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July 17, 2007


Nina Morzenti

Where is everyone?! Perhaps our non-Fiction readers need to read a few "Gentle Reader" Columns from Miss Manners(Judith Martin) books. Certain that this Column would bring a slew of suggestions, I hesitated in an effort to avoid redundancy. Hopefully my comments will help before your next flight, Suzanne.
First, I'm flabbergasted that these two noses weren't deftly handled by the cabin crew. That's part of their job... at least it was when I was a PanAm Stew. We were the first line of defense against bothersome passengers. After all we had an 8-hr-Plus flight ahead of us. So don't be shy about cornering a cabin attendant in the galley and asking for help. They're trained to do this.
Second, people do things on an airplane that they wouldn't do on the ground. They feel nervous, anxious or excited and revert to subconscious, soothing behaviors. So, don't be shy about drawing it to their attention in a 'here-let-me-help' tone. Practice if it doesn't come naturally. We role-played in training till we rolled over laughing. Ten of my eighteen classmates were Japanese for the Vietnam R&R flights and they had it down pat.
Gently wake the snorer and say with a smile, "MMM,I'd like to be able to sleep like you do, here, try this"...and apply a Breathe-rite strip to her nose... and yours, that you just happen to have in your purse.
As for the Pick-of-the-Litter, empathetically say, "Boy doesn't it bug ya' when there's something in your eye, tooth...or nose and you can't dislodge it? Here take this Handi-wipe/Q-Tip to the Men's Room where the mirror will help you see what you're doing. It'll help." While he's gone, ask the Stew if there's an empty seat elsewhere you can use if he continues.
We must also be aware of "planned distractions" from those with more dangerous intentions. Best to stop minor disturbances before they allow a delayed response to a major one...so engage the cabin attendants. But don't let me scare you:) You paid for as much comfort as the next guy. So pack your Scripts, Strips and Tips and arrive relaxed.

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