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Airplane Passenger Faux Pas and Holiday Travel Etiquette: Revisited

Hilarie Blaney Modified: July 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm •  Published: October 18, 2011

With the scorching summer winding down and the holidays right around the corner, I find myself with the desire to revisit an area of etiquette we’ve broached on once before: travel etiquette. Recently, I was on a plane and I noticed a few things. Some of these are obvious faux pas; however, some of these I feel are simply being inadvertently overlooked on one’s travels.

Airplane in air, low angle view
Airplane in air, low angle view
  • Timeliness and Anger Management – Like anyone or anything else, planes occasionally run late. While unfortunate, these things happen – but getting grouchy or upset solves nothing. Slamming the window shutter closed or sighing in exasperation at the baby crying isn’t helping anything, either. We are all in this plane together, and only for a short time. I promise you, it will all be over soon; make the best of it!
  • Arm Rests and Leg Room – With whom does the decision ultimately rest? It’s okay for people to get comfortable, but one should also be considerate; share the arm rests with the middle seat and check to ensure the person behind you is not particularly tall before leaning your seat back.
  • Window Seat – Who gets to decide whether the shutter stays open or closed? Must your seatmates in the middle and aisle seats be forced to miss the landing, take-off, or view of the city from above just because you don’t care to see it?
  • Babies – Traveling with children can be a challenge for parents, but it’s a challenge for other passengers, as well. Perhaps there should be a way to designate the seats where a baby will end up, so that passengers might have the option to sit elsewhere.
  • “Raise your seat backs and tray tables to their upright and locked positions.” Why can’t some people hear this request? No one ever does, it seems! They announce it over the speakers twice, only to have to come by and ask you to do it anyway.
  • Cell-Fishness – Tsk, tsk to people on their phones, as well – surely, there is no conversation so important that the rest of the plane needs to hear your half of it. What has happened to privacy?
  • Pre-Plane Cocktails Nervous flyers, I sympathize with you completely. But please, don’t overdo it before boarding the plane – recently, I actually witnessed a passenger be escorted off the plane for rude behavior while intoxicated!
  • Departure – Don’t jump up in the aisle to get ahead of people. It really won’t save any significant amount of time, and it can actually hinder the process of everyone else departing the plane.

Basically, what it boils down to is, be considerate of those around you. After all, we’re on the airplane with you, too.

Whew. What a trip! I think that about covers it.