Travel etiquette tip: Don’t put your bag on a chair

On the way home a few weeks ago, the Home Warrior and I got to the airport much earlier than I anticipated. This gave us time to go sit down at a restaurant and enjoy a meal (although I had to watch Peyton Manning let my fantasy football team down by losing in OT to the Seahawks. Boo.). When we got to the gate I noticed several people had stuff in the chair next to them, unnecessarily taking up a seat that others could use. One couple sitting next to each other had their bags in seats on either side of them, and another person was actually taking up three chairs all by herself, one chair for her bag, one for her, and one for her food. Fully half of the seats in the boarding area were being taken up by things that were not people. Out of all of the people with bags on chairs, I only saw guy saving a seat for his traveling companion. This I totally get. But the rest of them? Yeah, it’s nicer to not have rub elbows with a stranger, but it’s also rude to make someone else stand because your bag needs a chair to itself.

I don’t mind standing, especially when I’m about to be sitting on a flight for three hours, but after being in Vegas for five days the Home Warrior and I both wanted to sit. Interestingly enough, this was just mentioned as a pet peeve in a CNN article about rude things travelers do in airports, so it’s clearly not just me! So people, if you’re sitting at the gate please don’t take up a seat with your bag. Your bag doesn’t need to rest, but other travelers do.

Readers, do you put your bag on the seat next to you?

Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!

1 shop 1


Have a travel question or suggestion? Send it to RoadWarriorette @

Follow Road Warriorette on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest!

This post may include affiliate links. Thanks for your support!


  1. Guilty. I’m a total seat hog, and usually turn the seat next to me into a little workstation/food tray. I only do this when there’s plenty of open seating though! Hopefully sharing my mini surge protector evens out my karma.

  2. Ditto what everyone else has said: I frequently use the chairs around me for my stuff if they are empty. If I happen to notice the boarding area getting crowded, I’ll move my stuff, but honestly it usually takes someone approaching me – and I don’t mind that at all. As Tricia noted, in the reverse situation, I have no problem asking “is someone sitting in that seat?” or “may I use that seat?” There are a lot of people who PREFER to stand (since they will be sitting on the plane) so I don’t automatically assume that people standing means they want the seat that my stuff is on, unless they are eyeing it.

  3. Guilty. I do this on rare occasion but…. only when the gate seating is fairly empty. As soon as it fills up I usually get up and offer even the seat I’m sitting in to others. So I guess I’m not one of the bad people. I fly out of MCI too much to let cramped gates bother me I guess 🙂

  4. This happens on commuter buses and trains too. Once I stood at the front of my bus and asked, would someone volunteer to move their bag so I can have a seat? I think it is extremely inconsiderate to force the other person to ask you to move your things. Some people are not nice about moving their things, and the standing person has to pick someone at random and hope they are not going to be nasty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.