My Frequent Flyer Day of Atonement

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Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and while I’m not the most observant of all Jews (*cough* bacon/shrimp/cheeseburgers *cough*), I do observe the holiday as a day to atone for all the sins of the last year while I fast for an entire day. Catholics may get more regular absolution with their weekly confessions, but I truly appreciate having an entire day once a year to reflect not just on all the things I need to ask forgiveness for during the previous year, but on the ways in which I want to be a better person in the upcoming year.

In the spirit of Yom Kippur, here are five flying-related things I’m repenting for as we enter the Jewish year 5775.

Please forgive me for:

  • Punishing seat bumpers behind me with a full recline. I don’t normally recline my seat more than a little bit. In fact, I find it uncomfortable to go all the way back. When somebody repeatedly hits my seat or uses the back of my seat to aid them in getting up, I fire back by reclining as far as I can. It’s petty. It’s stupid. It makes me feel better for about two seconds before I realize I’m also punishing myself by being into this position. No more of that.
  • Putting my carry-on bag into the overhead bin sideways. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit the right way and instead of gate-checking it, I use my early boarding privileges to get access to the bins before everyone else and commandeer too much space. Sorry about that, fellow travelers.
  • Giving the silent treatment to seatmates. Ever since I was little, I’ve been reluctant to talk to strangers. I think it’s a tribute to my parents’ Stranger Danger training, but I’m in my 30s now. There’s no reason to ignore people sitting next to me. At the very least, I’ll say hello with a smile.
  • Not always helping people lift their bags into the overhead compartment. If it’s an elderly person, I always help. If it’s a snotty girl who’s talking on her cell phone while trying to lift her way-too-heavy bag, I let her struggle. My feeling has always been that if you can’t lift your own bag, you should check it. That’s very judgmental of me and I’ll try to help everyone who needs help in the future.
  • Pretending the armrest is the DMZ in Korea. I battle for that armrest like it’s a war to be won. When I have control of it, I feel smugly superior. When I lose control, I fume. From now on, I’m just not going to care about it or I’ll share it like a normal person.

Is there anything you’d like to repent for? Consider my comments section your confessional.


  1. Yikes… you atone and then get to do it tomorrow? Be nice to the struggling bag lifters….we really do appreciate folks who help us out…sometimes it’s not a case of the bag being too heavy as much as it’s just awkward 🙂

    • I think you missed the sentence where I wrote “That’s very judgmental of me and I’ll try to help everyone who needs help in the future.”

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