Airplane Etiquette We Should All Know Before Flying

By Jessica O'Neil 8 months ago

Don’t bring hot food on the plane

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The smell of cooked foods like pasta or steak and cheese can permeate the air and make other passengers nauseous. Your best bet is to bring bagged snacks like chips with you to munch on if you get hungry. Longer plane rides will offer you meals, so there’s really no reason to bring a salmon dinner with you at all.

Don’t go #2 if you can help it

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Again, the smells! The plane is a small space, so be kind to other passengers’ noses. Try to go to the bathroom before you get on the plane, and if you end up needing to do more than pee, flush as quickly as possible. But please, for everyone’s sake, try to hold it in.

If a child is sitting alone next to you, offer their parent your seat

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Though many people would argue against this, it’s pretty much one of the nicest and most respectable things you can do on a plane. Sometimes airlines cannot give multiple seats next to each other to families. Kids get nervous easily, and do you really wanna spend the flight next to a scared child?

Enter the security line well-prepared

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Keeping your boarding pass and ID in your backpack will not do you any good. Hold these items so you are prepared to hand them over in the security line. Try to wear clothes that do not require a belt to save time. Separate any liquid items you have as well.

Be mindful of your seating space

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It can be tempting to recline your seat and spread your legs out to get comfy. However, economy seating doesn’t offer much legroom, so you should be careful not to encroach on your neighbor’s space. Don’t allow your ponytail to dangle over your seat either, as it can land in someone’s drink or food.

Use your headphones

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You may love your music taste, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will. Watch television or listen to your tunes with headphones in. If you don’t have headphones with you, read a book or doodle to pass the time. Or, if none of these options sound good, try taking a nap instead.

Clean up before you depart the plane

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Though the airline has staff in place to keep things tidy, you should still make an active effort to clean up after yourself before getting off the plane. Take all of your garbage, double-check your seating area, and be mindful of food and drinks during the flight.

Please… do not overgroom at your seat

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Clipping your toenails can wait until you’re off the plane. That goes for plucking your eyebrows as well. These things can easily find their way onto nearby passengers, and it’s gross to force airline staff to clean up your body hair and nail clippings. Do all this before or after the flight.

Keep your kids under control

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Sometimes a baby will scream and it is far from the parents’ control. But children should never do things like run up and down the aisle, taunt the other passengers, and cause a general ruckus. Try to find quiet things for your child to do, or give them the good ol’ trusty IPad until the end of the flight.

Turn off your phone ringer

We know you’re in business class for a reason. You’re pretty busy, and you’re receiving phone calls and texts. Leave your phone on vibrate. If you’re worried about missing a call, place your phone where you can see it so you will notice when a notification comes in.

Wait your turn when getting off the plane

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This isn’t the elementary school bus. Remain in your seating area until the other passengers in front of you have gotten up and moved toward the aisle. Rushing the exit is not safe, and many people have the common sense not to do it anyway. If you try, you can get a few sharp glares.

Keep the socks and shoes on

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Make yourself at home on the plane, but not too much. Socks and shoes should always remain on your feet. Potential smells will upset your fellow passengers, and airplane floors are incredibly filthy. Protect your feet by keeping them in a closed-toe shoe.

Don’t ask to cut the security line

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Everybody is going somewhere at the airport. Even if you’re running late for a flight, there’s no reason to try to weasel your way to the front of the security line. Show up a couple of hours early so you can avoid the anxiety and temptation to beg for special treatment.

Be kind to the airport staff

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The airport staff works hard to make sure you have a safe and comfortable transportation experience. Don’t yell at them or give them a difficult time when planes get delayed or something doesn’t go as planned. Most of the time it is something out of their control, and they’re likely getting bombarded by hundreds of people a day.

Don’t fuss about the boarding order

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You will not always have priority seating on a plane. As long as you have a ticket, you can almost guarantee you will have a seat on that flight. Wait for your boarding class and don’t try to sneak on early. Plus, causing a problem can easily get you barred from boarding the flight.

