Airplane Etiquette

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You’ve donned your comfiest best looking pants, the perfect shirt, and you’ve got your book in hand. The excitement levels are high and your anticipation is building. All that stands between you and that incredible destination you’ve been dying to visit is a several hours of flight time.


Things may be off to a perfect start and you begin to help someone load up their carry on luggage, but that’s not where it stops. Experts suggest that many people become quite anxious during travel and lose many of their typical manners. That’s why we want to review some key points for airplane etiquette. Your actions set the tone for your travel, along with the travel of those surrounding you.


The first place you should begin is at home. When you are preparing for your flight, make sure that you are showered, wear deodorant, and wear clean clothes. Being in close quarters with limited airflow, is difficult enough without it also being smelly. Respect those around you be being conscious of your body and odors - hold off on the burping and scratching places where the sun don’t shine. Remember, although you may be watching tv for hours and taking a nap you are not at home, you are still in public.


A key to airplane etiquette is understanding space. There is a large number of people crammed in a small space, for many hours at a time. It starts with being aware of how much you bring onto the plane (in terms of your carry on, but also clothes, snacks, etc.) and extends to how much of the seat around you is consumed by you and your belongings. If you have your laptop out, your book sitting on the armrest, and you’re trying to use your neighbors table for your drink, you are not leaving any space for the person next to you.


There are many debates about the armrest rights of the middle seat. According to flight attendants, the middle seat has claims to both armrests. As they are unable to lean left or right, they are entitled to be able to rest their arms at the same time. If you happen to be the middle person whose armrest space is being invaded, politely ask the person next to you if they wouldn’t mind adjusting their arm. There is no need to be rude, but there is no need to be incredibly uncomfortable for your whole trip.


An airplane drinking problem is just as bad as any other kind of drinking problem. Although some international flights give you free booze, getting trashed on a flight simply makes you an annoyance to everyone around and being mentioned in everyone’s travel stories full of the best airplane quotes from the drunk guy two rows ahead. By all means enjoy a drink or two, but be sure that you are not disrupting everyone with your “hilarious” stories and getting up every 20 minutes for the bathroom.


Everyone has their own fantasy of an airplane romance or joining the mile high club. However, the likelihood of that happening is quite slim. When you are thinking of approaching someone, remember that if they reject you it puts them in an uncomfortable position and you have to be in a small space with them for many more hours. If you are planning on approaching someone, be sure to asses the situation and perhaps wait until you are leaving them plane to ask them.


Overall travel is very exciting,  but it can quickly turn sour for all parties involved. Your actions have effects on all the people around you. Remember to act the way you would like others to act around you. If you don’t want someone invading your space and acting in annoying ways, avoid doing that yourself.

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