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Traveling By Airplane - Etiquette To Remember

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Appropriate behavior on the plane is desirable for a safe and fuss-free plane ride for you and your fellow passengers. This is especially so for people travelling on long flights of up to over ten hours. Here are some of my suggestions for good plane etiquette. Most of these are actually common sense but people tend to overlook them anyway. The basic principle behind them is: Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you.


Moving across seats


If you have a weak bladder or need the rest room often, do try to reserve aisle seats to avoid having to ask people to move for you all the time. It's awkward having to climb all over the same person several times during the entire flight. Even more awkward if the person is sleeping. Also, if the person is sleeping and the seats are so close that climbing over him may wake him up anyway, it's advisable that you give him a little nudge or say a loud 'excuse me'. Then apologise for disrupting his sleep and come back as quickly as you can from where you have gone. It won't be nice at all if your seat-mate wakes up halfway and finds you straddling him.



Using the armrest

The use of the armrest should alternate between you and your fellow passenger. If you feel that your fellow passenger is dominating the arm rest, you could politely request him to shift his elbows a little to allow some space for you. If he is a reasonable person, he would adhere to your request, or remove his arm from the armrest.


Maintain personal space

Don't invade your personal passenger's space by making unnecessary body contact i.e. arms and legs to yourself, within the width of your seat.


Carrying your bag

Hold your bag in front of you and keep it low to the ground while you are walking down the plane aisle in search of your seat. If you hold it at your side, you are likely to knock it against seated passengers, which can be really unpleasant.



I trust that members on this forum are old enough not to indulge in a childish act like this. But if you end up sitting in front of a hyperactive child or toddler who keeps kicking your seat, you'll have to stick up for yourself or suffer for the entire journey. You should politely ask the parents to control their kid. If the kid's beyong control, request that they switch seats. If you don't mind, you can request to switch seats yourself too. If none of these work out, ask the flight attendant to handle it.


Leave your fellow passenger's seat alone

Pulling the seat in front of you to help yourself up can be unpleasant for the person sitting in that chair. Use your seat armrests to help yourself up instead. When moving down the aisle, again, leave the seats alone but use the luggage compartments instead, like how the flight attendants do it.


Reclining chairs

If it's not a time for sleeping and you just want to recline your seat for comfort, it is only polite to ask the person behind you if it's all right. Technically, it's your right to recline your seat, but you wouldn't like it if someone in front of you reclines his seat all the way so that you have even less space for movement than the limited space you are entitled to. Usually they'll be friendly about it, that is, if you don't go aboard by turning your chair into a bed. If the passenger is tall or has a child in his lap, do try to keep your seat upright out of consideration. Whenever you lower your chair, do it slowly to give the passenger behind you time to react.


Talkative fellow passenger

If you have no wish to communicate with anyone on the plane, the most effective signal is to use headphones. If you really wish to sleep but your fellow passenger has already begun his vocal 'assault', just tell him nicely that you're really tired and wish to sleep. You'd offend him more if you give him curt replies and disgruntled expressions throughout the conversation.



When the plane lands and the seatbelt light blinks off, resist the urge to push your way through. Let those nearest the exit get off first. Don't worry, the plane will not keep you.


If you have other plane etiquette to share or horrible experiences involving horrible fellow passengers, do share!

Edited by bishoujo (see edit history)

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HelloThanks for this post, +1 useful!I think it must also be remembered on air flights that when you are eating the food they give you, don't be loud and slurpy in your eating- it disturbs passengers.Also, please refrain from 'passing wind' or being loud and destructive, it really makes the experience for all a whole lot worse.A200

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Help passengers

...who fall asleep, starts talking to herself and throws things around. (On other passengers, around the aeroplane etc.) :)


Yes, I was very tired when that happened. And very embarrassed too... I wonder what I talked about?

Edited by Bluebear (see edit history)

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