Air travel used to be lots fancier; travellers of yester-years made effort to actually dress-up for their flights. They will board the aircraft with a slight jaunt in their steps, huge smiles on their faces, lots of excitement in their hearts; with the anticipation and expectation of being welcomed warmly by the flight attendants and being served delicious warm meals while flying. What not to love since lobsters used to be served on flights – yes lobsters!
Air travel has lost its glitter but your air travel etiquette doesn’t have to. What’s more annoying than to find fellow passenger stretching out his legs on the headrest of the seat in front. Even worse, a news made round recently; someone was trying to dry his undergarment under the aircraft air vent fixed above every seat! Oh yes, course these are the over-the-top flying blunders; but the little ones we subconsciously do on board a flight sometimes can be disturbing too.
Let us take a look at some ways on how to be on your best behaviour while cruising at 43,000 feet. After all, the sky’s the limit when it comes to preserving humanly etiquette.
Do not talk too much. Try not to be a chatterbox – know when to talk – when to pause – when to stop. One of my pet peeves is getting a neighbour who starts talking as soon as I rest my back on the seat. This person will talk about anything and everything without hitting the pause button. If you are anything like me, I value my personal time (and space) while travelling; respect that.
Respect the space of those around. I was on the way to the States recently and while waiting for boarding, noticed fellow passenger bringing with her a cabin-sized suitcase, huge paper bags containing last minute airport shopping, a baby bag with baby’s necessities and of course, her baby. How she even managed to be at the boarding gate is beyond me. Do not bring into the cabin more than what you can manage. Imagine filling up the overhead compartment with all your belongings; leaving nothing much for your fellow travellers; not to mention the fiasco you are creating while trying to juggle all these into the aircraft.
Another way of respecting those around you is when travelling on a coach, try not to recline your seat all the way; this diminishes a good chunk of space for the one behind you. Also, try to adhere to the proper timings of reclining; lift your seat to its proper position while the meal is being served; this definitely will give much better space to the one behind. Oh and yes, always look before reclining your seat. You do not want the one behind to be soaked in café au’lait just because you decide to recline during his coffee moment.
Alcohol. Try not to drink too fast to max out on what is allowed on the flight. I know its part of the fare that you paid, however, that does not make it necessary to gobble up everything. Sitting next to a boozy-woozy in a cramped metal tube, high up in the sky is really not fun.
Travelling with a child. Make sure he or she does not continually kick the seat in front. If he or she does it, apologize and keep an eye on your child. A little tip from this Mamma – pre-boarding bribe or pre-flight pep talk usually helps.
Communicating with Flight Attendants. Ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers is a flight attendant’s utmost priority; try not to take too much of his / her time. There might be other passengers in a much dire need than you. Be reasonable, practise courtesy always and don’t forget your THANK YOUs.
Scents. Dousing too much perfume before or on flights is not a good idea; someone might have an allergic reaction. Also, limit the use of medicated oil while flying; something that soothes you might be of annoyance to others.
Sounds. Nothing like listening to your favourite songs while flying; keep the volume on your earphones down. Your tune of choice might not be the cup of tea of other fellow passengers.
Footwear. If you are to adhere strictly to the rule of travel etiquette, shoes are to be kept on throughout the whole duration of your flight, however, should there be a need to remove your footwear, the next best option is to at least leave your socks on; never barefoot.
Wake your seatmate-up. Before making a beeline to the bathroom, make sure you wake your seatmate up; do not just squeeze through. Isle seating passengers, you have the obligation to make things easier for the middle and window-seated mates. So before you reserve your seats, decide which role are you most comfortable with.