Friendly Flying

All About Airplane Etiquette

flying and traveling, view from airplane window on the wing above the clouds

By Audrey Sellers

The summer travel season is just heating up. If you’re flying the friendly skies, it can help to brush up on airplane etiquette. You know the basics, like having your boarding pass and ID ready and not hogging the overhead bins. But there are many little ways you can make the journey more pleasant for yourself and those around you.

Remember how security works.
Brush up on security updates and have your things ready to go at the security check. After you pass through the body scanner, collect your belongings quickly and step to the side to put on your shoes, belt, and other items.

Be courteous in the terminal.
You’re not in your living room, so don’t FaceTime on speaker or take up all the charging stations in a 10-foot vicinity.

Don’t rush the gate.
Resist the temptation to elbow your way to the front
of the line when the boarding agent calls your group number. Everyone will get to the destination at the
same time.

Keep a watchful eye on your kids.
Don’t let them kick the seat in front of them, scream at absurdly high decibels, or run up and down the aisle.

Nosh nicely. 
A bean burrito or tuna sandwich may be filling and delicious, but it’s best to avoid bringing such foods on an airplane. Good airplane etiquette means steering clear of gas-inducing or smelly foods. Instead, enjoy snacks like granola bars, fruits, veggies, or protein-packed smoothies instead.

Don’t crowd the carousel.
Standing as close as you can to the baggage-claim carousel won’t make your luggage appear any faster. Give other people some room to grab their things. It will make the whole process go much quicker.

It’s fine to recline.
You don’t need to keep your seat perfectly upright your entire flight, but please stay mindful of the person behind you. Consider giving them a heads-up and
make sure you’re not cramping them. If a meal is
being served, keep your seat upright.

The middle seat gets the armrest.
This is one of the unspoken rules of airplane etiquette. Don’t get passive-aggressive here. If you’re lucky enough to have an aisle or window seat, enjoy it and concede the armrest to the person in the middle seat.

The window seat controls the shade.
You decide whether the shade is up or down if you’re seated by the window. To be polite, you can keep the shade up during takeoff and landing. For the rest of
the trip, keep it down — or up — it’s your choice.

Turn off your overhead light.
Please don’t keep your overhead light on unless you need it for reading or some other activity during a night flight. Be thoughtful of the passengers around you who are trying to catch a few Zs.

Cover your mouth.
Face masks may no longer be required, but that doesn’t mean people want to breathe in your exhalations as you hack and sneeze for hours on end.

Keep your shoes on.
As much as you might want to, an airplane is not the place to air out your feet. If your dogs are really barking, try flexing and extending your ankles or doing simple ankle rotations.

The Sky’s the Limit
There’s no shortage of things you can do to be a kinder, more respectful air traveler. Pack your patience and remember the etiquette rules above.  

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