The fastest way to travel is by plane and it’s estimated that almost 9 million people fly each day. Whether we’re taking a short flight or an ultra-long-haul, we need to follow some basic plane etiquette. It’s called jet-iquette.
Recent behavior on some flights from both passengers and airline and airport staff have been appalling. Fighting, yelling, kicking, punching, and dragging a passenger out of their seat is not the way a reputable airline should behave. In October of last year, Dr. David Dao was violently removed from a United Airlines Flight. The scene was quite disturbing, Dr. Dao’s nose was broken, he lost two teeth and sustained a concussion. What an injustice and serious misuse of power. Airline staff set the precedent, and they should not be surprised if passengers react the same way. There also many nightmarish reports of fights breaking out among passengers. With such a lack of restraint and civility, we worry if that will happen on our flight.
But, regardless of the situation, there are several things we can do to make our high altitude experience as pleasant as possible. First and foremost are common sense, consideration, and courtesy. Here are a few more things to consider.
Be polite. Saying please, thank you, excuse me and sorry are just courteous. Being in a cramped area, it’s easy to accidentally bump someone.
Mind your space. Flying coach means your crammed for space. Be considerate and keep your elbows and flabby forearms within your own seat. Keep your knees together so you’re not infringing on someone’s else area. Nobody wants body contact with you. Keep your handbag or small carry-on underneath the seat in front of you, not beside you. Or put it in the overhead luggage area. If you’re reading a newspaper, fold it, don’t stretch your arm out so it’s in the next passengers face.
Be quiet. Have you ever been on a flight where there is someone behind you talking loud, laughing aloud, or singing? No one wants to hear about your job, your kids, or your bad dates. Talk quietly and respect other people’s rights for a tranquil space. Press the mute button! Or what about those DJ’s who think everyone wants to hear the latest rap song? Wear your earbuds!
Mind your business. There are two kinds of fliers – those who don’t mind a casual conversation with strangers and those who would prefer to read or work. Be discerning and pick up on any clues. A one-way conversation should be obvious, so don’t be annoying and keep chattering. If your neighbor does talk, keep the conversation neutral, and don’t encroach on their privacy.
Don’t recline! I’m fairly tall, with my legs being longer than my torso. That means if someone does recline their seat in front of me, it’s painful. The seats in Coach do not give you a lot of legroom, so reclining more than two inches is going to make the person behind you miserable. If you must recline, be courteous and ask the person behind if it’s okay first.
Don’t hog overhead storage! We’re told to have only one carry-on bag when traveling, so I abide by this rule. But, then you get those passengers who bring on three hefty bags and fill up the overhead compartments. Keep the smallest one under the seat in front of you so others have room for their carry-on.
Turn off your electronics. During take-off and landing the flight attendants ask everyone to turn off their electronic devices. It’s a standard flight rule and must be obeyed. Frequencies from our devices can interfere with the frequencies pilots use for navigation and communication.
Control your kids. Monster mayhem! We’ve all been on flights where unruly kids have tantrums and are screaming at high pitched octaves that pierce right through your brain. Plus, they climb seats, kick seats and run down the aisle. No one wants to endure this and they shouldn’t have to. Keeping kids occupied with books, coloring books, learning activity videos, and toys – may defuse their unrest and discomfort. Plus, educate your kids ahead of time and explain what behavior is acceptable. That being said, have some compassion for both kids and parents.
Hygiene! Do I really have to go here? Odors intensify in small quarters! You be surprised how many people get on the plane smelling rank with body odors and/or have bowel breath. Bathing and brushing your teeth are basic hygiene practices and will make traveling more comfortable for yourself and fellow passengers. Take a package of facial cleansers and water so you can freshen up during a long flight.
Don’t douse the perfume. Many people are sensitive to smells, especially perfumes. They can make people ill and bring on allergies, asthma attacks, migraines, and even seizures. It may smell good to you, but offensive to others. So keep your Chanel in your suitcase.
Following these few basic Jet-iquette tips will keep everyone happy and your flight more enjoyable. If you have other tips, share them below.