6 Unspoken Plane Etiquettes Every Traveler Should Know
You don't have to have a guidebook to master these lessons.
A long-distance flight is already a daunting prospect on its own. So it makes total sense to want to hog as much comfort as we can, while up in the air. We all want to feel at home, as we inch closer into new territories. But sometimes in the midst of establishing our “zone”, we forget the fact that we’re sharing our plane ride with many people.While some pet peeves are objectively offensive, others are specks of gray areas that many passengers still don’t know how to address. The common denominator, though, is that every one of us who’s traveled by air has experienced uncomfortable situations, in one way or another. Below are etiquettes compiled after hours of research, culminating in the most basic understanding to uphold: do not unto others what you don’t want for yourself!
#1.Use your own armrest.
Surveys investigating top inflight pet peeves reveal armrest war is one of the biggest issues leaving many travelers, including myself, really peeved. This is because there’s no easy definition on who gets which armrests, rendering negotiation over these surface areas to a political minefield. It’s accepted that those sitting in the window seats gets the window armrests, and those in the aisle seats, get the aisle ones. But who truly gets the two in between? The thing is, we have all unconsciously oscillated between being the offender and the offended. So it’s important to be mindful of your own comfort throughout the flight, while also making sure you are not crossing into anyone’s comfort zone. Any issues of discomfort should be addressed politely via a conversation.
#2. Let your neighbours rest.
Noise equals nuisance, and it’s especially hard to deal with when you are on a long-haul flight.Imagine trying to sleep with all that chatter! Now, if that makes you uncomfortable, be mindful not to do the same. Watch a movie, read a book, or get some sleep, but if you really must talk to the person next to you, keep all conversations steadily low. Indeed it’s hard to contain our excitement about our lives and our unfolding adventures but we can always save the sharing for later.
#3. Earphones exist for a reason.
Extending point #2 is the necessity to know our means to keep it down. Nothing can bring the livid Hulk out of me quite like blasted music on a plane ride, and I’m sure it’s the same for you too! Whether from a phone or a portable speaker, this offense is really unacceptable, given the availability of earphones or headphones for distribution in all airlines.
#4. Everyone likes a clean space.
We’ve all heard horror stories of travelers from hell who don’t and won’t think twice about littering the whole place. No one likes to deal with mess, let alone sit in it for hours. So the best way to nip this problem in the bud is to ensure that you keep your perimeters clean, and communicate defense where it is due. Stash any trails of rubbish in whatever containment you may have, away from view. Call for assistance from the flight crew to help you dispose of any plastic wraps, empty food boxes and crumbles, as soon as you get the chance to.
#5. Wait for your turn.
Admittedly, I have never really faced any problems when it comes to using in-flight bathrooms. But according to reports, queue-cutting is one of the most annoying issues travelers deal with, up in the air. The consensus here is that time line-skipping should only be allowed for those experiencing severe sickness and incontinence. Also, we should all refrain from going to the bathroom for purposes other than to clean ourselves up, as to not hog the facility from others.
#6. Keep your feet on the floor.
The following warning should come emphasised: do put your feet up, anywhere! Not slotted onto the spaces between the front seats, and definitely not on any armrest. Not only is it disrespectful to let others in your surroundings deal with your feet, it is also unhygienic. And if you see anyone doing the same thing, it’s your moral duty to call out on that!
#7. No seat-kicking, please.
It’s not surprising to find out that seat-kicking is also a top offense when it comes to inflight turbulence (pun well intended). It’s truly aggravating to have your rest unknowingly disturbed by a jolt to your reclined seat. Whenever you need to move around and about, ensure that you do so with care as to not disturb others within your 1-meter radius. If you are on the receiving end of this offense, a good way to call out on the situation is to address it directly to the offender, albeit with tact and politeness.
What are some of the most uncomfortable situations you have experienced up in the air? Share your recollections with us in your comments below!