I’ve been both lucky and unlucky when getting on a plane, I’ll either be seated next to a sick child on a 16 hour flight, or I’ll be gifted with a whole row to myself – I’ve had both ends of the spectrum. But there are still things that people don’t seem to get. Plane Etiquette DOES exist, and here are 20 of the unsaid rules:
1. Remember how security works.
This comes before the actual boarding of the plane, but this one always gets me. Laptops, coins, all those knick-knacks, get them out BEFORE you reach the conveyor belt. Some people always reach this point and get all clueless about what they are doing, then hold up every one else creating traffic. I’m not trying to sound super impatient but it just works so much better when everyone walks through smoothly.
2. Don’t rush your way through people to get off the plane.
Be polite and patient. Same goes for getting ON the plane, what’s your hurry? The plane isn’t going to leave without you.
3. Don’t hog the baggage space.
4. Don’t argue with flight attendant about electronics.
Unless they specifically say you can use your phones ON FLIGHT MODE don’t be one of those people. Even if the flight attendant has not said anything, using electronics when you haven’t been told that you are allowed to can make other passengers uneasy.
5. Don’t take both armrests – what is the middle seat supposed to get?
6. Don’t put your bare feet on the seat in front of you – in fact, don’t be bare foot for any part of the trip.
7. Don’t leave your limbs hanging over the aisle – on more than one occasion I have seen those people hang their arms and legs over the aisle, get that inevitably painful bump of the food cart and then they get mad at the flight attendant. This is how planes work, what were you expecting? Doing this is not only annoying to the flight attendants, but for everyone else walking down the aisle.
8. Don’t recline your seat at meal times. Now DON’T get me started. Reclining your seat in general should have some level of courtesy, you’re not the only one stuck in those tiny little seats. More than once I have seen the domino line of people reclining because some selfish person at the front is taking advantage of the opportunity. Have you ever tried folding out your table and eating your food when the seat in front of you is an inch from your face?
9. DO NOT EVER WATCH PLANE DISASTER MOVIES.
10. Think about how you sleep. When I say this I’m sort of focussing on the people on the middle seat and aisle, if you fall asleep leaning forward, bathroom goers may be forced to wake you up so that they can get past. Don’t flail across all of the space around you, it’s a shared area. Also, if you know that you snore, perhaps research preventative methods?
11. Don’t leave your lights on for the entirety of the “sleeping time”. I get that you might be having trouble sleeping, but not sleeping in the allowed times are a mistake in itself – if not now, you’ll only be able to when the lights are on.
12. Don’t miss a shower before a flight. Please. Think about your body odour, bring deodorant.
13. No farting.
14. Respect the lavatory.
It is said that “the normally accepted minimum ratio of lavatories to passengers is 1:50”. This said, most of the time someone is waiting for the lavatory as soon as you step in it, even if there is no line, many people sit and wait to see it become available. You’re not at home, you’re not free to take as much time as you want.
15. Keep the kids in check.
16. Don’t have loud and obnoxious conversations. Think of a plane like a quiet carriage.
17. Don’t force conversations with your neighbours.
18. Don’t get drunk.
19. Don’t wake up people unnecessarily. Sleep is hard enough to get already.
20. Don’t be that guy who has to get up every 5 minutes to go to the bathroom when he’s picked a window seat. Try and get up only when it’s convenient.
Over to you, what really grinds your gears when you’re aboard a plane?