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10 Airport and Plane Etiquette Tips

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

1. Weigh your bag before going to the airport: If your bag is overweight (50 pounds for most carriers), you will be forced to shuffle items around between your suitcases. This holds up everyone behind you waiting to check in. Buy a simple luggage scale so you can weigh your suitcase at home. This is the one I use. It has lasted for years and they make great gifts for the seasoned traveler in your life.

2. Remove all metal items from your clothing before you enter the security line if you know you are wearing something that will beep. I have my go-to “day of” travel outfit that I know will make it through security without setting off alarm bells. Part of my air travel “uniform” includes no jewelry. I keep these items in a small bag in my purse so I can easily put my jewelry on after I get through security.

3. If you did not have time to eat before arriving to the airport, grab a bite once through security, but try to finish your meal before boarding. Airplanes consist of re-circulated air and cramped quarters. When you bring your food on the plane others will have no choice but to inhale the smell of your half-eaten pastrami sandwich! If you simply must bring a meal with you, try to consume something mild that does not insult the olfactory of those around you (a bagel and cream cheese is a much better choice than your sandwich piled high with sauerkraut).

4. Once you board the plane and find your seat, always greet the person sitting next to you. If you do not wish to carry on a conversation throughout your flight, after greeting them and getting settled, plug your earbuds in as this will be a visual sign that you are out of commission.

5. The overhead compartment above your seat is the storage area you should use, and the space under the chair in front of you is for your smaller items.

6. As a vertically challenged female I appreciate how difficult it can sometimes be to get my bag in an overhead compartment. If you see someone struggling, offer to help.

7. Always use headphones when listening to music or watching a video. No one wants noise pollution.

8. Know where your personal space begins and ends. If you are in a window seat, you get the window and the armrest next to the wall. If you are on the aisle, you have the space in the aisle and the armrest by the aisle. If you are the unfortunate traveler stuck in the middle, the good news is you get both armrests!

9. Be aware of your hygiene! Shower before you hop on a plane, use deodorant, make sure your breath smells nice, and leave off the perfume/cologne. Oh….and please don’t take your shoes off midflight! No one wants to smell stinky feet, and most toes are not cute!

10. If you need to recline your seat, do so very carefully and only go back as far as you need. Yes, we have the right to recline, but it’s almost always unpleasant for the person behind us. Just be cognizant of who is behind you and how you are affecting their comfort.

Bottom line, when it comes to airport and plane etiquette, treat others like you wish to be treated. Knowing you will never see that person again does not excuse poor behavior. Remember, our manners are really nothing more than a condition of our heart. Be patient, kind, and respectful in all circumstances. You will feel better about yourself and so will those around you.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou


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