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Airplane Etiquette ….

We know this comes as no surprise to you, but some people aren’t exactly easy to travel with. Or next to.

But flying doesn’t give us all an excuse to throw our manners out the airplane window — so we figured it was high time to put together a definitive guide to air travel etiquette.

Keep your socks on

We don’t really know why this needs to be said again, but alas: Feet can be pretty gross. We totally get why you might want to take your shoes off, especially during a long-haul flight or even for cultural reasons, but please at least keep your socks (or slippers) on! If your feet have any kind of odour when you take them off, keep your shoes on.

Not only are bare feet off-putting to many travellers around you, but think about where your shoes have been and what is actually on the aeroplane floor. Have you ever noticed mystery liquids on the aeroplane bathroom floor? That probably isn’t water.

Keep your seat up during mealtimes

You have the right to recline your seat to get some rest. If you weren’t supposed to recline a seat, it would not have that function available.

For overnight flights when the lights are dimmed it’s perfectly acceptable to recline, even if the seat has a deep recline like some premium economy seats. If a passenger behind is struggling to work on their laptop at 3 a.m. because your seat is reclined then I would argue that time is for sleeping, not working.

That said, when the lights are on for mealtimes, especially shortly after takeoff or shortly before landing you should put your seat up out of courtesy to the person behind you. It’s harder to eat your meal in economy with limited space if the person in front has reclined. Some cabin crew will instruct passengers to raise their seats for mealtimes, if they don’t you may wish to ask the crew as they hand you your tray.

Grooming on planes is gross

This should go without saying, but please save your plucking, picking and trimming for the hotel bathroom. Yes, you’re likely spending more than a few hours on this flying metal tube, but this isn’t Sephora. This is a plane.

Moisturising is fine, as those fancy mini toiletries in your amenity kit are there to be used. If your skin is dry in the recycled air in the cabin there’s no issue with addressing that. But trimming your nails or shaving, please don’t.

Don’t bring smelly food onboard

We know aeroplane food (usually) isn’t known for being gourmet, especially if you’re flying economy — so many travellers do opt to pack their own snacks and meals. While we fully encourage you to bring whatever you need, whether for dietary restrictions, health reasons or just plain dissatisfaction with what’s served on board, please keep these words in mind: Recycled air.

Don’t carry on anything with you that your neighbours wouldn’t want to smell for the next handful of hours (read: anything seafood or hard-boiled eggs), for your own sake and for the sake of your fellow passengers.

Some Asian airlines have banned passengers from bringing durian fruit onboard flights because of its very strong pungent smell.

Your neighbour might not want to chat

It’s more than fine to be nice and approachable to your seatmate — as we said, you definitely don’t want him or her on your bad side. You may need to ask them for a small favour during the flight like borrowing their pen to fill in a landing card, retrieving a dropped phone or window shade preferences.

But don’t talk their ear off if they’ve clearly demonstrated they’re more interested in catching up on the latest IFE than learning your life story. It’s a delicate line, for sure, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution and zip it.

If they put headphones on, it is probably an indication that they don’t want to keep the conversation flowing.

It’s a plane, not a hotel

Please save the PDA for when you get to your final destination. Holding hands is fine, but keep it at that. Even if it is your honeymoon, the complete strangers sitting around you will not want to watch you consummating the marriage at your seat.

As for joining the Mile High Club in the aircraft bathrooms, most bathrooms are tiny and not very clean, is it really worth it?

Be nice to the staff

Be nice to the gate agents. They’re just trying to do their job and get you on the plane as quickly as possible. It’s rarely their fault if your flight is delayed or cancelled so taking it out on them is unlikely to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. As for upgrades, gate agents have little power to upgrade people, unless you have cash or miles to spend. If the check-in agent didn’t upgrade you after you mentioned your birthday or honeymoon, it’s very unlikely the gate agent will.

The same thing goes for flight attendants. They are there for your comfort and safety but they are not there to wait on your hand and foot for any whim that pops into your head every 15 minutes. If you want a cup of water there’s no issue using the call bell, but if you want a second glass shortly afterwards, consider stretching your legs to wander down the back of the plane to get it yourself. There may be a snack basket or section that makes the walk worth your while.

Don’t go to war over who gets the armrest

Deciding once and for all who really owns the right to the armrest may be the final frontier of aviation. It’s plagued travellers since the dawn of time … or, at least, since the dawn of modern-day commercial aviation. No matter what side of the, er, armrest issue you’re on, remember to always be courteous.

But yes, experts agree that the poor soul in the middle seat deserves both armrests as they have what is considered to be the worst seat in the row.

No one else wants to hear what you are watching

Headphones exist for a reason. Use them. Ideally, bring your own so you know that they will be good quality sound, and comfortable. If you happen to forget them, ask the crew for a pair to use during the flight.

Do not facetime a relative while you’re waiting at the gate to tell them about your travel day, and do not watch a movie or TV show without headphones. It is incredibly inconsiderate for your fellow passengers to have to listen to the tinny sound of your favourite movie or television show blasted through the built-in speakers in your phone, tablet or laptop.

And if your kid is playing a game on any device that makes noises, either give the child headphones to wear, or turn the sound off completely. Repetitive beeps, bangs or jingles will drive your fellow passengers nuts.

Bottom line

Being stuck in a metal tube with 400 strangers for 12+ hours isn’t the most pleasant way to spend an evening. Beyond selecting seats in advance with travelling friends or family, there’s no way of knowing exactly who you will end up next to. The pandemic seemed to bring out the worst in some travellers, particularly in the United States, but some common courtesy and consideration can ensure you enjoy the flight and the people sitting next to you do so too.


Sourced From The Points Guy  – written by Ben Smithson and Samantha Rosen 

Until da next Tyme 

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