Sometimes while traveling we get so focused and in the zone that we forget we are not the only passengers on the plane. Still, recognizing how to coexist in a metal tube very closely with 150 strangers can make for a better flight for everyone. Here are some of my favorite etiquette tips for air travel.
- When you are standing up to go somewhere, please don’t grab the seat in front of you for balance. Most people, it seems, simply don’t think about this. Every time you touch the seat in front of you, the person sitting there can feel it. Grab your own seat if you need help!
- Let the middle seat have the armrests. You may be tall, have long arms, need a lot of space…. It doesn’t matter. The person in the middle has less space than you, and it makes their flight better if they get the armrest too.
- Respect the crew. If the flight attendant tells you to turn off your cell phone, do it. If they tell you where to put your bag, put it there. The crew is responsible for the transport and safety of over a hundred people. They are not your personal chef, bartender, or secretary.
- Keep your kids corralled. Whatever it takes to keep your kids happy, be it snacks, juice, music, a coloring book, please do it. Don’t let your child kick the seat in front of them! I know sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if it is constant throughout the flight it can get very uncomfortable for the person in that seat.
- Be mindful of reclining. When I posted about whether or not reclining your seat is rude, the results were definitely mixed. If you need to recline your seat, make sure that you don’t keep it reclined the entire flight, especially during food service.
- Watch your bags when going down the aisle. Make sure you know where your purse or briefcase is. It’s so easy to accidentally hit everyone in an aisle seat by simply not paying attention.
- Don’t shout. The background noise on planes is so loud that it can hinder conversations with people around us. But please, don’t shout. The person next to you may be super interested in what you’re saying, but I bet the guy three rows in front of you is trying to work/rest/read, and isn’t worried about all the details of your daughter’s wedding.
- Know your limits. I have definitely enjoyed a glass of wine or two (especially in first class!) on occasion during a flight. Just remember one drink on a plane is equal to two drinks on the ground. So please, know your limits and don’t get super drunk.
Readers, what are your favorite etiquette tips for passengers on a plane? (And watch for the carry-on etiquette round up next week!)