Airplane Etiquette : Do’s and Definitely Do NOT’s

This should not need to be written. People should understand that when they are in a confined, communal space, there are understood rules that allow for the comfort and safety of everyone. Unfortunately, there are people that never learned airplane (or bus, metro, etc.) etiquette and there are those that selfishly do not care how their habits affect others. You may say, “I don’t care what people think of me or what I look like, YOLO!” Well, in the case of a group of people with little choice but to occupy a very small space together for a long period of time, your selfish actions no longer affect just you, they affect everyone around you. So be a giver, not a taker, and let’s make that long haul flight bearable for your fellow human.


DON’T

  1. Take your shoes AND socks off, then put them all over the arm rest or dangle in the hallway. I don’t want your grimy toes tickling my elbow, even accidentally. This is disgusting and I don’t care if you just had a pedicure. If you wear open sandals on flights, DO keep them on or bring a pair of socks for when you take the sandals off. If you know you’re feet get sweaty and stinky from time to time – and you KNOW if this happens to you – don’t take your damned shoes off.feet-on-an-airplane-first-class-united-airlines
  2. Use the seat in front of you as a support beam to get through. When getting into your row, be gentle on the seats in front of you. This is one most people overlook but in case you didn’t know, the person in front of you FEELS when you use their chair as a railing. Don’t push and pull it to get through and wake up the whole row in front of you. DO be gentle and considerate. Also, be gentle putting things into the pocket in front of you, pressing the TV screen, and putting the tray table away. Again, the person in front of you can feel it.
  3. Let your kids kick the seat in front of them. You’ve already put yourself on peoples’ blacklist by bringing your crybag onto the flight, so at least monitor their effect on the poor person in front of them. (I do have a slight understanding of the immense struggles of rearing a child, but that was your choice not mine!)
  4. Let your kids run rampant down the isles. DO walk with them or take them to the open space in the back or front (pending it’s ok with the stewards)
  5. Slam your chair back. I know, you’re not omnipotent and know what the people behind you are doing at all times. But they could have a hot coffee or a glass of red wine on their tray and you just ruined their white pants. They could have super long legs and you just smashed their kneecaps in. DO make it a habit to be gentle and lean it back slow, maybe even just 75% of the way. Also, if the person behind you is bigger or has long legs, ask them if it’s ok to lean your chair back. If they say no, just wait until they’re asleep and do it later, but at least you made the gesture.
  6. Keep your chair back when food is delivered. Be considerate that the people behind you would like some space to eat.
  7. Not move to let the person in/out of the row. I should be flattered you think I’m paper-thin enough to be able to slide right past you so easily, but I’m just irritated and you’re just being lazy. If you do this to someone, you deserve their full butt in your face and maybe even a fart.
  8. Have your light on in the middle of the night. Fine, you can’t sleep on planes. Buy a small book light or use your phone light but don’t ruin precious beauty sleep for everyone else.
  9. Don’t cut in front of everyone to get off the plane faster. It’s easy to get caught up in the pushing and shoving to get out of such a crammed space after a long flight. Maybe you don’t even care to get off but because someone’s inching up to pass you, you don’t want to be taken advantage of. Just chill and wait your turn, alternate rows, and don’t bolt to the front to be first off. If you’re late for a connection, DO tell the people around you and ask them to let you through.
  10. Order the fish. There’s a special place in cramped, dark cupboard for you.

Long-haul or multiple connection flight? Wear deodorant, brush your teeth, bring some baby/face wipes to clean yourself up in the bathroom, and possibly bring a change of clothes in your carry on for the half-way mark. Even if you don’t care that you feel or are dirty, your smell is invasive.


Some DO’s

  • Consider giving the arm rests to the person in the middle seat. They already have the worst seat the row and no space to stretch their arms, so cut them some slack.
  • Close the blinds at night and keep them open during take-off & landing. It could be someones first time flying and they may want to see the view!

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  • Help the flight attendant if you’re in the isle seat and pass the trays. Same goes for the one in the window seat: show appreciation to the person in the aisle passing your tray and trash.

A Tip! (and the same goes for when you’re at a restaurant) : If you need something from the steward[ess], ask them for everything in one go so they aren’t running laps through the plane. They need to assist everyone on board, not just you!

  • Turn your TV brightness down at night.
  • Help people get their luggage down if you’re tall and able. It makes the process faster and smoother for all.

Have you experienced any of these… or worse?

Feet Photo Source

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