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16 Plane Etiquette Rules We Should All Be Following


When you’re taking a trip and flying on an airplane, most people are focused on the service that they receive and the treatment that they might have to deal with in lines or going through security. Most people don’t stop to consider what actions they should be taking to ensure that they have proper airplane etiquette.

Did you know that there was such a thing as airplane etiquette? These are little rules to keep in mind to make it easier for all the people you deal with during travel from security guards to flight attendants.

Most people are pretty aware of the basics, but then there are still those people who make inappropriate jokes, are unhygienic, or do something silly to slow down the lines.

Here are 16 unwritten airplane etiquette rules that you should follow the next time you’re going to be flying.

1. Skipping in Line: Even though the lines can get pretty long, it’s important to stay patient. You might be able to cut it if you’re late for a flight and you get emotional, but this puts the person at security in a difficult position. They can either say no and end up looking like the bad guy or say yes which makes other customers think it’s okay to cut in line.

2. Be Patient with the TSA Agents: Sure, they can get a bit curt sometimes, but it’s only to keep the lines moving! They deal with annoying people all the time. They have to repeat themselves and deal with complaints about having to remove shoes and take laptops out of bags. Just do as they say quickly and efficiently and it will be smooth for everyone.

3. Bin Efficiency: When you’re putting your carry-on into the bins at security, try to contain it to just a handful. You don’t want to be the guy that has 20+ bins which end up clogging the end of the conveyer belt.

4. Luggage Responsibility: If you’re traveling alone, it’s your responsibility to watch your stuff. Never ask a stranger to look after your bag even if it’s just to go to the washroom. Other people traveling don’t have the time to accept the responsibility of your luggage.

5. No Hot Food: There’s nothing worse than the strong smell of someone’s fast food clogging up the limited air space on a plane. Never bring hot food of any kind onto an airplane.

6. Only bring a bag you can carry: This is pretty self-explanatory considering it’s called ‘carry on.’ If you can’t lift your bag you could drop it and put other passengers at risk and you also can’t rely on some other person to lift it for you.

7. Switching Seats: Don’t be the jerk that separates a child from a parent or a sick/elderly patient from their caretaker. You are morally obligated to switch seats, especially in these situations.  

8. Reclining in Economy: Although many people break this rule, try not to recline that much especially if seated in economy class. You set off a chain reaction of pain and cramped knees behind you. If you have back problems, turn around and ask the person behind you if it’s alright to recline.

9. Middle Seat Armrests: Let’s face it: the middle seat sucks. Whether it’s a car or a bus, but especially in an airplane. This means that the two on either side of this person must respect the fact that the middle armrests are for the middle passenger only. That’s literally the only thing they have to get comfy.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.52.23 AMRachel-Lee Thomas

10. It’s Okay to Say Something: Don’t complain about a crying baby, because there’s nothing that can be done about that. However, if there’s a child that is misbehaving or kicking your seat it’s totally alright to say something to the parents.

11. Don’t Wake Your Neighbor: You’re not responsible for the person sitting next to you. This means you don’t have to wake them up when food comes by or to ask for a pen. Unless you’re getting up to use the washroom, don’t wake your neighbor.

12. Step Into the Aisle: When you’re on the aisle seat and someone wants to get up, don’t just half stand up and force the person to brush past you. Step into the aisle so that they can pass by with ease and do the same when they return.

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13. Grabbing the Seat: Although it might happen once or twice accidentally, try not to grab the back of the seats when you’re walking through the aisles. Your fellow passengers probably don’t want to be shaken around each time you pass and it could even make someone nauseous.

14. Go Easy on the Alcohol: Some people might have a drink or two to ease their nerves when they’re traveling, but try and keep it professional. Don’t get so drunk that you’re a nuisance to the flight attendants. Also keep in mind that the high altitude causes the alcohol’s effects to become more powerful, so go easy.

15. Bare Feet: Don’t expose your bare feet in the aisle. Surprisingly, many people are disturbed by the sight of bare feet and it’s also not the most hygienic thing in the world.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 12.01.24 PMRachel-Lee Thomas

16. Don’t Rush When Exiting the Plane: After a long flight, the first thing everyone wants to do is get off the plane. Don’t be the jerk who pushes and cuts in line trying to exit first. This process always takes a little while as everyone gathers their belongings and exits, just be patient and follow the line.


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