Airplane Etiquette: 10 Suggestions for Improving the Flight Experience For All

So you are all set and excited for your flight to your destination city. You have checked in a ridiculous amount of time before your flight, and after wasting time at the airport, you finally get to board the plane. As excited as you are to fly, don’t forget some simple common courtesy, or as I call it, airplane etiquette, while on board. In this post I write about some of the biggest pet peeves I have with people on board, and how you can make a difference by practicing proper etiquette. 

1. Don’t hold the back of seats while walking down the aisle to the washroom

This is my biggest pet peeve, and the reason I hate sitting in the aisle. There is always that one person that just has to grab every seat as they walk by to go to the washroom. They act as if they want it to be known they are going to the washroom…again! It is absolutely unnecessary and rude. If you really have to do it, at least pay attention to the people in the seats and don’t grab the ones where people are fast asleep. This happened to me on a flight from Toronto to Santa Clara, Cuba. It was an early morning flight and I had to be at the airport at 4 a.m, so I couldn’t wait to sleep on the plane. Some lady woke me up a number of times, once because she managed to pull my hair as she walked by, another time because she fell on me. 

2. Don’t get up while the seat belt sign is on

Not only is this a safety hazard to yourself, but also to other passengers. The pilot most likely turned on the sign because of bad turbulence, she or he didn’t do it for fun. This is the time that you are more likely to hold the back of seats as you walk to the washroom, so unless you really have to go, be respectful of others and just don’t do it. This is also a more likely time that you will fall over onto another passenger in their seat. 
3. Don’t take off your stinky shoes 

I understand. Long haul flights can be uncomfortable and you want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. If you plan on taking off your shoes on board, at least wear a pair that is not old and stinky. And if you really must wear those old and stinky shoes on board, at least wash them before you do. You might be comfortable but the people sitting beside you will not appreciate your stench. 

4. Have proper personal hygiene 

In addition to stinky feet, take care of your personal hygiene. It is not fun sitting beside someone on any flight, short or long haul, that has poor personal hygiene. I know that this sometimes might be hard on long haul flights, but invest in a good deodorant that will last your journey.  

5. Don’t have a shower with your perfume or cologne 
There are people who are allergic to perfumes and cologne so be respectful of these people and do not spray a bunch on yourself prior to the flight, and certainly not while you are on board. Just because you are in love with the new perfume you picked up at duty free, does not mean that everyone else around you will love it too. 

6. Get up if someone wants to use the washroom 

On a long haul flight, or any flight for that matter, people are likely going to have to use the washroom at some point. If you are sitting in a middle or aisle seat, be courteous and get up when the person by the window or in the middle want to use the washroom. I have been on several flights where people did not do this for me and it was extremely awkward having to climb over them, to which they would sometimes utter out a deep sigh or grunt. If you want to fly like royalty, then cough up the extra money and fly first class. Otherwise pick a window seat in advance. 

7. Don’t sit by the window if you have a small bladder

On the other hand to my last point, don’t be selfish and pick a window seat if you know you have a small bladder and will be getting up every 30 minutes to use the washroom. 

8.  Take a seat 

Many people are repeat offenders of this. They get on the flight and then decide to start going through their bag to pull out what they need. Usually it is only a book, an iPod, or a pillow, all items which you can live without until everyone has boarded. This creates a traffic jam and people then have to wait for you to finish searching for treasures in your bag. If you really must have them the first minute you board, take these items out while in the terminal and carry them in your hand. 

In addition, don’t be one of those people that hang out in the aisle. You are often leaning on other passengers and making them feel like a sardine. 

9. Don’t recline your seat during meals 

Usually flight attendants are pretty good at getting passengers to return their seat in the upright position while they are serving food, but there is always that one person who doesn’t care for others and reclines the seat back as soon as the flight attendant leaves. Don’t be that person. 

10. Don’t be rude and difficult

Don’t be rude to other passengers, and certainly not to the crew members. This can provide unnecessary stress to individuals who are already stressed out. Not everyone on board might be traveling for pleasure so be respectful of that. And don’t be difficult. If someone kindly asks you for something, don’t throw a fit. You are not the only person on the flight. You have the right to decline, but do it politely (i.e. changing seats when you prebooked yours).

What are your pet peeves? 

Is there anything else you would like to add? Leave a comment below! 
Happy Travels Everyone!


13 thoughts on “Airplane Etiquette: 10 Suggestions for Improving the Flight Experience For All”

  1. I would like to add an item. Maybe it was just my luck but I have bad experiences with people who sits in the middle seat using the seat like a bed or fully comfortable leaving both arms on the sides like a king sitting on a throne 😛 and if the person is a bit overweight then it becomes a full nightmare 🙂

  2. "If you want to fly like royalty, then cough up the extra money and fly first class." Simply beautiful *cough

  3. I agreed with Ahmed. So many times I was in position that i didn't have a space for my arms, because of people occupied my space. With longer flight this experiece was worse.

    Great tips Andrea:):):)

  4. I really love reading and following your post as I find them extremely informative and interesting. This post is equally informative as well as interesting . Thank you for information you been putting on making your site such an interesting. First Class Airfare

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