passenger, is generally made without information -- it MAY be the case that reclining the seat won't be a problem for the person behind you, but it is ALWAYS the case that the person behind you will be happier if you don't recline. If there's one thing this thread has taught us, it is that even height itself is not a good proxy for figuring out whether the person behind you wants you to recline -- due to the surprising beliefs of some of the self-hating tall, and the heartening solidarity of the claustrophobic short. Unless you are willing to grant tremendous ethical weight to your own right to recline, or to discount the pain of the anti-recliners completely, isn't it the case that it is better not to recline, or at least less selfish to do so -- and are the benefits of the recline really worth it?

The Stanley approach of asking, while admirable, also has its problems -- how do you know if the person sitting behind you isn't being overly polite by accomodating YOU? Thus, the default rule of not reclining. I admit that reclining is acceptable in some circumstances -- the recline in front of you has made it impossible to move without reclining, the red eye flight where everyone is reclining and asleep -- but I choose not to, because I am commmitted to being the change I want to see in the world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:44 PM
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422: You should consider braiding them. Either that or dreadlocks.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:45 PM
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the claustrophobic short.

One of the less hotly contested Oscar categories.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:46 PM
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Well, you might be enraged on your trip to the bathroom. That can't be helped.

Yes it can: you can KEEP YOUR DAMN FEET ON THE FLOOR. Simple problem, simple solution.

You might also be enraged that I'm currently de-shoed, here at my desk. LIVE FREE, TOES!

Sitting shoeless at your desk: just fine. Getting up and wandering around shoeless: NOT OKAY.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:48 PM
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425: but it is ALWAYS the case that the person behind you will be happier if you don't recline.

Assumes facts not in evidence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:50 PM
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I gathered some empirical, historical data on this topic by watching Airplane! last night on HBO.

Occasionally, Hollywood takes unrealistic liberties like giving Rachel and Monica a gigantic two bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Also I don't think Mrs. Cleaver actually speaks jive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:50 PM
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Also, I stopped taking off my shoes once I learned how rarely the airlines wash their floors or clean their carpets. Talk to a flight attendant on this issue.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:50 PM
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ShorterHeavier, more metallic 425:

You think I'll sit around as your seat reclines
You're thinkin' like a fool cause it's a case of rude or right
Out there is some legroom waitin' to be had
You think I'll let it go, you're mad
You've got another thing comin'.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:52 PM
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The Stanley approach of asking, while admirable, also has its problems -- how do you know if the person sitting behind you isn't being overly polite by accomodating YOU?

People have an obligation to provide the answer they want you to have. I'm not going to overthink whether the other person is out-nicing me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:52 PM
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434

I also have issues with people who wander around the office in their socks.

You'd hate working with me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:54 PM
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Sitting shoeless at your desk: just fine. Getting up and wandering around shoeless: NOT OKAY.

Josh longs for the days of "the uniform".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:54 PM
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Also, I stopped taking off my shoes once I learned how rarely the airlines wash their floors or clean their carpets. Talk to a flight attendant on this issue.

