Call it manners or simply being nice. Whatever you call airplane etiquette, everyone wins when we all practice the basics. We’ve discussed the most aggravating airplane behavior; now let’s move on to how to fly friendly. Before your next flight, check out our 7 unspoken rules of airplane etiquette.
1. Do Your Part in the Security Line
Kindness starts before you even step foot on the plane. Have your boarding pass and ID ready. Think ahead while in line: prepare your laptop, liquid baggy and whatever else needs to come off before you reach the bins. Let kindness prevail and wait patiently in line. Cooperate with the TSA agents and their requests without complaining. After all, they’re only doing their job.
2. Board & Disembark the Plane Courteously
- Boarding: Leave more room for others in the overhead compartment by placing your bag vertically rather than horizontally. Limit yourself to one bag in the overhead and put the other under the seat in front of you- not under your own seat. When you are in line waiting for your seat, don’t be that person hitting people with their bag on the way by. Keep it square in front of you.
- Disembarking: It’s super helpful when you allow those with transfer flights to disembark first, but the rule of thumb is to be patient and exit row-by-row. When it’s your turn, carefully take your bag down from the overhead compartment and fall in line.
3. Be Helpful to Others
Does someone need help getting their carry-on stowed? Give them a helping hand. Is a family obviously separated? Offer your seat if you can. Is a parent struggling with their child? Choose to be helpful instead of critical. Remember the golden rule: do to others as you would have them do to you.
4. Respect Space
Space on a plane is becoming more and more cramped as time goes on, so please, maintain your personal space and respect what’s not yours. Keep your arms and legs within your own chair width. Folks, let’s be nice- give the poor middle seat passenger the armrests.
Be mindful of your personal belongings and keep them in your own space. Before you sit down, be sure you have what you need so you can stay there. Avoid reaching over other passengers to get back into the overhead compartment- it’s just uncomfortable for everyone. If you have to get out, turn to face your seatmates and grasp the armrests instead of the seats so you don’t jolt those around you (or pull their hair!).
If you must adjust your seat back, be careful as those behind you have to deal with less space. Be mindful if they have a beverage or have an open laptop on their tray table. Better yet, ask first, and then adjust slowly.
5. To Talk or Not to Talk
If you carry on a conversation that both parties want to have, great! But be sensitive to those around you by keeping your voice down, and only engage if the other passenger desires it. This requires you to look for signals from others whether or not they’re in the mood for conversation. If you must make that last minute phone call before wheels up, please be considerate. Keep it short and quiet.
6. About Aromas
If you’re hungry, by all means eat. But remember to be courteous to those around you and bring foods that don’t have a strong aroma. Opt for a granola bar or pretzels instead of the triple cheeseburger or tuna sandwich with onions. In addition, be sparing with perfume and aftershave. Be mindful that some people have severe allergies or migraines triggered by strong smells. Your fellow passengers will thank you.
7. Be Nice to Flight Attendants
Flight attendants are not there to serve your every whim, but to keep everyone safe. Practice gratefulness. Say hello when you enter the plane and offer your thanks when you disembark. When they give pre-flight announcements, pay attention. Follow their instructions. Treat flight attendants like you would like to be treated. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness!
In short, the best airplane etiquette is this: fly friendly and put others before yourself. Give the gift of a smile and patience. Why reach your destination stressed out? A little kindness goes a long way. Travel on my friends!
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