Everyone knows that when you’re traveling in airports, on buses, and on airplanes – you’re bound to interact with someone who needs a lesson in courtesy. Traveling is stressful. And while that’s no excuse, people could stand to treat each other today with a little more respect and courtesy. Here are a ten ways you too can be a more courteous flyer:
Don’t block main thoroughfares and walkways
When on the moving walkways, please stand on the right and walk to the left. Other people may be in a hurry and need to pass. Also, don’t block walking areas in terminals. Many times, I’ve seen families walk 4-6 across and block the entire path. Walk 2 abreast and please, don’t stop to talk in the middle of the terminal. Pull aside to stop.
Know the rules of security before you fly
There are always people in airports that don’t fly often. For knowledgeable travelers, it’s never fun to be the person behind them while they go through security, completely clueless. If you’re uneducated about the new security protocols, please go to the TSA website and learn all about what you can and cannot bring through airport security. Your fellow passengers will thank you.
Don’t bring smelly food onboard
Yes, I know. Airlines have scrimped and stop serving meals on most domestic flights. Most people now bring their meals on board to keep the “hangry” away. But please, avoid food with strong odors. There’s nothing worse than sitting near someone with some kind of fish, spicy Tex-Mex, curry, or food drenched in garlic and/or onions. You end up smelling it the whole flight.
Get everything you need out of the overhead bin at once, before the flight
It’s never fun to be the person in the aisle seat (or middle seat) that has to get up three or four times, to accommodate their seat mate who has to get to their luggage. Avoid the hassle of making everyone get up and down, just to put something away. If nothing else, at least try to time it with a trip to the restroom at the same time.
Go Easy on the Alcohol
No one wants to be flying next to or near someone who’s had a few too many. Not only will you reek of alcohol, but your behavior may become an issue (whether too obnoxious, argumentative, or giggly). Let’s not forget about the possibility of getting sick. For the benefit of all travelers, please, just don’t overindulge.
Airlines keep making their seats narrower and our leg room smaller. Because of this, more and more people need to recline. It’s never fun when you have a passenger in front of you fully recline suddenly, as soon as the plane is in the air. Please check behind your seat first and avoid reclining if the person behind you is elderly, pregnant, or extremely tall. If you have to recline, gradually recline your seat to not surprise the other passenger (or simply ask them!). Also, if you’re awake during beverage/meal service, you will want to put your seat back up as not to inconvenience them.
If you listen to anything on a personal device, please use headphones! Also, please don’t be that person that blasts your music to ear-splitting levels, making the rest of us listen to it too. Whether on an airplane, on a train, or sitting at an airport, if you are sitting next to people for extended periods of time, please use headphones and don’t max out your volume.
Practice good hygiene (and keep your shoes on!)
Since you know you’ll be sitting very closely to people on an airplane for a few hours, please practice good hygiene. On the other hand, don’t bathe yourself in cologne or perfume. Either ends of the extreme can be equally noxious. If you’re a person with sweaty and stinky feet, you know it. Please don’t make us have to endure the smell of your feet by taking off your shoes during a flight. If there’s a chance you’ll want to take your shoes off, at least wear moisture-wicking socks and apply some foot/shoe odor spray or powder before leaving for the airport.
Don’t get mad at crying babies
As a parent myself, I know what it’s like to fly with infants and small children – it’s extremely difficult. Most of us parents try to do anything and everything to keep our babies from crying. Personally, I was more upset by my child crying than anyone else around me. I know it’s a nuisance! (If it might bother you, be sure to pack headphones or ear plugs.) The parents you should be upset with are the ones that don’t keep an eye on their older kids, let them run down the aisles, or kick the back of your seat. When the children are old enough to behave and don’t, it’s the parents’ fault. But for the babies, give them some slack and empathize with the parent. They feel worse than you do.
We travelers are ALL going somewhere important. We all need to exhibit patience, understanding, and courtesy to each other. Besides the obvious, this includes:
- Not putting your coat over the back of your plane seat. This blocks the screen or tray table for the person behind you.
- Not obnoxiously laughing at whatever you’re watching on-screen.
- Giving the middle seat passenger both armrests. The window seat gets the window and wall. The aisle seat gets the aisle to stretch out. The middle seat….well, the middle seat should get both of the armrests. It’s only fair.
- Not talking loudly while on your cell phone. People shouldn’t forget to use a quieter voice when taking calls before and after the flight.
- Just be nice! Travel would be all around easier if people were simply kind, patient, and polite.
These were the best tips I could come up with for being a courteous flyer. Did I miss any? What annoys you while you travel? Let me know in the comments!