Travel Tip: Be courteous to the person in front of you when using personal inflight video screens

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In my last post, I wrote about Virgin America’s clever new ad campaign calling out boring airlines. Their aircraft feature personal video screens that give access to Dish Network, as well as a variety of on-demand entertainment options.

Having entertainment options like these is great, except for one small issue: The need to touch the screen has the potential to negatively impact the person sitting in the seat the screen is attached to.

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This past weekend, I flew from San Francisco to Portland on Virgin America. While everything else on the flight was great, the guy behind me could not operate his touchscreen video monitor without stabbing at it violently. Naturally, this shook my seat every time he did it, which was frequently, since he couldn’t decide what he wanted to watch.

While sometimes a screen might need some extra pressure for your touch to register, the vast majority of time, a simple light tap will do. In the case of Virgin America and many other airlines, they also offer a remote control that allows you to complete most actions without touching the monitor at all. This is useful if the screen isn’t working well.

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So there’s your travel tip for today: Be courteous to the person on the other side of the seat in front of you, and don’t go stabbing at the screen with your fingers like you’re trying to poke the eyes out of the people in the show you’re watching.

This isn’t the biggest issue in the world, but it’s certainly avoidable if everyone considered that there’s a person on the other side of that seat. This goes for more than just operating your personal video screen. Think about it when you’re using your tray table or seat pocket as well. And in the reverse direction, be considerate when reclining your seat back. Flying can suck, but if we all treat each other with respect, it can be a bit better.

Update: 4/14/15 – Andy’s Travel Blog feels the same way I do, and created this funny little video about it.

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