January 20, 2015

Airplane Etiquette: 12 Rants

How about a little airplane etiquette?

Surely my readers don't commit any of these blunders, so my suggestion is to print a copy of this to bring on board. This works especially well because those who have a lower airline status tend to be more unaware. Slip this in a seat-back pocket in the row in front of you before the others board. This paragraph won't (shouldn't) print with the rest of the page.

Here's my rant for the year.

# 1 - Avoid cologne and perfume. Many people, like me, are actually allergic to cologne and perfume. Our sinuses get stuffy, we get a headache, and our eyes start to itch. Very uncomfortable for a flight of any duration. Use Beano®. Use deodorant. But don't try to mask it with cologne.

# 2 - Before reclining your seat, look back first to see if you're going to squash a laptop or bump a head. Give a polite warning. Then recline your seat back SLOWLY.

# 3 - Don't flop down in the seat. Doing so can crush whatever is going on behind you.

# 4 - Don't punch the seat-back display. The person in front of you can feel the lightest taps through the headrest.

# 5 - Similarly, the person in the seat in front of you can feel everything you shove into the seat-back pocket, especially if you let the elastic on the net snap back. (I'm a big offender for this one. I'm working on being more considerate.)

# 6 -The middle seat armrests belong to the guy in the middle seat. The window seat has an armrest by the window… AND the window. The isle seat has an armrest at the isle… AND the isle. The only thing the dreaded middle seat has is… nothing. Give the poor sap in the middle a couple of arm rests.

# 7 - Ugh, a plane full of roller-bags. I wish the airlines would charge for carrying on more than 1 item and for any item that's the size of a roller-bag. Checking bags should be free. Come-on people. Let's travel light out there.

# 8 - The window seat has the prerogative to raise or lower the window shade as desired. Still, it is polite, but not required, to consider the others. Lowering it a little is kind if others are watching a movie, using their laptop or sleeping. Raising it for someone reading a book is a kind gesture. If you aren't by the window, ask very kindly if you'd like the shade adjusted.

# 9 - Turn off the ringer and alert tones on your phone. Completely. There are enough dings and beeps on the plane. We don't need phones beeping and dinging for every email that arrives and meeting that we are missing. Keep your reminders to yourself.

# 10 - Unbelievably, I see people play movies, games and music on planes without headphones. Some yack on the phone loudly while boarding, sometimes even on speakerphone. Use headphones. Speak softly.

# 11 - Pay attention. If you intend to wrap up in a blanket or a big coat and sleep, ensure that you haven't thrown the end of your cover over onto another person.

# 12 - Sometimes flight attendants will suggest we stay seated after we reach the gate to let those with tight connections off first. Certainly, if we're arriving late, I support that. If we're arriving on time, I'm not so sure. I don't have a lot of sympathy for anyone booking a flight that doesn't give them sufficient time to make their connection. I should probably rethink that. There could be people who got a tight connection because of some other canceled or delayed flight, or some fault not of their own. Yeah, it's good to be considerate.


Bring an orange. Eat it on the plane. The smell of citrus is most often welcome on a flight.