The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Travel

Lately, I have had the pleasure of doing quite a bit of traveling! With each new trip, it always starts and ends the same way… On an airplane. Having been on quite a few the last month, it got me thinking about how we can be courteous while we travel.

  1. Waiting In Line to Board Your Flight
    • Whether you are on a flight with an already designated seat or getting in line based on boarding groups to pick your own seat, we all have to wait in line to get on the plane. When you get in line, be sure not to crowd the people ahead of you, try to squeeze your way to the front, or complain if you end up towards the end of the line.
    • When traveling in a group you would like to sit with but you do not have boarding numbers close to one another, get in line with the individual who has the later boarding number. While you can of course (nicely) ask the person behind you if someone may join you, it is much more courteous to simply let others go ahead of you while you join the line further back. It really is not polite to ask if your 3 friends can all skip the line just because you got the best early boarding number.
  2. Stowing Your Carry-On Items
    • First and foremost, always offer assistance to someone you see struggling to get their bag in the overhead bin.
    • If you need to move someone’s bag a little in order to fit your’s in the overhead bin, ask the person, “Do you mind if I scoot your bag over a bit?” Most people will not have a problem, it’s just polite to ask in case they have something fragile in their bag or are traveling with hanging garments (gowns, suits, etc.).
    • If the flight attendant says your bag will not fit, chances are it really will not. Allow the flight attendant to place your bag in another overhead bin. It is not worth holding up the line of people behind you and potentially delaying your flight from taking off because you tried to play Tetris with the bags in the overhead bin 😉
  3. Being a Good “Seat Mate”
    • You cannot go wrong by starting off your trip with a simple smile and saying “hello” to the person you’ll be seated next to for several hours.
    • If you have a middle or window seat and need to get up to stretch your legs or use the restroom, be sure to ask the individuals closer to the aisle if they could please move for you. “Excuse me, may I please pass you to get out?” is simple and polite!
    • We all like to travel in comfort, but do not get too comfortable!
      • Keep your shoes on. You may think you do have feet that smell, but it’s very possible that you do. Also, some people really do not like feet.
      • If you want to take a nap, be cognizant of your surroundings. Try your very best not to lean on the person next to you. (Travel Tip: Use a neck pillow, it helps to prevent the lean!)
      • Do not bring foods on the plane that have heavy odors. For example, a tuna packet probably is not the best thing to crack open mid flight.
      • Keep the volume on your headphones low. Your seat mate probably does not want to hear what you are listening to especially if he/she is trying to nap, read, or do work.
      • Avoid getting drunk and making your seat mate feel uncomfortable.
  4. Be Courteous to the Flight Attendant
    • Pay attention to the flight attendants when they give the safety instructions. Yes, they are often the same on every flight, but they really are important to know.
    • Listen when they tell you it is time to turn off electronics/stop using certain ones and always be sure your devices are in airplane mode.
    • When the flight attendant brings you a snack or asks for your drink order, always say “please” and “thank you.”
  5. De-Planing
    • We all know the mad rush to get out of your seats as soon as the “Fasten Seat-belt” light turns off, but remember you are in a small area, there really is not a lot of space for you to move. Let the people ahead of you have the room they need to get out of their seats and retrieve their bags from the overhead bin.
    • If you have a short connection time to your next flight, ask the flight attendant during the flight if it would be possible for you to get off the plane before others. Due to a delay on one of my flights, there was a passenger who had a very short amount of time to get to his connection. When we landed and were taxiing to the gate, the flight attendant said, “We have a passenger on board who needs to exit quickly to make a short connection. Please be courteous and allow this person through the aisle before we begin regular de-planing.” If asked this on one of your flights, be kind and follow the request to help the other person.
    • If there is someone who needs special assistance exiting the plane, allow them to go first.
    • Thank the flight crew on your way off the plane.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you head to the airport! Happy travels!

Sparkle On,



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