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Flying 101: Our Guide to Airplane Etiquette

Travel means adventure! But to get there, you’ve got to board a tight airplane space with a bunch of strangers for hours on end. How do you get through it with your sanity?

There’s a right way and a wrong way to be an airline passenger. All you have to do is follow some airplane etiquette to ensure you, and everyone around you has a great flight.

Let’s look at the Flying 101 of Airplane Etiquette you need for your next adventure.

Board the Plane Prepared

People have places to go and other flights to catch. So nothing is more annoying then boarding a plane with someone who is taking their sweet time.

When boarding time comes, make sure you’re prepared. Have your documents out and ready to scan, so the line keeps moving smoothly.

Also, have your carry-on items ready to store. Don’t take forever to situate things in the overhead bin, stand in the aisle to take off your jacket, then hold everyone up longer to retrieve the book you forgot to take out of your bag.

Doing your part to make sure your flight takes off on time is the right thing to do.

Use Your Indoor Voice

We’ve all experienced this passenger… the one who’s had a little too much to drink or is a little too excited about their travel plans. They’re talking loud enough where everyone in the plane can hear them.

Don’t be this person.

Airplanes are small and uncomfortable enough. There’s no reason to be loud and disrupt everyone around you. The only person who needs to hear your conversation is the person you’re talking to.

Remember what your mom always used to say – use your indoor voice.

Be Mindful of Reclining

Recline or not to recline? That has become a controversial topic among frequent fliers. While you have your right to comfort in such a tight space, so does the person behind you.

Many people choose not to recline out of respect, simply because they hate having it done to themselves. But if you must kick back, there are some reclining rules you should follow.

Never recline during mealtime. Shoving the tray table into your fellow passenger’s chest is not cool.

Always look behind you before you recline. When it’s clear, avoid a sudden jolt by slowly reclining your seat. And only recline as much as you need to.

Keep Your Shoes on – Please

It’s a part of plane etiquette that’s a little hard to believe we have to discuss. Yet, it’s a more common problem than you might think.

Taking your shoes off during a flight is a no-no. We’ll also take it one step further to say you should keep your socks on as well.

Sure, we all want to be comfortable while traveling. But keep in mind that you are still in public while on a plane and not sitting in your own living room.

Seeing a stranger’s feet, even if socked, is largely considered gross. Even more so if the feet smell, for that reason, keep your shoes on until you reach your destination.

Don’t Hog Overhead Bins

We get it; overhead bin space is prime real estate on a plane. You much rather stash all your carry-on items up there rather than take up foot space under the chair in front of you.

But if everyone has that mindset, there won’t be enough overhead bin space to go around. Which delays the boarding process, could make you late, and leads to frustration.

Be sure you store smaller carry-on items under the seat in front of you. If that option suddenly makes you feel claustrophobic, try to pack lighter.

Packing lighter won’t only help you on the flight; it makes the airport shuttle experience at your destination more comfortable as well. This article will give you tips on that.

Middle Seat Gets the Armrest

We all know the middle airplane seat is the least desirable one on the plane. With that in mind, airplane etiquette dictates you give the middle seat person one small luxury – the use of the armrests.

It’s the only decent thing to do, right? The aisle seat person gets the aisle armrest and the open space to get up when they please. The window seat person gets the window to look out of and a wall to lean up against when napping.

The middle seat person has nothing else but the armrests.

Make their flight a little more comfortable. Keep your elbows in your own space and on your own armrests, please.

Keep Chatty Neighbors at Bay

It never seems to fail; you settle into your airline seat, ready to silently get the flight over with when your neighbor sits down and won’t stop talking.

Chatty seatmates are always a flying risk. But there are ways you can handle it without being rude or off-putting.

Smile and allow your neighbor to talk a bit. After a few minutes, politely say, “If you don’t mind, I have some work I need to get done” or “I have some sleep I need to catch up on before we land”.

If you want to avoid that conversation altogether, board the plane with headphones on. Whether you’re listening to anything or not, your neighbor won’t know the difference.

Don’t Bring Smelly Food Aboard

It happens, you’re running late for a flight and need to grab a bite to eat. Or you hate airline food and want to bring your own goodies with you.

That fast food fish sandwich may hit the spot, but that doesn’t mean the other 200 people onboard your flight will appreciate it.

Avoid bringing smelly food onto any flight. The odor will carry in the small cabin space more than you realize. If you’re hungry, have your takeout be something cold.

Become a Model Passenger with Proper Airplane Etiquette

Make the most of tight travel space. By following these airplane etiquette tips, your next flight will be smooth sailing.

Once you’re back from your trip, need something to do around the Malibu area? Check out our calendar of events!