Most of us fly. Sure, some of us don’t do it very often, and there are a few of us who are terrified of heights and would never even climb a ladder, much less sail through the sky at 30,000 feet stuffed into a metal tube with a bunch of other people.
However, for the general population who are willing to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice and jet off for business or for pleasure, flying has become such a common thing that they don’t really think much about it anymore. Which is really unfortunate, because that lack of thought means they also fail to think about the proper etiquette while their aboard the aircraft. Here are 17 things that everybody needs to think about each and every time they get on a plane:
1. Your space is your space, and the space for the guy next to you…? Well, that’s his. Or hers. Stay out of it. Keep your elbows, knees, and any other protruding body parts to yourself and make an effort not to spread out so much that you actually touch other passengers. They might not think you’re as much of a hottie as you think you are, and they don’t want you all over them.
2. Stick with a paperback. Don’t bring a giant newspaper, a map, a kite, or anything else that’s going to impinge upon the airspace of the person next to you.
3. If the guy/girl next to you is friendly, talk to him/him. If not, then shut up. Not everyone’s looking for a new best friend just because they happen to be sitting next to you for a few hours.
4. People who use the bathroom a lot should sit on the aisle, not by the window. Period.
5. You might love that hard rock music, but the elderly woman sitting next to you might not. And the little kid on the other side of you? He’s really getting an earful that will be sure to earn his mommy and daddy a lot of looks at the next family reunion. Turn down the volume on your mp3 player and let others enjoy whatever noise they choose for themselves.
6. People with aisle seats don’t get to hang across other passengers to look out the window. If you wanted to see the ground from that far up, you should have asked for a window seat – or packed a parachute.
7. Oh, wow. The guy next to you is reading the hot, new novel that everyone in your office is talking about! He bought it. He wants to read it, not have you eyeballing it over his shoulder. Get your own copy.
8. If you haven’t showered yet, do it before you get on the plane. People don’t want to sit next to you if you stink, especially in tight quarters full of recirculated air. Nauseating.
9. Don’t expect small children to sit silent, hands in their laps, not making a noise for the six-hour flight you just boarded. However, if you’re a mommy, or daddy, or some other person responsible for these children, make some effort to keep them from kicking and pummeling the back of the seat in front of them and yelling at the top of their lungs. It’s not cute, and it’s not funny, it’s just bad manners and bad parenting.
10. You really will get to get off the plane. We promise. You don’t have to stand up the very second that the aircraft comes to a stop, especially if you’re in the back row. Just sit. Breathe. You touched down safely and got to your destination, so just enjoy that. Let the people in front of you get off the plane, and then you get your turn.
11. When you get on the plane, carry your bag in front of you. If you put it over your shoulder and it bounces around and smacks seated travelers in the head, they aren’t going to be happy with you. Keep your luggage to yourself.
12. The food you are served – and some of the beverages – are hot. Don’t yank the foil off and throw them onto your seatmates. They probably haven’t done anything to deserve it. And even if they have, it’s still rude, so try to avoid it.
13. Keep your shoes on. Ditto for your socks. The people sitting around you don’t want to smell your feet.
14. Watch how you dress. If you’re a busty woman wearing a low-cut, tight shirt, people are going to stare at you. If you’re a huge, fat man wearing short shorts and a tank top, people are going to stare at you, as well. If you don’t want to be stared at, cover up a little bit. Dress like your parents were traveling with you, and be courteous. Other people have eyeballs, too.
15. If your aisle-seat-dwelling neighbor is sleeping and it’s becoming an exercise in bladder control for you, don’t try climbing over him. You can pat or touch him gently and say excuse me so that you can get by. Sure, you hate to wake him. Straddling him when he wakes up because you’re trying to get to the aisle would be bad, though. Peeing on him because you waited too long and didn’t wake him would be worse.
16. It’s tempting to play with that window shade, but don’t. Either open it or close it, and then leave it alone. The passenger next to you doesn’t want to keep getting blinded because you’ve flicked the shade up yet again and the sun has smacked right into their eyeballs.
17. Last but not least, don’t be a diva. No matter what your mother, father, boyfriend, husband, etc., might have told you, you’re not better than everyone else and you don’t deserve special treatment. Demanding it is not going to give you what you want, and it’s not going to make you any friends on the airplane. Weather delays and other problems affect everyone on the plane, and they all want the problems fixed. Griping about them won’t change that, so shut up and sit there and wait like everyone else.