A friend and Clise Etiquette Facebook fan asked me about airplane etiquette. She had just returned from a Thanksgiving trip overseas and had experienced some rude behavior on the plane.
It’s stressful traveling. We now have to submit to either a revealing x-ray or being intimately touched by TSA. We wait in line and wait some more, and upon boarding the plane we sit in a small space crammed next to strangers. So the more we can do to be courteous and helpful the better for all. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Help with bags
If you see someone struggling with putting their bag in the overhead compartment, help them. There have been a few times when I’ve had a hard time hefting my bag up into the overhead cabinet and I’m always grateful when someone helps me get it in or out.
Who gets the armrest?
I’m often asked who gets the armrests on either side of the middle seat. Those who get stuck in the dreaded middle seat will be happy to know that they get both armrests. The people who sit in the window seat and the aisle seat get the outside armrests. The middle seat person can decide if they want the armrests up or down, but it’s courteous to alert your seat mates that you are putting them up or down so you don’t pinch them or surprise them. And, if you do put the armrests up, be careful not to “invade” your seatmates’ space. You still need to sit within your alloted space.
It is no fun getting whiplash as someone grabs your seat-back when they stand up or sit down. Be mindful of not yanking on the seat in front of you as you get in and out of your place.
When meals are served, it’s hard to eat when the person in front of you has their seat reclined. It is courteous to put your seat-back up when meals are served so that the person behind you can eat without having your chair-back in their face.
You may have been flying for hours, stuck in a small seat and you’re anxious to get off the plane as soon as possible. However, be mindful that there is a system to disembarking the plane – it’s row by row. As your fellow travelers get out of their seats and into the aisle, give them space and time to get their luggage out of the overhead compartment. Don’t push in front of them. Be patient and wait your turn to disembark. I know, I know, you’re just dying to get to the baggage claim so you can wait some more. I admit it, I’ve been guilty of it too.
That’s it for now. Are there other airplane etiquette questions or pet peeves you have? See if you can stump the etiquette consultant.