Airplane Etiquette: 101

By Sharon Glickman, US Daily Review Contributor

Tis the season for travel, and bad moods, headaches, and jet lag if you’re a brave one who doesn’t mind the hassles of airports during the holidays! Since I so often travel during the year for work, I try to stay home with family and friends when I can, and this year is no exception. But, I do know that many of you will be hitting the road for vacations and family visits so I must address some of the basic rules of airplane etiquette. Let’s call it our 101 primer!

I won’t retell some of the numerous stories we’ve heard this year about bad behavior on airplanes because I don’t wish to give more ink to those naughty (and perhaps criminal) folks. Whenever you share your space with dozens or even hundreds of other people there are certain basic principles you must adhere to and certain behaviors you must forego. Airplane travel is certainly efficient but it can be terribly stressful and holiday crowds and tensions do not help matters. So I ask all of you to think about these travel etiquette tips before you board a plane to your next destination!

  1. Always be freshly bathed and properly groomed but do not wear perfume or cologne!
  2. Do not bring on board any food items that have a strong odor – again, watch the smells!
  3. Make sure your carryon really is just that and not a suitcase that you didn’t wish to pay luggage fees for – this is becoming more and more of a problem on all airplanes.
  4. Do not recline your seat if there’s a space challenged traveler in the seat behind yours – do those extra few inches really make that much of a difference?
  5. Wait to disembark if you’re loaded down with kids and bags – clogging the narrow aisle is always inconsiderate
  6. Obey the flight attendants’ orders and turn off those electronic devices and raise your seat tray – again, thoughtlessness is rude and inappropriate
  7. Don’t sleep if you’re a chronic snorer – it may seem unfair to you but it’s the polite thing to do in a crowded space
  8. Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze – is there really anymore to say on this subject?
  9. Keep your voice down and lower the sound on your headphones – a nearby passenger may be resting or totally uninterested in your choice of conversation or music.
  10. Get an aisle seat if you know you’re a frequent bathroom visitor – especially during longer flights.
  11. Carry clean-up wipes and use them to wipe down the armrests, seat trays, and your hands – this isn’t you being a germaphobe but it is you being prudent because no one wants to get sick on holiday!
  12. Let the person sitting in the middle seat use the armrests – it’s only fair and wouldn’t you want the same treatment?
  13. Don’t get annoyed at kids on the plane. You were young once, too! And, any parent will tell you that they are the ones who are most embarrassed and uncomfortable with a cooped-up child on an airplane.
  14. Don’t talk the ear off your seatmates – polite chit chat when you first sit down is fine, but most people prefer some alone time in the midst of the travel crush.
  15. Enjoy yourself as much as you can because you are on your way to your holiday vacation!

And finally, be polite and courteous to those around you. Travel can be very stressful and especially during the holidays when people are already struggling to get to their destination with their sanity intact. A smile and a few nice words are always appreciated so try to remember to do both the next time you board a plane. Airplane etiquette 101 is a simple way to be a better traveler during the holidays and all year long!

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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