AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW

By: Chelsea Brinkley + Save to a List

These are the things everyone should know when it comes to airplane etiquette.

Did you know there’s airplane and airport etiquette? Ok, so it may not be posted as a sign anywhere but it does exist! It’s one of those common-sense things or so I thought. 

 

When you travel lots as we do, you start to realize there really is an etiquette to airplane travel… and a lot of people don’t apparently know it. These are the things I think everyone should know (and let’s be honest, actually do) when it comes to airplane etiquette.


HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW…

 

STAND UP AND INTO THE ROW

  • If someone from your row needs to get up to use the restroom, don’t make them do an awkward crawl over you while trying to not touch you. You know how small the space is, right? Stand up like a decent human being.

NO SMELLY FOOD ON THE PLANE!

  • When packing snacks for your plane, ask yourself “will this smell in a very small, confined space with recycled air?”


THE PLANE IS NOT A SALON

  • No clipping your nails, painting nails, or spraying perfume/hairspray. A plane is not the place to do those things.

 

DON’T GRAB THE BACK OF SEATS AS YOU WALK DOWN THE AISLE

  • The only exception to this is if you’re older and need to for stabilization.

 

IF YOU CAN’T LIFT YOUR OWN BAG, DON’T CARRY IT ON 

  • Please don’t put the burden on other people to lift your bag for you to put it in the overhead bin. Plus, if it’s too heavy for you when trying to deplane, it may fall on someone’s head. Rule of thumb: If you can’t lift it, check it.
  • The exceptions: if you are pregnant, elderly, or have an injury


BE THOUGHTFUL OF THE SEAT IN FRONT OF YOU 

  • Don’t kick the back of the seat in front of you (or let your kiddos) or even lean your knees against it (yes, they can feel that too).

 

THE ARMREST BATTLE 

  • The person in the middle seat gets the armrests on their left AND right. This is their only privilege for being stuck in the middle seat so just give it to them.

 

THE CORRECT WAY TO EXIT THE PLANE

  • When the plane lands and that seatbelt sign goes off, do NOT jump up and into the aisle pushing your way forward. You’re not going to be the first off the plane when you’re in row 20. You should exit the plane row by row. And please don’t push your way forward before it’s your rows turn.
  • IF the plane was delayed and you’re worried about missing your connection… kindly inform the flight attendant and more than likely they will make an announcement asking everyone to stay seated unless you have a tight connection.


SOCKS AND SHOES NEED TO STAY ON DURING THE FLIGHT

  • If you want your toes to have more freedom, you should wear sandals. Do NOT take off your socks and shoes – the airplane is not your living room and no one wants to smell sweaty feet.

 

DON’T BE AUDIO INSENSITIVE

  • This means don’t talk loudly on your cell phone during boarding or right when you land. No one needs to hear any of your family drama or your business deals – it’s not the place for that.
  • Don’t listen to your music so loud that folks next to you can clearly hear it through your headphones.

 

DON’T FALL ASLEEP AND LEAN ON THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU (UNLESS YOU KNOW THEM AND THAT’S OKAY)

  • If you know you snore, consider not sleeping on the plane


DON’T SAVE THE MIDDLE SEAT

  • If you’re flying on Southwest Airlines, don’t be that person who puts their bag in the middle seat acting like someone is already sitting there hoping no one will take that seat. This is especially the case when the flight attendant has just said it is a fully-booked flight and every seat will be taken.

 

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

  • It’s tempting because everyone is so close together, but don’t look at the person’s stuff next to you (like when they have their laptop out, book, magazine, etc.)

 

BE KIND TO FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

  • I can’t believe I have to even write this but I’ve some people being rude to flight attendants treating them like they’re your personal assistant there to serve you and only you. They’re not. Please be kind and have grace – they’re trying to assist hundreds of people at once.

 

RECLINING YOUR SEAT

  • I’m on team “it’s okay to recline your seat” with some exceptions… Look back before you recline, and if you see someone has a baby or dog on their lap, don’t recline. If the person behind you has their laptop out, please oh please just let them know you’re reclining your seat with a simple heads up so you don’t slam into it.


PUT YOUR CARRY-ON BAG IN THE AREA ABOVE YOUR SEAT

  • If you’re seated in the middle or back of the plane, DO NOT throw your carry-on bag into overhead bin at the front of plane as you are boarding. I know it makes it easier for you to grab your bag quickly as you exit, but it also means the people who were supposed to put their bags there above their seat now have no space to do so and have to put their bag much further back. Now they’ll have to weave through people in the aisle to go back and grab their bag in order to exit. This wastes much more time.

 

ONLY PUT YOUR CARRY-ON BAG IN THE OVERHEAD BIN (NO EXTRAS)

  • We’ve all experienced when people who boarded earlier fill up the entire overhead bin space. Along with their carry-on up there, they put their backpack, coat, etc. They don’t put anything under the seat in front of them which then means when the last group boards, they have nowhere to put their carry-on bags because jackets and backpacks have wrongly filled up some overhead space. ONLY put your carry-on up there!


AND WHEN IT COMES TO THE AIRPORT, THE BIGGEST PIECE OF ETIQUETTE ADVICE…

Don’t herd around the baggage claim conveyor belt! Back up and leave a few feet of space so folks can actually see and grab their bag.


That’s all I have right now. Do you have any big airplane or airport etiquette tips!? Comment and share them with us!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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