The essentials of in-flight etiquette


Some people enjoy flying a great deal: Whether on a business trip or headed for a tropical destination, such individuals remain thrilled by the air travel experience for its duration. Others are the exact opposite, and suffer through the hours spent on an airliner only out of necessity because they can't get where they want to go in a timely fashion any other way.

But regardless of your personal feelings about flying, you can and should always endeavor to be polite and courteous throughout every part of the flight process, from the security checkpoint line to stepping down to your destination. Today, we'll take a look at some of the best practices to make your next last minute flight a more bearable endeavor, for the airliner's crew and your fellow passengers, as well as yourself. Exhibiting consideration and composure while in the air will make the travel experience that much better - even for those of you who hate airplanes.

Be mindful of your seat - and your neighbor's 
In a guest blog post for Entrepreneur magazine, digital transformation strategist and frequent business traveler Maurice Freedman stressed how important it is to be careful with your own seat, especially when you recline. Take a quick look at the passenger sitting directly behind you and make sure they don't have food and drink - or a laptop - in a position where your seat-back will disrupt whatever they're doing and make a mess.

Don't forget about the person in front of you. If you aren't careful extending your tray table, this can jostle that passenger's seat, as can using his or her seat-back to support yourself when you stand up to use the restroom. You wouldn't want anyone messing with your seat in this way, so be considerate about everyone else's.

The essentials of in-flight etiquetteBeing mindful of others' seats is an essential part of airplane etiquette.

Avoid phone use if possible
While on a business flight, you might receive a call you can't afford to miss. Or an emergency might occur while you're bound for a vacation. But unless something on that level of seriousness is happening, don't make or take any calls, as TripSavvy recommended. If you must, be sure to speak softly and don't take too long.

Exercise caution with your food
According to Thrillist, air travelers should avoid hot meals entirely due to the smells many of them produce, all of which will be doubly pungent in the enclosed, compressed atmosphere of a commercial airliner. Freedman, in his Entrepreneur article, takes this dictum a step further and advises against bringing any food on the plane because of the potential for making a mess as well as the smell.

Tide yourself over with a snack of some sort if necessary, but all things being equal, you should take the time to eat in the concourse at your point of departure or arrival if possible. Or better yet - wait to reach your destination where you can enjoy a real meal in a setting where you can't disturb anyone's in-flight experience.

Treat the flight crew (and everyone else) with respect 
Perhaps you're one of the aforementioned folks who hates flying, but you're traveling to an important industry conference and serving as the face of your company. Just because you recognize the necessity of the trip doesn't mean you're at all happy about the whole "being on an airplane" part of the experience. This is completely understandable - but it's also no excuse for speaking or behaving in an unpleasant way toward anyone.

Entrepreneur made a point of recommending kindness toward the flight crew. People in the hospitality industry have to be polite as part of their job description, regardless of the passengers' moods - even when most of them are behaving atrociously. With this in mind, don't risk making their day any harder with a bad attitude, disruptive behavior or even constant requests. Request only what you absolutely need - otherwise, wait for them to come to you and take your snack or drink order.

As far as your fellow passengers go, however, being tolerant doesn't mean grinning and bearing it when someone nearby is acting horridly. Thrillist recommends speaking calmly to such a person, especially if you're informing them of a disruptive child. (If it's a kid, trust us: Their parents are definitely aware.)

If you sense that a situation could escalate into a real argument, back off and let the flight attendants handle things. The crew has probably noticed if a dispute between passengers has gone truly pear-shaped.

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