Completed Crossword Puzzles in In-Flight Magazines? Blame Me, Dan

“W hat is the proper etiquette if you complete some or all of the puzzles in an inflight magazine? Should you leave it on the seat when you leave, in the hopes that the flight attendant will replace it with a “fresh” one? Maybe open it to the completed puzzle pages? Is this worth a mention to a flight attendant? Or are they so busy turning around that nobody is going to bother with that?”

Dan Miller of Points With A Crew asked those questions in this article where he imparts his experience of wanting to pass the time by completing a crossword puzzle during a short flight; but the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine was already completed by someone else — and the crossword puzzles in other copies of the same in-flight magazine were also completed as well.

Completed Crossword Puzzles in In-Flight Magazines? Blame Me, Dan

I am constantly doing word puzzles and games of some type — both because they keep my brain working sharp and because I simply enjoy doing them.

With regard to crossword puzzles printed in a copy of an in-flight magazine, I always use a pen to attempt to solve the clues. I do wish I could get myself to the point where I can complete one within my brain and without using a writing instrument — I can already do that with puzzles such as the daily and Sunday Jumble; and usually within minutes — but until then, the pen will suffice.

Am I exhibiting improper etiquette? I really never thought about it…

…but I must say that I usually have no problem securing an in-flight magazine with a crossword puzzle which has yet to be partially or fully completed; but if I have any issues, I usually ask a member of the flight crew, who is usually more than happy to fulfill my simple request.

Your best chance of securing an in-flight magazine with a blank crossword puzzle is towards the beginning of the month, when all of the copies of the previous issue have been removed and replaced with the latest issue. The difficulty increases towards the end of the month, when there is more of a chance that the crossword puzzle will have already been completed inside of a ratty stained and torn dog-eared copy of the in-flight magazine.


“Tragically, the puzzles in the other magazines in my row were ALSO completed.” Please allow me to impart a bit of constructive advice, Dan: try not to engage in hyperbole. A crossword puzzle which has already been completed by someone else is never a tragedy. Rather, it is a minor inconvenience at most.

In this day of in-flight entertainment and portable electronic devices which would put any computer from 20 years ago to shame, there are more than enough games, music and other options to keep passengers busy and while away the time during a flight.

I asked earlier in this article if I exhibit improper etiquette by completing crossword puzzles with an indelible pen. The answer is typically no because I usually take that copy of the in-flight magazine with me, as is encouraged by the airline. What is supposed to happen — but does not always happen — is that the copy of the in-flight magazine aboard the airplane is replaced between flights if one is missing from the seat pocket.

When I am finished with the copy of the in-flight magazine, it is disposed to be recycled.

Of course, another answer is that if completing crossword puzzles is paramount to an enjoyable flight experience, there are always publications which can be purchased which are filled with crossword puzzles awaiting to be completed…

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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