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Jetiquette – Etiquette for Airplane Travel

Airplane Etiquette

Airplane etiquette seems to be something that nobody considers.

Plane travel can be very stressful.  Travelers are so focused on all the things that need to be done to get to the end of their journey.  Ticket purchase, queuing, checking in, bag requirements, security, boarding, seating, and customs are all things which can drive the flustered masses to forget all decent behavior.

We seem to be hearing on a regular basis about passenger rage occurring on flights, and this even further escalates the expectation of confrontation.  Before travelers get to the airport, they can begin to work themselves up into a defensive position.

As someone reading this page, you are aware of the anxiety that is filling up airport terminals and fueling long-distance flights.  By learning how to be a friendlier traveler, you can play a significant part in reducing traveling stress for yourself and for others who are impacted by your behavior.  You will also serve as an example of correct behavior for others.  Jetiquette (airplane etiquette) obeys the general laws of etiquette which seek to minimize any discomfort to others and provide an environment of shared humanity.

Basic Jetiquette (Airplane Etiquette)

Before leaving home:

  • Ensure that you have your ticket, passport, and all necessary documentation.  Nobody wants to be stuck in line behind someone who is having a panic attack over missing documentation.
  • Visit the airlines’ website and read up about the baggage requirements.  One of the greatest stresses in travel is being told that you have excess baggage and must leave items behind or pay a hefty charge.

The Airport:

  • Think carefully about the best option should you need to drive your car to the airport.  It may not seem important at the time, but can be a shock to return home to discover that your car parking charges are horrendous.  Always endeavor to take public transport to the airport, or have a friend drive you.
  • Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare.  We all know how anxious the traveler is who is to be seen rushing into the terminal only to find that there is a long queue and no hope of boarding in time.
  • When passing through security, be aware of the legislation regarding traveling with liquids.
  • When boarding, please remember that you have a seat allocation which no one can take.  There is no benefit in being rude to other travelers in order to board first.

The Airplane:

  • When storing your luggage in the overhead compartments. use only your section of the storage bins.  Only one bag may go in the overhead compartment, and the other should be stowed under the seat in front of you.  Do not place your bag in the storage bin horizontally.
  • Your seat must be upright during meals, snacks, drinks, and when requested to by the captain or flight attendants.  At other times, you may recline your seat slowly after you have checked behind you to ensure that you will not cause a catastrophe to the passenger behind you.  If you are bothered by reclining seats, you can ask for a bulkhead or exit-row seat when booking your ticket.
  • Armrests are a huge problem on airplanes because in 3 seats there are only 4 armrests, meaning that one person gets 2 armrests, and the other 2 only get 1 each.  The extra arm rest is normally given to the person in the middle seat as a compensation for being wedged between two other people.  However, if you have a large person seated beside you, it can be very difficult for them, so it would be polite to offer your extra armrest.  Another way to share an armrest is to offer that one has the front half, and another the rear half.
  • Perfumes and body odors are another constant problem on airplanes.  The close proximity of many people and the recycled air can cause allergic reactions and an unpleasant whiff in the air.  Ensure that you arrive at the airport clean and fresh, and refrain from using perfumes.
  • If you are a deep sleeper, or you take sleeping tablets request a window seat so that other passengers do not have to climb over you to get into the aisle.
  • Even the most placid baby can find the air-pressure painful to their ears.  Try to be a bit thoughtful for the pain of the baby, and the stress of the parent.
  • When exiting the airplane, it seems as though the passengers will do anything to get out first.  Resist the urge to push your way out.  If getting out fast is important to you, then book early and get a seat up the front.

If you are inconvenienced by breaches of Jetiquette (Airplane Etiquette) on your travels, it is not for you to raise the issue with another passenger.  Take your problems directly to the Air Steward who will then take appropriate action.

Do you have any airplane etiquette or experiences to share?

Please let me know your thoughts


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