Avoid reclining your seat too far

As mentioned before, economy plane seats do not have a lot of room. You may want to stretch your legs at some point, but keeping your chair reclined the entire flight is some of the worst airplane etiquette around. Check around the seat to see how much you would be able to comfortably recline without intruding on your neighbor’s space.

Be mindful of your surroundings when getting up during the flight

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Swinging your luggage or staring at your phone as you make your way down the aisle is a recipe for disaster. Pay attention to what is around you as you move about the aircraft. Watch out for feet in the aisle as well.

Refrain from getting drunk

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Getting drunk is a one-way ticket to anxiety on a plane for many people. When having one too many glasses of wine, you risk getting sick and making other people uncomfortable around you with your behavior. Stick to one or two drinks, or do not drink at all on the plane if you were drinking at the airport.

Keep calm during turbulence

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Turbulence is a natural occurrence that planes were built to endure. Keep calm and remember that you will be able to get through it! Screaming and freaking out won’t do you any good, and it will just cause a panic. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you are safe and the pilot knows what they are doing.

Hogging the armrests is a no-go

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Unless you are in the middle seat, do not try to claim both armrests. The middle seat objectively has it the worst. They have neither freedom nor a view to benefit from. Give them a win by relinquishing one of your armrests. You’ll find you really dont need both of them anyway.

Shower before your trip

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Stinky armpits and dirty clothes are super offensive to other passengers on the plane. You will be in an enclosed space for hours with these folks, and exposing them to your odor is an easy way to create one hellish ride. It can also be grounds for kicking you off the plane. Bathe and do laundry before getting on a flight.

Keep conversations with your seatmates to a minimum

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Being friendly to other passengers is great, but talking their ears off for hours is awful. When on a plane, make a simple conversation and keep it brief. Some people are way too polite to cut things off, so do them a favor and keep your fleeting thoughts to yourself.

Don’t ring the bell for everything

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Flight attendants are busy and have many passengers to help and assist throughout the flight. They are not your personal staff. There is truly no need to beckon them for you every whim. Hold onto your trash until the end of the flight, and ask for everything you need in one sitting.

Refrain from wearing heavy cologne or perfume

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Some people are quite allergic to strong scents. Others get fierce headaches from heavy perfumes. Keep the cologne to a minimum or try not to wear any at all. Use a body spray if you’d like a scent boost before boarding the plane, as the smell is a lot lighter and does not linger for very long.

Don’t eat snacks with common allergens

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Nuts are a very food common allergy that people all over the world suffer from. Do not bring items to snack on that contain ingredients like peanut butter. Ask your fellow passenger if they have any airborne allergies before eating anything in their vicinity. Do not litter wrappers and food scraps as you eat.

The overhead bin is for everyone

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This is not for you to spread out each of your belongings. Try to use a carry-on that is compact and doesn’t take up much room. Place one bag overhead and keep your personal items like purses or laptops with you at your seat. This also makes it easier to leave the plane.

When you’re sick, consider wearing a mask

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Though COVID-19 is addressed in the same way, plenty of people still wear masks when they are ill. Covering up your nose and mouth is an easy way to prevent unnecessary germ transfer when you have a cold or find yourself sneezing and coughing. Wear a mask for your flight and as you walk through the airport.

Don’t complain about the crying baby to the flight attendant

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Babies cry sometimes. It is not their fault. Do not ask the flight attendant to do something about it. There is 100% nothing they can do about an infant that is crying or babbling.  It is just one of those situations where you’ll have to deal with it if anything. Always keep headphones or ear plugs handy just in case.

Feet should stay on the ground

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Do not put your feet on the back of someone else’s chair. In fact, do not put your feet on your chair. Keep them on the ground at all times. The airplane does not have pristine floors, and you’re putting an abundance of gunk on places where people frequently touch.

Double bag the throw-up bag

Sorry, one bag just isn’t going to cut it! When you get sick on a plane, it is hard to tell how severe it will be when it starts. Double bag it up to prevent any leakage or smell from traveling. Do your best to make it to the bathroom before getting sick on the plane.