Airplane Etiquette

How To Behave While Up In The Air

Posted by Liz Taylor Sep 15, 2011

Etiquette in the Air

It’s very common that many of us have clients or family across the country making travel a few times per year necessary. Whether it’s for work or for fun, it’s important that you know some basic rules of airplane etiquette.  Brushing up on these quick tips will help make flights more enjoyable for you and your fellow passengers, while ensuring you have complete confidence in those awkward “the guy next to me won’t stop chatting!” moments.

  1. Don’t wear your pajamas.  You never know who you are going to meet on an airplane. You might run into your future employer or a potential client. Ditch the sweatpants and dress to impress; pick something that’s comfortable and professional at the same time.
  2. Personal Hygiene. Please remember to shower before your flight. These are tight quarters!  Also, try not to take your shoes off unless you are 100% certain that your shoes don’t smell.
  3. Boarding the Plane. Only board when your section has been called.  Don’t chat on your cell phone as you’re waiting in line as it’s rude to those around you.  Board quickly and please carry your bag in front of you as you walk down the aisle so you don’t accidentally hit those who are already seated.
  4. Stowing your carryon. Stow your belongings adjacent to where you are sitting so other passengers can do the same. Position your carryon so that it takes up the least possible space. If you need to move someone’s belongings to make room for your own, politely ask them. Put your jacket or coat on top of your carryon so you don’t take up the whole bin. Also, try not to make a fuss if there isn’t room for your bag and you are asked to plane-side check it.
  5. Do you tend to frequent the restroom? It’s a pain for your seatmates to unbuckle their belts, move items from their tray and stand up to let you out. If you know you tend to frequent the restroom, please try to select the aisle seat when you’re booking your ticket.
  6. Keep yourself in your seat. Don’t let your knees or legs go into someone’s space and watch your arms too. The unwritten rule for armrests: the passengers in the window and aisle seats each get one armrest and the poor person stuck in the middle gets access to both of the others. Bottom line- no one wants their space invaded by a stranger on a flight.
  7. Respect your seatmates’ personal space. Refrain from bringing a large newspaper or any other item that may creep into your neighbors’ space while on the plane.
  8. Don’t be too chatty. Let’s face it, some people love to get chatty on a flight and it can be a big turnoff to passengers around you. If you’re in the mood to chat, remember that many people think of flight time as a great opportunity to catch up on many tasks. If your seatmate appears to be interested in conversing, watch your volume so those around you can read, rest or work. Likewise, if you’re the victim of an overly chatty neighbor, it’s not out of line to give them a cue, such as opening a book or even putting in earphones, to show them that you’re not in the mood to chat for the full flight.
  9. Music. If you listen to music on the plane, keep the volume down; nobody enjoys hearing the beats from your favorite hip-hop song coming from their neighbor’s headphones.
  10. Eavesdropper. Don't read from the laptop or magazine that the man sitting next to you is reading.  Keep your eyes to yourself and read your own materials. 
  11. Flying with Kids. Kids will be kids, but it’s the parent’s responsibility to keep their childrens' feet and hands off the back of the seat in front of them. It can be aggravating to have your seat kicked, punched and slapped for three hours while mom and dad don’t say anything. Also, sometimes this can’t be mitigated, but please do your best to keep your kid from crying or screaming.
  12. Recline back slowly. It can be quite painful to have the person in front of you recline back quickly particularly if you are tall.
  13. Watch the PDA. Even if it’s your honeymoon, public displays of affection with your significant other can gross others out.
  14. Exiting the aircraft patiently. Refrain from leapfrogging past the woman in front of you who is slow to remove her luggage from the upper bin. Also, if you are in seat 37A and row 5 is departing the plane, you don’t need to stand up. Wait to stand until appropriate so people aren’t stuck looking at your backside.

 As always, please let us know if you have any airplane etiquette questions that we can help with.

Enjoy your next flight!

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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