Airplane Etiquette

Posted on 10/25/2016

Many people will be heading south this winter for their annual or long awaited holiday. Most will be travelling by plane, which can be the most difficult part of the trip. One reason for that is that there are some people who have annoying habits that can create stress for other passengers.
Aisle or window? Some people like to have a window seat to lean up against to chat a bit of sleep or because they want to see the view. However, if they need to take frequent bathroom breaks, they can be an annoyance to the others seated in the row. On the other hand, if the person in the aisle seat falls asleep as soon as the plane leaves and stays asleep for the entire flight thereby making it impossible to get out, his fellow travellers could be in a state of near bladder bursting by the time the plane lands. If it is necessary to get out of the window seat during the flight, use the sides of the headrest for
support, not the top. Pulling on the top jerks the seat and sometimes I have even had my hair grabbed.
Who gets the armrest? My theory is that the person at the window has a little extra room and gets the left arm rest, the person on the aisle has room to their right, and so the person squished in the middle should get both the right and left armrests. Can you tell this is usually my seat?
Seats on an airplane are meant to recline is it appropriate to recline the seat. On an overnight flight, after meal service when the lights are dimmed, there is no reason not to recline the seat. Reclining the seat during meal service will pretty much ensure that the person behind will be wearing some of the meal. When a seat is reclined, it feels as if there is more room, but it is at the expense of the person seated behind. Try not to recline all the way to leave some space for the six foot four person cramped in an already tight space. Asking the person behind if it is alright to recline is a thoughtful gesture.
Remember when your children were little and sitting behind you in the car and their feet would be kicking the back of your seat? A word from Mom or Dad and the kicking stopped. Unfortunately it is not so easy when this is happening on a plane. On a 10 hour flight home from Greece, my seat was kicked for hours. Mom was sound asleep and two young children were left to their own devices. Knowing there was a language issue, I eventually enlisted the assistance of the cabin staff to speak to the children.
A good pair of earphones is a must. Frequent travellers use noise cancelling ones so that they won’t have to listen to the person two rows ahead who has had a couple of drinks and is loudly regaling his travelling companions with hilarious stories, or the person with their music turned up so loudly in their headphones that you can sing along.
Remember that the flight is part of the holiday experience, lose the stress, treat people as you want to be treated and look forward to the destination when the plane lands.