When we’re on a plane for hours on end, the last thing we want is to be sitting next to someone who is not respectful of other plane passengers. Or even worse, we shudder at the thought of us being that person that is perceived as disrespectful. Whether you rack up the frequent flier miles, or travel occasionally for business or vacation, following a few simple airplane etiquette rules can not only make your flight much more pleasurable, but a great flight for those around you as well.
Boarding the Plane
There always seems to be a frantic rush as soon as the announcement is made to start queuing and boarding the plane. People from every row and section pile near the entrance, whether their row number has been called or not. The basic rule is this. They call those numbers for a reason — usually to fill the plane from back to front, so the aisle doesn’t get backed up with people trying to access the overhead bins. Try to stick to your row number when called to help ease the boarding process.
Leaning Your Seat Back
Let’s admit it — leaning your seat back on an airplane can provide some extra comfort — especially on long overnight flights. Just remember to be courteous to the person seated behind you. Look behind as you recline to make sure you’re not disturbing them too much, and always return your seat to upright during meal service so the person behind can easily access their tray table.
The Overhead Light
Not a sleeper on the plane? Chances are you’re seated next to someone who is, so always be polite and ask if it’s ok to have your reading light on. Most will be fine with it, and appreciate the concern. Better yet, bring an extra eye mask to pass on to them, or invest in a backlit e-reader that won’t disturb.
The best trick to getting your luggage squeezed into that space? Rather than putting your carry-on on in the compartment horizontal, slide it in vertically (the intended way for the suitcase to fit). This means more space for everyone, and less chance of someone trying to squish their suitcase in around yours.
If you’ve scored an aisle seat it’s always a nice gesture to address the washroom situation with your window seat neighbour. Letting them know to wake you if they need the restroom if you fall asleep on the flight saves them having to wait for a chance, and also the awkwardness of having someone crawl over your legs. Kindness and politeness always wins in this situation.
Waiting for the Washroom
There’s inevitably a line for the washroom at some point during a flight. One thing you might not even notice doing is leaning on the back of the seats as you wait in line, disturbing to the person sitting that seat (especially if they are sleeping). Think of it this way — it already isn’t fun to have the seats next to the washroom and having people pass by constantly — adding in some people leaning on your seat or grabbing at it can make it even more unpleasant.
Even if you’re not napping on a daytime flight and your neighbour is, it’s courteous to close the blind to keep out excess sunlight. It also helps reduce glare on your personal TV screen as well.
Leaving the Plane
Just like boarding, disembarking the plane can sometimes feel like complete madness. The fastest way to get not only you, but also everyone else, off the plane is to again following the row numbers and exiting row by row. Trust us, the more people who do this, more will follow suit. And always remember – everyone on the plane needs to get somewhere on time.