Rules Of Flying


Planning, packing, and dealing with TSA at security checkpoints is stressful enough. You can only hope your fellow travelers don’t add to the unpleasantness. Frequent flyers may already understand the unwritten rules of flying that guide our airport behavior. If you’re new to air travel, read on to avoid being the rude one on the plane.

Space Isn’t Just A Word

Be mindful of the space you are taking up and don’t be afraid to speak up about your own. The middle seat gets both armrests. Look behind before you recline, and go slow. Place your bag in the overhead bin in a way that takes up the least space possible. If it’s too big, it goes under the seat in front of you. Bring a travel pillow so you don’t fall asleep on your seatmate, and keep your feet and elbows to yourself.

Stop And Smell The . . . Passengers?

In an airplane cabin, smells matter. Shower, brush your teeth, and be sure to apply deodorant before you board the plane. On the flip side, be aware that some people are sensitive to certain fragrances and chemicals. Do not load up on the perfume or body spray. You could set off someone’s allergies or give them a migraine.

Hear What I’m Not Saying

Over 76% of travelers prefer to keep to themselves on a flight. If your seatmate is wearing headphones or reading a book, they are sending a clear signal that they would prefer not to be disturbed by small talk. If you’re the one wearing headphones, check that your volume isn’t high enough to disturb your neighbor. See the next slide for tips on keeping children from adding to the noise pollution.

Little Ones In Flight

Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Parents, bring along some toys and snacks to distract your munchkins. Encourage yawning, chewing gum, or drinking to relieve ear pressure at takeoff and landing. Don’t let your little angel kick seats or pester passengers. And if you are seated near a child, give the parents a break. They’re probably doing their best.

The Two Most Powerful Warriors . . .

. . . are patience and time, according to Tolstoy. Be respectful of other people’s time. Have your ticket (and passport, if necessary) in hand as you approach the gate. Start emptying your pockets as you approach the security checkpoint. Keep things moving efficiently.

On the other hand, have patience with your fellow passengers. Help someone if they are struggling with their luggage. Wait patiently to deboard the plane in an orderly fashion. Leave some space between yourself and the luggage conveyor so everyone can get their bags as they pass.