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February 2, 2016
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February 8, 2016

Airplane Etiquette 101

From Universal Pictures

We have all been there…sitting comfortably in our seat on an airplane when your seat mate comes with a plastic bag full of some food that makes the entire plane smell like a grease soaked kitchen. It may seem like common sense, but people are surprisingly awful sometimes. Here are my 10 tips for basic airplane etiquette.

Airplane Etiquette 101

  1. Don’t try to fit your entire life in to a suitcase that is already bigger than it should be and call it a carry on. Pay the $25 to check it, pack more efficiently, or get an airline branded credit card that gives you a free checked bag. I see this happen literally every time I fly.
    carry on limits

    Don’t be the person who insists on fitting their massive overstuffed bag in the overhead its just bad airplane etiquette

  2. Don’t bring smelly food or smelly anything on the plane. This includes wearing too much cologne or perfume. Nobody wants to smell you or your food, so be considerate. Not to long ago on a flight from Raleigh to Charlotte the woman sitting next to me pulled a lox sandwich out of her purse 5 minutes into the flight. I wanted to look at her and say are you *@$%ing kidding me?! Luckily that flight is only 30 minutes because the smell of her sandwich lingered for the entire plane ride even after it was gone.
    airplane etiquette

    Everyone has sat next to someone like this on a plane

  3. Don’t be obnoxious. Snapping your gum, swirling your ice, chewing with your mouth open, talking too loud, and snoring – again there are 100+ people all around you be considerate. Pro Tip: if you’re traveling alone invest in some noise cancelling headphones they take care of most of the obnoxious noises people make
  4. Respect everyone’s personal space. When you’re walking down the aisle of the plane pay attention to where your bags are. Armrest etiquette that everyone knows, or should know – aisle seat gets the aisle armrest, window seat gets window armrest, and middle gets the two middle armrests. This past weekend my seat mate was super fidgety, and even though his moving arms or legs never touched me it felt like he was invading my personal space.
  5. Don’t recline your seat as hard as you can. This goes with the personal space one above, but it deserves its own call out. If the flight is less than 2 hours, you don’t need to recline your seat. If you do feel the need to recline, be courteous and look behind you to make sure you aren’t going to spill someone’s drink, bash their knees, or worse their head if they are reading something on their tray table. On a flight last year, I had a guy smash my knees before the plane even took off, then proceed to yell at me when I accidentally bumped his seat crossing my legs.
  6. Don’t get up to use the bathroom unless it’s an emergency. If the flight is less than 3 hours, go before you get on the plane. You should be fine unless you drink too much.
  7. Don’t drink too much. It’s fine to enjoy a cocktail or two especially on a night flight or a long redeye, but in the air the alcohol affects your body differently so moderation is key. Don’t forget a few glasses of water too, you get more dehydrated at 36,000 ft.
    Airplane Etiquette

    Don’t be this guy

  8. If you are in group 3 or 4 stay seated in the boarding area until your group is called. With everyone crowding around the boarding area it slows everything down. They have the group numbers for a reason, listen to them.
  9. We know you have a tight connection after this delayed flight, so does everyone else, wait your turn getting off the plane.
  10. Last but not least don’t be a jerk. Seems pretty simple, but I can’t recall how many times I have been on planes where people are rude to other passengers, rude or inappropriate to the flight attendants, or simply lack the most basic sense of how their actions affect everyone else on the plane.

Hopefully these 10 tips will boost your airplane etiquette and make your next flight more enjoyable for you and everyone around you! Happy Travels!


What is the most outrageous thing you have seen someone do on a plane? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Jb says:

    Once had a lady next to me on the plane start clipping her nails. Did not bite my tongue that time

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