I lost my United status last year, and I don’t mind losing the extra legroom in economy plus but I do miss being surrounded by road worn travelers, people who generally adhere to a certain, unspoken travel code.
Always wear deodorant. Smile at your seat mate but don’t try to strike up a conversation- respect their cocoon of a sleep mask, neck pillow, and blanket. Or headphones. Or laptop.
Never take the armrest. Assume the armrest is a mutually off limits zone. Similarly, keep you legs and feet within the confines boundaries by the interior edge of the armrest. Overhead space is for luggage only- don’t take up a half a bin with your coat bag.
Move briskly when exiting the aircraft. Don’t hold up people behind you, assume that at least a few of them are trying to make a quick connection.
Regular economy- the kind thing to say is that they may not travel enough to be familiar with these principles. Or maybe that’s patronizing. Or elitist.
The reality is when my nostrils are under siege from body odor, my space restricted by an elbow placed beyond the arm rest, and my sensibilities impugned by someone who won’t give up an attempt at a conversation, I don’t care whether it’s kind or patronizing. I miss my economy plus comrades-in-silence.