I travel for work frequently and I am constantly appalled by what fellow travelers consider proper flight etiquette. What are the “must knows” of travel etiquette?
How the times have changed! Flying to visit a friend from one coast to the other is no longer a rare occasion, rather it is becoming the norm. Yet, as we pack every minute of our schedules and rush from place to place with more ease, we lose a sense of respect for the luxury that flying is and we lose respect for our fellow travelers.
Despite flights becoming more affordable, they are still a luxury. How we present ourselves to fellow passengers, and to the staff for that matter, shows respect for the journey. You may not be able to start a revolution, but by following these guidelines you can lead by example. And perhaps, your consideration for others will draw attention and change the ways of a few hooligans.
- Be on Time Nobody at the airport will care if you are running late. Your attempts to push through security, dash through the terminal and bat your eyes at the flight attendants while attempting to cram your carry-on into the overhead bins will not win you friends. Plan plenty of time so that you aren’t stepping over others to make your flight. You’ll be in a better mood and so will everyone you encounter.
- Personal Presentation Flying certainly does not call for black tie, but clean well-kempt clothing appropriate for your destination is a must. If your travel requires comfortable clothing, there are many suitable options without resorting to sweats or torn jeans.
- Food and Beverage Yes, the airlines increased food prices. Purchasing food ahead of time, or packing a snack from home can be the more economical or comfortable way to travel. However, when the smell of your food or noisiness of consuming your food overwhelms every passenger on the flight, you’ve been far too thoughtless. If you chose to bring food onto the plane, consider if it will impose on others. Likewise, consuming an in-flight beverage may help you to relax and enjoy the flight. Be mindful of your tolerance of alcohol, especially at altitude – your mile-high drunken stooper is not enchanting.
- Personal Space Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a first class ticket on a trans-Atlantic flight, personal space is limited on flights. Often knowing your space and maintaining the boundaries will make all of the difference in enjoying the experience. Pack your carry-on luggage to easily fit beneath the seat in front of you and in the overhead bin. Enjoy one armrest to allow others to have an armrest too. If you have the window seat, you may choose whether the blind is up or down during flight but do be aware that your aisle mates may have opinions on the matter.
Most importantly, as you navigate the airport and flight keep others in mind. Stay to the right of the moving walkways and escalators so that those who wish to pass may. Offer to help lift a bag into the overhead storage space. Your kindness and thoughtfulness for others will be appreciated, and making the experience more pleasant for others will make it more enjoyable for you too.