Someone once asked me: “This etiquette thing, is there any aspect of life that does not require it?” My answer, even as I laughed, was – “None”.
Decorous conduct will never go out of fashion. So, today, we make a quick run down of acceptable, conventional behavioral tips when flying. Flying is meant to be a fun mode of traveling, but we cannot deny that the associated hassles can bring out the worst from even the most stoic passengers. Things could get even worse as flights get more crowded with increasing seat numbers in the more recent crafts.
Acceptable, conventional behavioral tips when flying:
1 – When in a queue – ticket, check-in or boarding queues – maintain a good demeanour and do not attempt to get ahead of yourself at anytime.
2- Overhead luggage – Stow your luggage quickly and carefully without causing an obstruction to fellow passengers. Stow preferably in the compartment provided for your own seat. Also, in your bid to minimize baggage charges, you might be tempted to bring overweight luggage into the plane for stowing. This is wrong.
3 – Arm rests – Who else is like me and hates the middle seat? This seat affords you no room at all (unlike the window and aisle seats). If I’m your seat neighbour and I’m in the middle seat, please let me use the inner arm rests. Thank you.
4 – Kids – I have traveled a lot with my sons and fellow passengers have given me loads of thumbs up for how the boys don’t never need ‘leashes’ to keep them in check. Kids can be quite a handful. I’ve seen not a few parents battle kids who’ll only run up and down aisles, or scream, or pull other passengers’ hair or clothes, or kick the seat in front of them. It is important for parents to come on board with kids’ toys, books or games – those things they love to be engaged with. Minders should also ensure that kids’ items do not constitute a nuisance to other travelers. What if the disruptive kids are not yours? Well, you may assist the parent when asked. And you may contact the flight crew if it’s all beyond you to handle.
5 – Food and Hygiene – Bringing your own food into an aero plane is not forbidden, but please ensure it is food whose smell is not so strong as to irritate others, and that it is food you can conveniently dispose of. Passengers sit in such close proximity, so the highest level of hygiene is required of you. However, this does not mean emptying your bottle of deodorant on your shirt. Keep your immediate space clean. And the conveniences too!
6 – Conversation – (You may need to leave well enough alone). Passengers personalities are as varied as there are persons that have ever flown. Striking up a conversation with your next-seat neighbour is a matter that should be approached with caution and courtesy. Some people just want to read a book, listen to music on their headphones, or even sleep. You can also politely tell a very chatty mate that you are not in the mood for a conversation. And please, do not be rude to the flight crew.
7 – Playing music – Always remember that the aeroplane’s enclosure is a quiet one, and music issuing from your headset may be amplified as if it is from mini loud speakers.
8 – You want to recline? – Before you perform this simple action which is meant to make you more comfortable, ensure to check the passenger sitting behind you. A six-footer or an elderly lady working on her laptop might be paying dearly for your ease. Be considerate.
9 – Exiting the plane – The same general rules of polite conduct on queues apply here. You don’t just rush off, jump the queue, or bundle people over all in your bid to rid yourself of the plane/airport. Let passengers in front of you off the plane first.
So, whether you’re sitting next to a heavy snorer, or kids around you are screaming at the top of their lungs, patient courtesy must dictate how you relate with everybody you encounter in the course of every flying experience.