Top 6 airport etiquette rules

I often talk about etiquette while flying but today I want to discuss my top etiquette tips for the airport, before you surge protectorever get on a plane.  The airport is a frantic place full of people knowingly and unknowingly making bad decisions.  I see it every time I fly.  Even though airport etiquette tips are easy to follow, the infractions still happen on a regular basis.  So without further ado here are my top airport etiquette tips.

Standing on moving walkway.  Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with standing on the moving walkway. It’s not my favorite thing, but if you really need the rest it’s totally fine. What’s not totally fine is someone standing there who sets their bag down and effectively blocks everyone else from moving past. If you are going to stand or walk slowly, move over to the right (just like while driving) and try to minimize the space you take up so people can easily pass you.

Airport Pickup.  When you are picking someone up from the airport please follow the rules (and, you know, the law) and either circle the airport until your pickup arrives, or wait in a cell phone lot if your airport has one.  It’s so frustrating when I see drivers struggling to get to the people they are picking up because of cars illegally waiting extended periods of time.  I get that it’s not as convenient to circle the airport or wait in a cell phone lot, but that doesn’t mean you should get special treatment over everyone else.

Hogging the outlets.  If you have more than one device you need to charge at airport then do your fellow travelers a favor and use a Mini Travel Surge ProtectorOtherwise don’t use more than one plug at a time.  We all need to charge stuff, so sacrifice one of your devices charge so that someone else can plug in.

Wait your turn to board.  There is a chronic issue that plagues airports. It’s not delayed flights (although it feels like that’s a constant issue too!). It is people airport getting in the boarding line before it’s their turn. It happens all the time and is super annoying to other passengers.  The best thing to do is to wait until your group is called, and stand as close to your assigned space as possible. If someone around you messes up, it’s not that big of a big deal–but try to be correct yourself. The more people boarding at the correct time, the smoother the whole process will go!

Get out of the way once through security.  After you go through the security line, pick up your bins and suitcase and get out of the way.  If everyone got their stuff and moved out of the way, security lines would move much faster!

Watch out for top heavy luggage.  Don’t let go of your top heavy luggage unless it’s flat on the ground.  Try and pack heavier items at the bottom of your suitcase, and before you leave the house stand up your luggage to see if it will tip over.  If it does adjust your items accordingly. Many suitcases have a front pocket for a laptop (like my Victorinox), but definitely test it out before leaving to make sure it doesn’t fall. I still recommend you keep your hands on your luggage or lay it down even if it doesn’t seem to be off balance.  Better to be safe than sorry!

Readers, what etiquette breaches do you see most often at airports?

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


Shop icon

Have a travel question or suggestion? Send it to RW

Follow Road Warriorette on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest!

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


  1. […] One of the most annoying things people can do at airports is to stand on the moving walkway. It can make it harder to get to your gate when people stand in clumps on these human-sized conveyer belts, especially when they settle all their bags down, blocking those who want to continue walking, noted a recent article at BoardingArea. […]


  1. Riding up and escalator and when they get to the top they stop. Thinking of ATL.

  2. I think one more, really important to be added:

    Get ready to go through the security line.

    I have been many times standing behind people, not ready to go through the security, then once to their turn: takes 5-10 mins to unload their stuff on the moving belt of the screening, slow down the security line significantly.

  3. Don’t forget the hot new trends in-flight:

    1. Seat belt sign comes on? Time to go to the restrooms!

    2. “Final cabin check- prepare for landing” is now a challenge for all special snowflakes on board to get up, open the bins and rummage through their luggage for like 5 minutes.

  4. When deplaning, stopping at the top of the jetway (or the bottom)and blocking others from passing by. It’s fine to readjust carry-ons — but first, please move out of the way!

  5. As airports get nicer and roomier, the walking in them have gotten worse. When airports consisted of narrow corridors, it created de facto traffic lanes where people walked in straight lines. Now, with the open-layouts and distractions scattered throughout, people just meander aimlessly throughout the airport without rhyme or reason.

    The open-layouts are nice, and the cross-traffic it creates in inevitable, but if people walked with purpose it would minimize the problem.

  6. Re standing on moving walkway:

    Moving walkways are designed to carry people from point A to point B without their having to walk.

    I do not understand travellers who get on moving walkways and then WALK or RUN on them, when they could do so in the ample spaces alongside those walkways.

  7. Taking up two chairs in the gate area. PLEASE put your carry-on or briefcase on the floor in front of you, your purse on your lap, whatever. There is no rationale for using one chair for yourself and another for your stuff!

  8. Re moving walkways – I disagree with the above post. It is a WALKWAY that is designed to allow you to move at a faster pace from point A to point B. I have no problem with people standing, but move to the side to allow others to pass.

  9. I’m with Brad on the moving walkways…if people want to walk, why don’t they walk alongside instead of *on* the moving walkway?

    Also, people that wear backpacks and forget that they are now bigger. I am tired of being smacked in the face by oblivious backpack wearers…especially during boarding when I am in my aisle seat.

  10. I wish to reply in a friendly and polite manner with Todd’s comment:

    1. Yes is is a walkway designed to move people at a “faster” pace from point A to point B. But only minimally. My family members and I have done time trials and I – old man that I am – was never a stride behind or ahead of younger members.

    2. And since, as we’ve said: (a) there are people who do not understand the concept of standing to the right side to allow others to pass, and (b) many travellers who use the walkway have oversize and several pieces of luggage. There is no easy solution in sight – it seems futile to install instructional signs or educate people due to cultural, language, and perception issues of what’s right and what’s wrong. For example, people from “right-hand drive” countries tend to walk on the RIGHT side of the road (from their perspective) to see oncoming vehicles. And that affects how they use moving walkways.

    3. All of these issues tend to CLOG the moving “walkways” to the point that they become “standing platforms.”

    4. That said – it is better for travellers in a hurry to simply user the areas ALONG the walkways instead of getting on the and trying to bob and weave their way through the people standing on either side – or sprawled right smack in the center – of the walkways. It’s called “common sense,” I believe.

  11. Not to change the topic, but at the end of a long international flight to the USA, I look forward to the “post-flight entertainment:”

    I observe with amusement at how people from coach shove past me at aircraft doors, and in walkways and escalators, in order to be first in line at US immigration counters.

    Then I placidly saunter past them while they are in the Disneyworld-esque “visitors and non-permanent residents” queue, and walk to the diplomatic counters where there are very few people in line. I have often been tempted to smirk but that would be uncharitable.

  12. People standing right across escalator treads. I was taught to stand to one side so people in a hurry could walk up or down the escalator and pass me. Luggage goes on the tread in front. This is simply common sense and facilitates traffic flow. Yet I see people continually hog the entire tread.

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.