Airplane Etiquette 101

I get to travel a lot for my career, and I love it! The opportunity for travel is the biggest reason I got into this profession so many years ago. For the past year, my travel has greatly lessened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but over the past two months my travel has resumed to normal (thank goodness). But with all the time in the air again, it reminded me of how unenjoyable air travel really is and how ignorant people as a collective are to the basics of etiquette. Below are just a few of the things that all passengers should be aware of to make the process of airline traveling a little more pleasurable for all. Afterall, we are all stuck in the aircraft together so why not try to make the best of it.

  • Do Not Remove Your Shoes – Your seat is not your lazy-boy recliner in the comfort of your living room. And if for some health-related issue, you must remove your shoes, under no circumstances should you ever remove your socks. No one wants to see your toes or smell your feet.
  • Crying Babies – Before you get offended let me say, it is not the baby that put this on the list –it’s the child’s caregivers. I get it, they may be hungry, their ears hurt, likely bored, etc., but do not try to drown out their crying by talking over them or better yet arguing with your significant other on how to console them. All this does is raise the chaos level and makes the baby cry louder. No one ever gets upset over the crying baby, it’s the caregiver’s reaction that draws the attention and causes the situation to be much worse than it truly is.
  • Headphones – Use them!
  • Carry-On Luggage – Accept the fact your bag is too big or you packed way too much and allow the flight attendant to check your bag. Accepting defeat would be much appreciated by the 99 people you have backed up behind you watching as you attempt to cram a square peg into a round hole (you get my point)!
  • Seat Assignments – It’s really a simple process. Match the number and letter on your boarding pass to the number and letter above a seat and sit down. That’s your seat for the duration of the flight! This process is the exact same for every airline unless you are flying South West Airlines and then it is even easier. It’s open seating – find an open seat and sit down. It really is that easy! The process of boarding a plane and finding your seat should not require thought or take anywhere near the length of time it does.

These are only a few and likely the most obvious ways of making airline travel more enjoyable. And if you have traveled lately, I am sure there are more you could easily add to the list.

Let’s face it – airline travel is not enjoyable. Period. You’re crammed into a small space with 300 or more of your closest friends while 30,000 feet in the air, given only a sip of water, not allowed to roam freely, and then held against your will for who knows why (because the truth of any and all airline delays (delays are the story of my life) are always treated like a murder mystery). Basically, flying is equivalent to being a part of a herd of cattle at dinner time. And we pay for this treatment? Remind me why again, please? I used to love flying but that was before the experience gave me the same feeling as being herded into a barn at dinner time (not sure exactly what that feels like, but I imagine it to be the exact same).

Times have changed and no longer do the airlines prioritize the experience or do anything to make it more enjoyable. But despite their attempts at making us feel like barn animals, we as a collective can do our part by making it more pleasurable for one another. And maybe one day, they too will once again value the customer, appreciate the business we are providing and strive to make our experience pleasing again. Please consider the basics of etiquette when getting from Point A to Point B. The experience would be so much more enjoyable if people could just be respectful of one another.

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