One of the reasons I started this blog a bazillion years ago was to help people with etiquette while they’re traveling, especially while in the air. When you’re stuck in a flying metal tube with two hundred strangers it never hurts to be a little nicer to your fellow passengers! But I also love reading about airplane etiquette trainwrecks, where people are so rude it’s hard to believe. So last month when I saw a post on Jezebel titled “How rude am I allowed to be on an airplane?” I had to read it immediately.
Alas, the question was not quite a s scandalous as I had hoped. Basically, is it okay to request a different seat if you end of next to someone you don’t want to sit next to, in this case a person of size. The answer was, of course, if there are open seats it’s always okay (in fact, kind of expected) to seek a different seat as long as you aren’t a jerk about it.
Then the author, Madeleine Davies, gave a rundown of her top airplane etiquette rules, including some of my favorites. Things like, don’t ask to trade seats to be next to someone unless you’re offering up a better seat. Don’t put your coats in the overhead bin until everyone’s suitcases are up there (yesssss). And my fave, don’t wear strong scents on board (applause).
While it’s awesome to feel validated for my years of
ranting talking about travel etiquette, I don’t fully agree with one of her rules. She says that when someone is sitting in the middle seat that you should share the armrests equally. I think that you should just surrender the armrest fully to the middle person. Aside from that, it’s like we are long-lost etiquette-loving twins.
While normally I try to stay away from comments, these are pretty enjoyable. One comment that stood out was that people will try to intimidate her into surrendering some of her space by pressing against her. This actually surprised me–maybe after a decade of frequent travel I have less of an aversion to touching people? I’ve just always kind of felt like that was part of the deal with flying, that you are closer than you would normally be to people and sometimes that involves touching arms or legs. This comment was echoed several times, so maybe I’m just the weird one here! Although now that I think about it people do definitely try to claim the armrest. Hmmm.
Readers, what is your experience? Do you think people try to intimidate others into giving up space? Or is touching just part of flying? Do you have other favorite etiquette tips that the article didn’t mention?
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