Flying can be exhausting and stressful, especially if you travel more than the average person. However, selfish and inconsiderate people often make the experience even worse! In an effort to combat this, experienced fliers met in an online discussion to reveal rules for being a courteous flight passenger. Following these unspoken rules will make all our flights infinitely less stressful.
1. Don’t Cut the Line After Landing
Remember: It’s not a race to see who can get off the plane fastest after landing. Don’t be “that person” who tries to march to the front of the aircraft immediately upon reaching the gate. Wait your turn; use the skills you were taught in kindergarten and exercise patience. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with an entitled passenger.
2. Recline Slowly
I know it seems impossible, but reclining your seat can be accomplished without using the force of a thousand powerlifters. By reclining gently and slowly, you’ll spare the person behind you from having a heart attack because you decided to recline furiously on a whim. Plus, this method will spare a lot of people’s laptops.
3. Don’t Save Seats
One of the perks of flying Southwest is they don’t have assigned seating, making the booking process more manageable. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost: Many people save seats, which enrages other passengers. “Trying to save seats on Southwest Airlines is a total jerk move,” declares one frequent traveler. “If your companion is too cheap to pay for priority boarding, that’s on them.” It’s puzzling that Southwest doesn’t take a firm stance about seat-saving.
4. Only Bring Non-Stinky Foods Onboard
Be considerate with the food you take with you on the plane. Celery sticks? Perfect. Crackers? Even better. A greasy bag of McDonald’s? Not great, but not terrible. However, anything stinkier than fast food is not welcomed on the flight in the eyes of your fellow passengers. I’m sure you make a great homemade tuna salad sandwich, but please spare us all the smell!
5. Keep Your Hands off the Window Shade
I remember being shocked the first time the middle seat passenger reached over me in the window seat and opened the wind shade while I was sleeping. To say I was aghast is the ultimate understatement! “Do NOT touch someone else’s window shade,” reveals one woman. “If you wanted the ability to close or open it, you should have booked the seat.”
6. Use Deodorant
While smelling “natural” is an acceptable way of life for millions of people, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to wear deodorant when you’re jam-packed into a metal tube for a few hours. Even a little deodorant goes a long way; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat beside an exceptionally smelly person and spent the entire flight praying I wouldn’t throw up. When around people, do whatever you can to ensure you smell good.
7. Wear Headphones
Nobody wants to hear what YouTube videos you’re watching, which game you’re playing, or what song you’re listening to. Traveling in a plane is no different than traveling by public transportation; keep your headphones on and be courteous to your fellow passengers! Trust me, you’re doing everyone a favor.
8. Be Polite at All Times
Inevitably, you’ll be approached by a fellow passenger inquiring about switching seats with them. Surprisingly, the conversation often turns contentious, so you must keep calm. One person sums it up perfectly. “Unless it is an absolute emergency, do not cop an attitude when someone does not want to change seats with you,” explains one man. “It’s okay to refuse to switch seats, but you don’t have to be mean about it.”
9. Don’t Steal the Armrests
The most well-known unspoken rule in air travel is that the middle seat takes command of both armrests. Countless travelers have unanimously agreed to decree this, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. Middle-seat travelers don’t have many perks; the least we can do as a society is grant them access to both armrests!
10. Keep Your Shoes On
For the love of all that is holy, I can’t stress this enough: Keep your shoes on. To take this rule further, please never clip your toenails during a flight, either. “The guy next to me took his shoes off this morning, dug his nails under his toenail bed creases, and began cutting his toenails,” one man disgustingly remembers. “I had to get up to sit in the bathroom and returned to my seat full of stray nail clippings.” Gross!
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