Etiquette Tip: Watch your backpack!!

Last week I flew to Nashville, but because of flight schedule changes I didn’t fly direct—I flew through Dallas. I swear, in the first twenty minutes of being on that plane I saw some very interesting things (that I will be writing about over the next few weeks).  But after the twenty minutes was up I started feeling tired and closed my eyes for a minute. I was just getting relaxed when I literally had a rude awakening and was knocked in the head by a backpack. Not kidding—I had a red mark for several hours, it was so hard. Apparently a lady was walking down the aisle with the backpack on her back, and turned to talk to her husband. The worst part is that the lady didn’t even notice she had whacked me.

Remember a few years ago when I reminded you to watch your shoulder bags while going down the aisle? Watch your backpacks too!!!!! For those of you who regularly use backpacks during travel, please make sure you are aware of how much space you take up behind you. Especially in tight spaces like bus or airplane aisles. I’m sure I have been guilty not paying attention before, but I never will again. The best way to make sure you don’t hit someone is to take your backpack off of your back and carry it. (Pictured: The very functional High Sierra Loop backpack, available on Amazon.)

Readers, have you ever had an unfortunate run-in with someone’s bag?

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  1. i frequently travel with large backpacks as i try and cram in all my laptop/ipad/mp3 player/camera/6 lenses/chargers etc. into my carry on! and yes, it does poke out of my personal space so i am very conscious – especially on those narrow airplane aisles – of where and how i move with the lump on my back. sadly i have bumped people once or twice – usually when removing it for stowage, so your tip is a good reminder to remove it before stepping on the plane 😉

    quick question – i am travelling US domestic for the first time in a while and i’m concerned that this large bag might be *too* large for some flight crews comfort.

    i’m flying delta on a320 and the embraer rj190 which i’m told have larger compartments than the md80s but i’m still worried they’ll ask me to check it (which might result in breakage). any advice on how to handle this?

  2. When I fly with a shoulder bag or backpack I simply take it off and hold it in front of me or tight against my side, under my arm, while walking down the aisle. More control of it and much easier to see what it might bump into. I’ve been hit hard several times by unaware flyers.

  3. I travel with a backpack too and I always take it off my shoulder before even getting on the plane out of fear of hitting someone. People who don’t are ride or just don’t care about those around them.

  4. This should be a general “watch your bags.” I have exactly once been hit by a backpack, but I have my feet rolled over by a clueless idiot with a rollaboard at least once a month, generally when they decide to backup on the jetway without looking to see if anyone is behind them.

  5. @Miriam I totally agree. However, from what I’ve seen on trips people forget about how backpacks impact others–maybe because they can’t see the effects? But I’m happy to do an etiquette post on rollaboards on jetbridges as well 🙂

  6. I have often been slammed by someone’s accoutrements in close quarters. I find a loud “ouch” to be particularly effective in drawing their attention to their cluelessness.

  7. I have been hit by a packpack on numerous occasions. People just don’t realize that when the turn they will hit someone. I have learned to watch for them if I’m on the aisle.

  8. I hate the damn things, having been hit with in the head (no apology offered by the clueless owner) them more times than I care to remember. People should take them off when boarding and frankly they should be checked. I stay well away from anyone with a backpack.

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