Flying Etiquette – 10 Tips to Remember

flying etiquette

Flying can be one of the most stressful times for everyone involved. You’re crammed into small areas with strangers, you’re shuffled like cattle through security and you’re often navigating through unchartered territory. Stressful situations such as these tend to bring out our ruder sides, so it’s imperative to be prepared. Follow these 10 tips to help you handle flying with grace and ease.

1. Patience patience, especially in line.

It can feel like a race when boarding the plane or going through security. When there’s hoards of people we naturally want to get through as quickly as possible. However, it’s far better to avoid the stress of trying to be first and just go with the flow. You’ll get checked in, you’ll get your seat. If these things really do stress you then be sure to arrive early enough to give yourself time.

No matter how much a rush you are in don’t yell or be pushy. Understand everyone is trying to get somewhere. As hard as it may be, take a breath, suck it up, and be patient.

2. Prepare for the security check.

We all know how involved security checks can be now-a-days. There’s no avoiding them, but it’s best to prepare to make the process as quick and pain free as possible. This means wearing easy on and off shoes; removing your jacket, bulky metal accessories, electronics and items in your pockets as quickly as possibly; and having your ticket ready if any checks are required. It’s simply about being alert and prepared. You don’t want to be one of those dawdlers holding up the line as they’re sorting out their liquids.

flying etiquette

3. Avoid smelly snacks. 

Whether while waiting in the terminal or particularly once in the plane, it’s kind to avoid strong smelling foods. It’s not pleasant for those around you and it’s also important as you may be speaking with people in close quarters and want to avoid bad breath.

4. Don’t wear heavily scented perfumes or lotions.

For similar reasons for avoiding smelly snacks you also don’t want to go overboard on your perfume or lotions. No matter how much you love a perfume you never what allergies people may have or if someone has an aversion to a certain scent. Anytime you’ll find yourself in compact areas it’s wise to go lightly on scent.

5. Keep the lavatory how you found it.

This should be obvious, but try your best to keep the toilet and sink clean and tidy. It’s a small area and water can tend to splash about. You mustn’t give it a thorough wash down but giving a gentle wipe to the sink where any water may have spilled is polite to the person coming in behind you.

6. Be mindful of chatting.

Chatting on a plane can be a blessing or a curse, although more often than not it’s the latter. You can offer a friendly greeting as you both sit down, but don’t initiate a full blown conversation unless they truly seem eager and are generous with their replies. If someone is bothering you and you don’t wish to chat simply reach for the good old book trick, or for a modern day version throw on some headphones. Chatting can be a nice way to pass the time, but it can also be tiresome particularly when it’s a long flight. It’s just important to tread lightly and read the signs your seatmate is giving.

If you and your neighbor do wish to chat it’s kind to keep you voice to a quiet level. People around you may be trying to rest, sleep or work. Nobody wants to hear you ramble on for the full five hour flight.

7. Sharing the armrest.

Oh the dilemma of the armrest, who shall be the lucky one to claim it and how shall the decision be made? If it’s a three seater then it’s typically polite to allow the person in the middle to have first dibs as they are the unfortunate being stuck in the middle. If it’s a two seater then the middle armrest goes to whomever claims it first. If nobody make a move you’re certainly free to grab it, but in this case I like to remove my arm after some time so give my neighbor another chance to make use of it. You don’t want to seem like a hogger.

If you are using the armrest be aware not to hit anyone with your elbows. If someone is hitting you or invading your personal space and you can’t ignore it any longer try to confront it with a very light humor. The last thing you want to do is cause a fight on a plane. If that doesn’t work seek a flight attendant to resolve the matter.

8. Keep to your area.

Yes you can get up to stretch your legs, it’s important actually. However, you shouldn’t be wondering all about the cabin. Stay in your general area and keep you movements slow and steady. You don’t want to make people anxious by pacing up and down the aisles.

When you are in your seat try to keep your belonging confined to your own area. Keep your bag under your seat and any other accessories on your lap or to your side of any tables.

flying etiquette

9. Be considerate to the fight attendants.

By this I simply mean be aware and and be polite. Besides for the basic please and thanks you’s, you can do little things to make life easier for both the attendants and for everyone on board. For example if you’re in the window seat hand them your finished beverages and meal trays so they mustn’t reach over the other passengers. Or when it’s food service time, try to use the restroom when they’ve already passed you or are far enough away so as not to block the aisle.

10. Be mindful of personal hygiene.

If it’s a long flight or you’re riding in business or first you may be taking your shoes off. If this is the case be sure to wear socks as bare feet may not only disturb people for personal or hygienic reason, but some feet tend to smell.

You’ll also want to minimize any extreme primping or grooming. Absolutely no cutting nails, nails painting, any nail maintenance. You can add some touch ups to your face, but for anything more involved take it to the restroom. You don’t want to risk spilling any product on your neighbors.  The same go for hair. If you’re going to be doing a full brush out take it to the bathroom. You don’t want your stray hairs being scattered everywhere.

And last but not least, be mindful of your scent. We’ve discussed not over doing it with perfumes but you’ll want to be sure you’re wearing deodorant and perhaps pop a breath mint here and there. It about keeping a neutral non offensive scent.

HOMEWORK: What’s one tip you can use to improve your flying etiquette? Have you ever run into any terrible behavior while flying? Let me know in the comments below!


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