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Rules of travel: flight etiquette

After taking a fair few flights in my time I feel quite confident in this post on how  to observe perfect flight etiquette and be a delightful traveller for your fellow plane companions. I can’t believe some of the things people do on planes (and life in general!) and will admit I love the Instagram account @passengershaming that highlights some of this madness. I am a firm believer in each to their own and all that but come on people the majority of these are just common decency

1.Don’t jump the boarding queue

One thing we English folk pride ourselves on is an orderly and well-mannered queue but it’s funny how that goes completely out of the window when waiting to board a plane especially you always get your seat in advance now. I know there’s a risk you might not get your luggage in the overhead locker directly above your head if you wait (more on that later) but there really is no need to push in front when in a queue nor is there the need to use said luggage as a tool to aid this process. On my recent flight to Berlin, suitcases became crucial in the boarding fight with people literally ‘curling’ theirs into position to beat others to their desired queue spot. If not being first on the plane upsets you that much and you don’t want to queue politely then pay for speedy boarding, get priority with an airline membership or upgrade…or borrow a baby or small child and you’ll be one of the first on for sure!

Wait your turn...

Wait your turn…

2. Don’t take up unnessary room in the overhead lockers

Of course you can put your luggage up there, your airport shopping and even your coat/jacket/scarf/hat but there’s no reason why your coat needs to be taking up precious locker space where another suitcase or piece of luggage could be. These items can be folded and put on top of your own case or hung off the back of seat in front of you, or on a hook if there is one (not behind you!) or do the decent thing and wait until everyone has got their cases in and see if there is room for your extra bits.

Obviously this is not ok... via @passengershaming

Obviously this is not ok… via @passengershaming

3. Don’t have your music too loud

So you’ve settled in and starting to enjoy the journey. You may want to watch a film, read a book or listen to some music. That doesn’t mean just because you want to do something that everyone else wants to do the same as you. Hearing other people’s music when I am trying to sleep on a plane is a huge annoyance, by all means have it loud enough for you to hear but it doesn’t need to be audible to half of the economy section. Invest in some good headphones and you won’t have be the problem nor will you be distracted by any other sounds as the noise-cancelling ones are truly fantastic.

Invest in some good headphone

Invest in some good headphone

4. Don’t recline your seat on a short-haul flight/before and during the food on long haul

Let’s face the facts most of us will be travelling economy when flying (unless you’ve bagged a free upgrade, saved enough points or splashed the cash) meaning that every inch of precious leg room counts. My biggest bug bear on a short haul flight is when the person in front of me decides they ‘need’ to recline. Sure I would love to recline too buddy but I am not going to because it would deny the person behind me of their already distinct lack of leg room space. I am so glad that some of the low-cost carriers have completely removed the ability to recline as it just ensures the peace is kept on an already tense packed economy flight.

Long haul seat reclining can be problematic too, I’ve been sat behind way too many people who think it is perfectly acceptable to recline whilst mid-dinner service! Meaning you the poor soul with already limited leg room now has to eat with the tray table sitting closely upon on your chest, whilst they are reclined in extra leg room Cleopatra style grandeur.  If you really want to tackle this issue once and for all then invest in a pair of knee defenders, however be careful as some carriers have banned them due to the arguments they have caused. Once the trays have been taken and the tea/coffee served then it’s perfectly acceptable to recline and doing so can often have a welcomed domino effect down the rest of the plane. On a night flight you will of course want to recline and get yourself comfy for a sleep but make sure you’ve visited the facilities first!

5. Don’t step over people to get out of your seat/make people have to do this

So the meal has been served, the cabin lights dimmed and the majority of your fellow passengers are getting ready for an uncomfortable bit of shut-eye. This is the perfect time to make any visits to the facilities as you don’t really want to be the person who has to wake up the 2 people in the row next to you to get the toilet once they’ve just nodded off. If you’ve left it too late then don’t make the mistake of thinking you are limber enough to climb across fellow passengers without them noticing…they will wake up and you will be embarrassed. If you’re lucky enough to be in the aisle seat and don’t have to think about making such an exit plan don’t be a complete moron and think just swivelling your legs to the side to let someone out is enough, it’s not. The right thing to do is to stand up, regardless of what you are doing, step out into the aisle and let them pass like a human being should be able to do.

6. Don’t start your full beauty/personal grooming regime mid-air

I love nothing more than being able to take off a face full of make up on a flight, slap on some moisturiser so I can enjoy the flight without feeling like my face is about to crack. I also then reapply some quick make up before landing, generally I try and do this in the toilet if I can or discreetly at my seat.Any thing to do with cutting or painting your nails is a definite no-no as is deciding to give yourself a full blown pedicure. There’s a reason personal grooming is called just that, it’s supposed to be personal i.e done in the surroundings of your own home not in front of strangers on a plane.

No need to get all your stuff!

No need to get out all your stuff!

7. Don’t take your socks off

This is one is for your own benefit not just that of others. If you want to take off your shoes and be comfortable then of course knock yourself out but removing your socks is just not needed. Who is to say that the person who visited the toilet before you is as neat and tidy when they sit or stand and their aim might not be quite as good as you’d like, meaning that the floor you’ve just walked onto with your bare tootsies may be a bit slippery if you know what I mean!

8. Don’t put your feet up on the seat or tray-table

So many pictures on the Passenger Shaming site are of people sharing their bare feet with unsuspecting other passengers. Toes popping up between arm rests, feet resting on the bulkhead next to you or tootsies on your tray-table. I have no idea why people think this is acceptable as surely they would find it weird if they were on the receiving end of a strangers foot appearing in their personal space.

I shouldn't really have to say anything...

I shouldn’t really have to say anything…

9. Don’t be rude to the crew

The primary role of the cabin crew is to ensure you safety in the event of an incident whilst on board, the fact they serve food and the tea/coffee is secondary meaning you shouldn’t be rude to them if your meal option runs out. The amount of people I have seen kick off at the crew for something like this makes me upset. I know it’s frustrating for you that the chicken or whatever your first preference is no longer available, but it’s not the crews fault instead complain through the proper channels when you get home – you’ll probably get some air-miles as compensation.

10. Don’t leave your rubbish

Again another shocking sight at the end of flight when disembarking is the amount of rubbish around some seats, I can’t believe people feel comfortable with leaving their rubbish behind in such a way. I know you are paying for a service and all that but as I said above the crew are there for your safety, not to clean up after you. They only get paid for the duration of the flight, not any cleaning or even delay time and more often than not the plane you have just been on will need to be turned around quickly to go return elsewhere or where it originated. So when the crew come round asking for rubbish hand it over, or press your alert button and ask them to collect it – I am sure they would much prefer this than having to clear up after you later!

Horrific and totally uncalled for...via @passengershaming

Horrific and totally uncalled for…via @passengershaming

I hope you find these little tips useful, I know we are all able to make our decisions in life so some people may not agree with any of these but the majority of them really are just common decency for your fellow man or woman! Happy flying!

Has anyone ever had to deal with any of the above on a flight? What did you do?





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