Proper Airplane Etiquette

You just wrestled your way past the herd of angry travelers at the security check and finally have your seat on the plane. But before you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight, follow these 3 easy do’s and don’ts for proper in-flight etiquette.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #174

For starters, you have to realize that kids do not understand – or fully grasp - proper etiquette when it comes to flying.  So you must help them out. There are two parts to this issue:

  1. For the parent of a child – Consider your fellow travelers and bring as much as you can to occupy your child. We packed an entire carry-on bag of snacks, games, toys, books, and crayons to keep my daughter busy. Yes, she still got bored, but if you offer plenty of choices, it will help to keep the kids occupied.

  2. For the passenger next to a rowdy child – Firstly, understand that a parent would love to keep their child quiet and are trying to. However, if you witness a parent who is completely ignoring the fact that their kid is bouncing off the walls and causing a noisy racket, feel free to let them know, in a friendly way. I advise to try and keep a smile when doing so. This may take a few tries, but eventually, they will listen.

Tip #3 – Realize That Air Travel is Not Glamorous

Unless you’re Sir Richard Branson or P Diddy (or is it Puffy now?) and can fly on your own private jet, you’ll likely encounter the gambit of foul manners, foul odors, and foul food en route to your destination. It’s a nightmare. The seats are too small, the air is stale, and everyone wants to get off as soon as possible. Knowing this, and realizing that you are not in the lap of luxury, could be the easiest way to get through your flight.

It’s like handling an awkward dinner date that you wished never happened: just relax, stay focused, and try to make the best of the situation.  They say that high expectations are the quickest way to disappointment, and air travel is a great example of this.  Don’t expect a gourmet meal - realize you will get a 100 calorie pack of chips, a Dixie cup sized, water-downed soda, and (if you’re lucky) a napkin the size of business card. Don’t expect the person sitting next to you to smell like roses - chances are they will reek of cigarettes and one too many drinks. Also, don’t expect others to grasp manners the way you do. As a dedicated reader, you know more than anyone that poor etiquette in public settings happens everywhere. So, when you find yourself about to rip your hair out because the person next to you will not stop talking, sit back, put your headphones on and just think about the soft landing to come soon.

Do you have a great story about a nightmare flight? Post all the details in Comments below.  As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Check out my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page, follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips.


About the Author

Richie Frieman