10 Essential Rules of Airplane Flight Etiquette to Remember When Flying

Traveling is a wonderful experience, but airplane flights aren’t always a breeze.

Being stuck in a cramped space with a bunch of strangers can be stressful with everyone rushing to get to their destination. Plenty of unexpected things could happen on a plane, such as lost luggage, flight delays, screaming children, sick passengers, and the like, all of which only add to the stress of flying. As such, some passengers lose their cool and forget their manners when flying on an airplane, not realizing that they’re becoming a problem for everyone else.  

Know your airplane etiquette before you fly. Here are a few tips on what to do (and what not to do) to make sure you’re doing your part in keeping the flight pleasant on your next trip.



Don’t Hold Up The Lines

Airport lines can be excruciating, so don’t make it drag on any longer than it needs to be. While you’re standing in line for security, start preparing by removing your watch and the contents of your pocket. Make sure your passport and boarding pass are already out or easily accessible so you don’t take up everybody’s time rummaging for it when it’s your turn.



Use The Overhead Bin Above Your Seat And Don’t Hog The Space

Magda Ehlers via Pexels

Apparently, some travelers place their carry-on luggage in the overhead bin of the row in front of them to keep an eye on it. If you do this, the person in that row won’t be able to use the space allotted for them.

It’s also best to position your bag vertically instead of horizontally to maximize the space of the overhead compartment. Additionally, put only one bag in the overhead compartment, then simply put your extra bag under the seat in front of you.



Minimize Smelly Food

Keep in mind that you’re in an enclosed space with other people, so keep your food items as unobtrusive and simple as possible. Any pungent food may be unpleasant to other passengers, especially the people beside you.



Recline Your Seat Mindfully

via Pixabay

Practice courtesy as you’re essentially taking up the legroom of the person behind you, especially in economy. So, avoid reclining so far back that you’re practically on another person’s lap. If you have to recline your seat, do so as minimally as possible. Turn around to warn the person behind you before doing it, to give them time to adjust their drinks, laptops, and legs.



Whoever Gets The Middle Seat Gets The Armrest

 No one wants the middle seat. There’s nowhere to look, stretch, or rest. All the person in the middle has two strangers—and if these strangers are considerate, they’ll give him or her the armrests, too. Since the window and aisle already have one each for themselves plus extra space, many agree that it’s only fair that the middle seat gets both armrests available.



Respect Personal Space—And Stay In Your Own

via Pixabay

Cramped airplanes are even more uncomfortable when strangers are taking up each other’s spaces. When walking down the aisle, keep yourself from grabbing onto the seats and jostling sleeping passengers as you pass by. Don’t stretch out your legs in your seatmate’s space, or even on the aisle where other people may trip and fall. To avoid dozing off on someone’s shoulder, bring a pillow for long flights—you’ll even get a more restful nap as a bonus.



Be Prepared For A Flight With Kids, But Have Sympathy For Other Parents

Try to keep your kids in check when traveling and give them things to do on a plane. Bring entertainment to occupy their time, get them sleeping, and keep lots of snacks to keep them happy. It won’t be perfect, but every little bit helps. 

At the same time, if you’re a passenger traveling in the same plane as a fussy baby, have a little patience and don’t be mean to poor parents traveling with a fussy infant or a distressed child. It’s okay to politely talk to a parent about a disruptive child who’s kicking the back of your chair, but sometimes, no one can do anything about a crying baby. The parents likely want silence more than anyone on the plane. So, don’t be nasty and just put on your earplugs.



Don’t Force A Conversation

Stela Di via Pixabay

Some people enjoy striking up a conversation to pass the time during a flight, but others prefer to relax and keep to themselves. Be sensitive to your fellow passengers and be aware of the cues they’re giving out. If they’re interested in talking to you, then, by all means, enjoy the conversation! Give them space if they don’t respond much—it’s that simple.



Don’t Get Drunk

 A drunk person reeking of booze is irritating, but even more so when you’re trapped with them in a cramped space for a long-haul flight. Try not to be that person and manage your alcohol wisely.



Be Respectful Of Flight Attendants

Jeffrey Paa Kwesi Opare via Pexels

Airplane etiquette is simple: be considerate of the people you’re sharing the plane with, including the flight attendants. If you need something, ask politely; if something is wrong, stay calm and be clear. Throwing hissy fits and tantrums are uncomfortable for everyone, but they only reflect badly on you. Flight attendants are only doing their job, so be kind. 


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