IN THE WAITING AREA
Low Road: Cluster around the gate. Put your briefcase on the chair next to you so nobody can sit there. Talk loudly on your Bluetooth and gesture wildly.
High Road: Make sure other travelers know that the seat next to you is available. If someone elderly or pregnant walks up, offer your seat. You might also find a nearby gate that's empty and sit there (while keeping track of time).
Low Road: Argue with them. Be demanding. They don't have anything to do but focus on your needs, right?
High Road: Develop empathy. Smile as you board. Say hello to them by name. Have eye contact, thank them when they serve you a beverage.
Low Road: Put your carry-on bag in the first available bin toward the front, so you can jump up, grab it and exit quickly.
High Road: Put your carry-on above your own seat or, better, under your seat.
Low Road: Aim your vent at the head of the person who is leaning into your lap.
High Road: Before you lean back, look behind you and ask eye-to-eye, "It is OK if I lean back just a little?"
TRAVELERS WITH KIDS
Low Road: Avoid eye contact with a harried parent assigned to a different row than his or her minor child. Is it your fault these leisure-travel losers were forced to take middle seats in separate rows?
High Road: Get over yourself! Be a mensch for three hours and give up your choice aisle or window seat. You'll be richly rewarded in heaven and, if not, you'll be richly rewarded by not having to sit next to the kid.
Low Road: Drink lots of water (it's good for you when you're flying) and get out of your seat at least three times to use the bathroom.
High Road: Know that you drink a lot of water when flying and reserve an aisle seat.
Low Road: Create a trap for people seated in the middle and window seats. Bring on steaming coffee and footlong sub with chips. Spread out the food, paperwork and laptop on tray table, extend leg into aisle.
High Road: Adapt gracefully to your temporary environment. Discard food trash quickly. Work if you must, but don't forget to acknowledge your neighbors with a smile or small talk so they'll feel more comfortable asking to get past you to the restroom.
Low Road: Pick up something in the airport food court that is really stinky. Spicy Italian is good, or onion rings, or maybe something with blue cheese.
High Road: Eat before the flight or pack healthful, smell-free snacks. Consider sharing with your famished seatmates.