Airline Passenger Etiquette: Making Travel Easier with Courtesy and Respect

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As airlines cut back on flights and people carry on more baggage due to the charges imposed on checked baggage, it’s more important than ever that we remind ourselves that we are only one person on a flight of many. It would help all of us to cope better if we acted with courtesy and respect toward our fellow passengers and the crew.

  1. Security: When you are getting ready to go to the airport please dress to expedite the security process. Do you really need 8 pieces of jewelry, or 3 belts on from the time you dress to the time you go through security? Remember, you can always put those things on after security.
  2. Cell Phones: When you are on the phone try to speak softly; when we are asked to turn off electronic devices, including cell phones, please turn them off. We are rather egocentric to think that our phone call is more important than the lives of the other passengers and crew. And we are really egocentric if we think that we know better about the interference level of these devices than the airlines themselves.
  3. Do not put your food tray up when it is dirty, ask the flight attendant for assistance if you cannot clean it with your napkin.
  4. Be careful with your carry-on baggage as you walk down the aisle, so that it does not strike any one.
  5. If your bag does not fit in the overhead compartment, please do not leave it for the flight attendant. This only delays the flight for everyone.
  6. When you get up from your seat, please do not grab the seat in front of you unless it is empty. Use your own body strength or your own seat if you need support.
  7. If you are too large to fit in one seat, please purchase two seats. It is not appropriate or fair to lift up the middle arm rest to provide more room for yourself…unless of course you are getting romantic with your partner. ☺
  8. If you smoke, please recognize that the smoke residue stays on you and you bring that on the plane with you. Take a moment after smoking to use a wet wipe or wet paper towel to wipe off your hair, and clothes to remove smoke residue. A breath mint is always helpful.
  9. Be sure your neighbors cannot hear your head phone volume.
  10. Remember that there are people in the seats in front of you and behind you so please do not put your feet on the seat back in front of you; if you are going to recline your seat all the way back, please let the person behind you know before you push it all the way back. 
  11. If you are sitting in the bulkhead, please do not put your feet on the wall in front of your seat.
  12. Generally, it is not appropriate to climb over people to get to the aisle. If you are sitting in the aisle seat and decide to sleep,  please let the people in the middle and window seats that it is okay  to wake you up or climb over you (if that is your preference) if they need to get out.
  13. Allergies: People have allergies, please be sensitive to these circumstances. Wear a limited amount of fragrance, if any at all.  Be careful with food you bring on board, especially nuts or other common allergens. As said before, if you are a smoker, wipe the residue off before boarding the plane. If you travel with a pet, the pet needs to stay in the carry-on at all times.
  14. If you know that you snore, bring the remedy with you if possible.
  15. Children/Infants: When babies fly, they will cry. Typically, it is because the pressure in their ears becomes uncomfortable (that is why they will stop suddenly as soon as the pressure eases). Adults know how to equalize the pressure (swallowing, holding the nose closed and pushing air out), but babies do not know that. It helps to have the baby drink something during the pressure changes. It will not help to glare at the parent or make sarcastic comments; babies cry, you did too, let it be. Use it as an opportunity to practice your coping and self soothing skills.
  16. Do not drink to excess; you may think you are a funny drunk, but you are the only one who does. Do not drive after over consuming alcohol on your flight.
  17. When the flight ends, thank your personal omnipotent that you defied death once again, then wait for the signal from the flight attendant (usually the fasten seat belt sign is turned off) before getting up. 
  18. Be careful when opening the overhead compartments and removing your luggage.
  19. Wait for the rows ahead of you to clear before moving your way toward the exit; almost everyone today has a flight to catch or an appointment make.
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