Etiquette, manners, common courtesy. Sometimes it feels like these concepts fly right out the window (pun intended) when I walk into an airport. For anyone like me who flies more than they'd like to admit or can't count how many planes they've been on in the last 6 months, you know exactly what I mean. It’s 2018 and people still don’t know how to act on planes…so let's get right into it!
10 Plane Etiquette Tips to Help You be the Classiest Flyer
Before you depart for the airport, take a shower. This might sound basic, but the amount of times I’ve sat next to someone who’s bodily odor forced me awake (or made me wish I could put myself to sleep) is SHOCKING.
Once you’ve made sure your aroma is pleasant, the rest is pretty basic: wash you hands when you frequent the restroom, cover your mouth when you sneeze / cough, and if you are sick PLEASE limit the amount of communal surfaces you touch.
Roller-board, duffel bag, purse, briefcase. More often then not we are all bringing something on board. When you do, it is important that you make sure you contain your personal items to your personal space. Seeping into the foot space of another passenger is quite rude (especially on long haul / international flights).
Boarding / Deplaning
Sweet boarding and deplaning. The signs that you are off to or have finally arrived at your destination. However, these can be some of the most stressful parts of the flying process. So here are a variety of tips to keep this process smooth and efficient:
- Make sure your overhead bag fits in the allotted space prior to getting on the plane
- Walk quickly and with purpose to your seat
- If you see some one struggling ask them if you can help them put their bag up / take their bag down (the rest of the passengers are thanking you in their heads)
- If your row is not full yet and you are in the aisle, don’t buckle up just yet
- Do not ask people to switch seats with you unless: you are trying to sit next to a minor / someone requiring assistance or have another valid reason
- When it is time to get off the plane, move with purpose to the door
- If your bag is further behind you on the plane, WAIT until the people between you and the aforementioned bag have deplaned
- Be polite to the flight attendants / pilots as you get on and off. It makes me so sad when people ignore them as they often say “Have a nice day!”
If like me you prefer to sit on the aisle seat, there are a few things to keep in mind…
- When the flight attendant is collecting garbage, it may be uncomfortable for the middle and window seats to reach them. Lend a helping hand
- If someone on the inside of your row needs to get out, don’t get upset just calmly let them out & take this time to stretch you legs / get the blood flowing
- Attempt to keep your long legs out of the aisle at all times
Middle seat is notoriously the WORST. So please be kind to them, they want to be awkwardly close to you just as much as you want them there. A few tips on making the life of middle seat a bit better:
- Give time the inside arm rest. Just do it
- Angle your legs away to give them some space
- When they approach their seat to get in give them a smile. This flight is about to feel a lot longer for them
The seat with often the best view. In my experience people often covet the window seat as the best choice…I’m not sure why. But what I can tell you is that with great power / privileged comes great responsibility. Here is what you should be doing as the window seat:
- Read the room. If every other row has the window down keep the plane cool / dark for sleep, you should put yours down too
- Don’t hog the views. Definable get your in-air pictures, but also give the other people sitting next to you an opportunity to also look outside and see those mountains
- Know yourself. If you like to get up and walk a lot, frequent the restroom, or have a friend across the aisle you want to talk to, window seat may not be the right choice for you
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. If the person next to you has headphones in, is reading a book, eyes are shut or otherwise engage. Do not talk to them unsolicited. While you’re at it, peeping is never a good idea…just bring your own magazine or movie to watch
We all need food to survive. Food is good! However, when you roam the airport food court try to pick a snack / meal that is not overpowering in aroma. I won’t tell you what not to eat, but I do think it can be frustrating to have someone walk on plane with pungent food smells when there is little to no fresh air circulation.
If your flight is under 8 hours, there are very few reasons you should take your shoes off. If you know you have stinky feet, there are no reasons you should take your shoes off. Period.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. Keep your legs to yourself / keep your legs closed. Yet, for some reason the approx. 5’11” men I sit next to on any given Monday or Thursday think it is perfectly acceptable to have their legs spread as wide as the Nile into my space.
Manspreading is an epidemic that MUST be stopped in all social settings. But for now I will focus on this problem in the plane setting. Things to consider before you manspread:
- I don’t know you like that sir. This might make someone uncomfortable
- Your body heat should not be shared with those around you
- I paid for all this air around my seat. Therefore, I would like to have all of this air around me sans your knees / thighs
If you’re not sure what manspreading is or if you’ve experienced it before, please refer to the lovely visual definition below (sourced from Google via The Guardian).
I promise that if you look around on you next flight someone within eyesight is probably breaking one of these plan etiquette tips. Don’t get me wrong, no one is perfect…BUT I think it’s important to be cognizant and respectful to the people sitting around you.
There a quite a few other tips for stepping up you plane / travel etiquette. If you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments below for a “part 2” or other ideas you’d like to hear about from my perspective as a consultant.
In the meantime, I (and every other traveler) thank you for implementing your choice of the tips above. It truly improves the flight experience. Till next time!!