Can't be worse than walking around outside, right? The flight attendants never clean the grass and dirt in the park behind my house, and dogs poop there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:57 PM
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434: You'd hate working with me and I wander around the office in my socks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:57 PM
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Though I do fold my pants and place them neatly on my desk before wandering around the office.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 12:58 PM
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438: Porky pigging it is fine, as long as one follows such basic rules of decorum.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:02 PM
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436: I hate that. It's so hard to get dog poop out of socks.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:04 PM
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The park is outdoors and gets all the benefits of organic processing, fresh air, the circle of life, so on and so forth. The airplane carpet is in an essentially airtight environment that is cleaned +/- every six months, and includes, inter alia, food spilled, air sickness, used diapers, trash left over, etc. I'm pretty far from a germophobe, but after a conversation with a flight attendant on this issue I've kept my shoes firmly on my feet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:05 PM
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441: All the more germs for the rest of us!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:07 PM
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441: Is there a difference between the germs involved in the cycle of life outdoors, and the germs involved in the dropped food and sloughed off skin cells mashed in the carpet on the plane? Embrace your inner compost heap, Robert.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:14 PM
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According flight attendants that I've talked to, you do have an absolute right to recline your seat as much as you want, and you have an equal right to jam your knees into the seat in front of you. However, if you object to knees in your kidneys, you do not have the right to punch the guy sitting behind you.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:15 PM
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OK, this is where I have to admit that I have no idea at all what would or could actually happen from sticking my bare feet on the gross airline carpet. Not Ebola, I guess. But --- doesn't the carpet just sound bad? And the flight attendants never take off their shoes! To be honest, I'm a bit confused about the whole problem with germs, although I'd never eat moldy cottage cheese.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:20 PM
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Doesn't the subject of this thread offer a solution to the original question - Sully, hero or not? All we need to know is if he reclined.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:22 PM
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445: Do you have kids, Halford? After three of them, I am more or less incapable of being grossed out any longer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:25 PM
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And the flight attendants never take off their shoes!

They're not allowed to, I'd wager.

Also, my socks are a much sturdier barrier to germs than hose!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:28 PM
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I would be incredibly annoyed by someone putting their foot on my armrest. Much, much more annoying than reclining a seat the whopping 2.3 inches or whatever the maximum reclining capability is.

It's happened at movie theaters, and I had to move to a different seat.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:30 PM
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Just one. Who, thinking about it, I recently let play on an airline floor. But I think she's made of tougher stuff than I am.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:30 PM
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It's happened at movie theaters, and I had to move to a different seat.

So you could get a better angle for brushing heebie's toes?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:34 PM
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I also have issues with people who wander around the office in their socks.

Add to that people who wander around the office in their socks, sit down in your office, and put their stockinged feet up on your desk.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:47 PM
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Movie theater seats are much thinner than airplane seats. And they're further apart, so people can wedge their feet further forward. The two situations have crucial differences.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:49 PM
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Add to that people who wander around the office in their socks, sit down in your office, and put their stockinged feet up on your desk.

See, the one benefit I found to working in the legal profession was that most lawyers were too image-conscious to do shit like that. It's unfortunate to hear that they've taken the wrong message from the push towards business casual.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:51 PM
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452: Add to that people who wander around the office in their socks naked, sit down in your office, and put their stockinged feet up rub their genitals on your desk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:52 PM
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Some people pay good money for that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 1:57 PM
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I have issues with people who wander around the office in only their socks, I must admit.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:06 PM
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What if it's one big sock, like a sleeping bag, and they're hopping around? That would preserve the hiddenness of their private parts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:08 PM
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I have issues with people who wander around the office in only their socks, I must admit

Naked except for their socks? Like a Seventies porno?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:08 PM
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458: No, I meant that I think it's better for co-workers to wear each others' socks. People who wear only their own socks bring down team spirit.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:09 PM
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What if they're only one foot tall and shaped like a glowworm, and a sock is their professional attire?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:09 PM
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462

I'll give you a sock!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:11 PM
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M/tch is a lobbyist for the athlete's foot powder lobby. How much is Tinactin paying you?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:12 PM
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Sometimes a sock can be proper attire.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:15 PM
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462: Why thank you! I'll write you a thank you card.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:16 PM
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I was hoping you'd offer something in barter for it, like maybe a nice knuckle sandwich? Or punch?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:19 PM
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I figured 464 would be going here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:20 PM
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462: How about a Hawaiian sock!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:21 PM
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Although what I'm really jonesing for is a Hertz Donut.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:21 PM
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467: I had the exact same thought.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:23 PM
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469: All I've got is some gum to offer you. Want some? It's ABC gum.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:29 PM
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468: hmm, a remember personal info lapse.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-12-09 2:38 PM
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