The Unspoken Etiquette for Flying 

Few things in this world are as awkward and uncomfortable as a long flight, and that feeling can be compounded tenfold by rude seat-mates. If you’ve ever been stuck in the middle seat with armrest hogs on either side of you, you know what we mean. We’re aware that our readers are polite and respectful of other passengers, but if anyone you know needs a refresher on airplane etiquette, here is a handy reference; we’re also not opposed to you printing a few copies and leaving them in airports or surreptitiously on the seats of rude passengers.

1.) Keep all articles of clothing on your body
We get that being in tight quarters can make people feel sticky and cooped up, but everyone feels like that, so please refrain from taking off shoes, socks, shirts or belts. No one needs to deal with people airing out their loafers (or sweaty armpits) on their flight.

2.) Be considerate of other people’s space
It’s not fair that airlines cram us all into a 2 by 2 foot space for hours on end, we get that – but it’s certainly not your fellow traveler’s fault, so please don’t try to take up as much space as possible. The unspoken rule is that the middle seat gets both armrests, so frequently check to see if you’re encroaching on that person’s space.

3.) Be a good parent
Nobody can blame a parent for their baby crying on a long flight, but we can give you the side-eye if your kid won’t stop kicking the back of our seat. If you’re a parent, that means you won’t get to rest at all, but it does mean that the rest of the plane won’t clap when you disembark.

4.) Don’t recline in economy
Have you ever been so uncomfortable on a plane, and then reclined your seat back that 1 degree and breathed out a sigh of relief and comfort? No, neither have we, so there’s really no reason to recline your seat in these tight quarters and aggravate the person behind you.

5.) Be a considerate sleeper
If you’re the kind of person who can actually sleep on a flight, good for you! As long as your sleeping isn’t affecting other travelers, that is. There are fabulous pillows you can purchase that allow you to sleep sitting up in just about any position so you’re not slumped and snoring in the lap of a stranger.

6.) Don’t be lazy
If someone needs to get up, don’t do that weird move where you only slightly move your legs over. Be considerate and get up; it’ll benefit you, too, since you won’t have someone’s butt awkwardly shimmying by your face.

7.) Don’t grab the back of seats while walking down the aisle
People who are resting shouldn’t get jerked around because you have to use the bathroom. If you’re off balance, run your hands along the overhead compartments instead of grabbing every seat you pass.

8.) Don’t get wasted
Some people can’t fly without having a drink or two to calm their nerves. That’s completely fine. Don’t, however, show up to the airport reeking of booze and lacking any personal boundaries whatsoever.

9.) Don’t freak out over turbulence
You don’t need to yelp every time we hit a patch of rough air. We’re all a little on edge, and we all feel that way, but we don’t need your constant alarm every time it gets bumpy.

10.) Back off baggage claim
No one is going to run away with your bag, so it’s OK to stand a few feet away from the conveyor belt so others can see and then grab their belongings efficiently.


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