Travel Tips: Airport Etiquette

Lately, I have found myself spending a lot of time in airports/on planes. These opportunities for travel have not only been fun, but also taught me an awful lot about travel etiquette. With all I have learned, I decided to write a follow-up to “The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Travel” to give you a few more travel tips!

Photo Credit: NT News

Photo Credit: NT News

  1. Be prepared for the security line. We know it is coming… The moment you have to go through the metal detector/scanner, so why not be ready for it? Often times, the security lines can be long leaving us to stand there with nothing to do. Rather than using our phones and strolling along until we reach the scanner, let’s use this time to start preparing for the security check.
    • Throw away your water bottle/beverage of choice.
    • Remove your coat, sweater, scarf, etc. and hold it while you walk.
    • Take off your heavy jewelry/watch and your belt.
      • Personally, I leave a small jewelry bag in my purse or carry-on when I travel so when I get to security I can put all my things in that little bag and secure it in my own carry-on instead of using the small tray/dish security provides. Also, this allows me to go straight from security to my gate without having to stop to put everything back on, I can do it at my gate instead. Travel Tip: A small plastic bag works just as well 😉
    • Have your ID and boarding pass out so you can hand it to the TSA Agent right away.
    • If you are traveling with a laptop, put it in an easily accessible place so you can take it out quickly for the security scan.
    • When you get to the scanner, do not rush the people in front of you. Be patient and wait to place your things on the scanner belt.
    • Once you have cleared the scanner, pick up your things and step aside. In most airports, they have benches very close to security so you can put all your belongings away and accessories back on you.
  2. Do Not Hog the Plug! You know which one I mean… The incredibly coveted electrical plug to charge your phone, iPad/tablet, laptop, etc.
    • First and foremost, be sure to charge your electronics before leaving home. This will prevent you from having to search the terminal for an electrical outlet or charging station.
    • If you really need to charge your phone/electronics before your flight, use any free plug you can find or wait patiently for one to become available. If you have to wait, stand near the charging station and wait your turn. Do not stare down all the people currently using the charging station hoping someone will give up.
    • When using the plug/charging station, do not use the electronic device you are charging unless it is an emergency or absolutely necessary. If other people are waiting, using your device while it charges only makes the process take longer. Be considerate of the others in line.
    • Use one plug and one plug only! Do not plug-in your personal phone, work phone, iPad/tablet, and laptop all at the same time. It is inconsiderate to those who are waiting. NOTE: If you have a plug that turns into an extension and has 4 plug-ins then this is OK.
    • If you have a plug that works as an extender and you are not using all of the extra outlets, offer it to other people!
      • Sparkle of the Week: While in the airport last week, a very nice woman had been waiting to use a plug. When it came to her turn, she had an extender and graciously offered the extra outlets to those around her. Kudos to this woman for being a friendly traveler and a genuinely kind person!!
    • If people are waiting, you do not need to charge your phone to 100%. Get your battery to a decent level then let the next person use the plug.
  3. Open seating. It is totally up to you!
    • If you are traveling with other people who have a boarding number after your own, it is OK to try to save seats. Simply place a coat, purse, or small bag in the seat you hope to save.
      • If someone asks for the seat, kindly say, “I was hoping to save this for my friend/spouse/parent, do you mind looking for another seat?” Normally, people will be understanding especially if there are still plenty of seats left.
      • If the airplane is filling up and the flight attendant has started making announcements to “take any seat you see,” it is time to give up your seat saving mission. You do not want to be the person who delayed your flight because you forced others to play musical chairs until your friend/spouse/parent got on the plane.
    • If you see someone traveling with an individual who needs assistance (a parent and younger child or someone with an elderly person), but they cannot find a seat together and you have an open seat next to you… Offer your seat to them.
  4. Check before you recline! Before you recline your chair, make sure the person behind you is not getting something from under your seat or using the tray table. If they are, simply say, “Excuse me, I’m going to recline my chair, I just want to let you know.”

What travel etiquette do’s and don’ts have you witnessed? Are there travel situations you do not know how to navigate?

With these new tips, I hope you will be an even more polite and considerate traveler!

Happy Travels!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra

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,

Alexandra

4 Tips on Being a Gracious Houseguest

As I prepare for an exciting weekend get-away, I have been thinking about how to be a gracious houseguest. Whether visiting family and friends or new people you have never met before, it is always important to have your manners. Here are a few tips on how you can make a great impression on your host(s):

  1. When staying with someone for the weekend, take a host/hostess gift.
    • It does not have to be an extravagant gift, it can be something simple. A few examples are: a bouquet of flowers, a potted plant, a set of decorated cocktail napkins in a cute napkin holder, a pretty hand-towel, or a favorite baked good/snack for everyone to enjoy.
  2. Lend a hand! Although your host will most likely tell you to relax and enjoy yourself, it is still important to offer your help.
    • When your host is prepping meals, ask how you can help (set the table, fill drink glasses, food prep, etc.)
    • After ever meal, assist in clearing the table (unless it is a formal meal… I will cover that in a future post!)
    • Tidy up the bathroom you have been using
    • Make the bed at the end of your stay (or even strip the sheets if the host will be doing the wash when you leave)
  3. If you are visiting adults (your parents, elderly relatives, in-laws, significant other’s parents/grandparents) be sure to:
    • Say “Please” and “Thank You.” These are still magic words!
    • Say “Pardon Me?” Do NOT say, “What?” or “Huh?”
    • Say “Yes, Sir/Ma’am” and “No, Sir/Ma’am”
    • If you need to get up during a conversation or meal say, “Excuse me for a moment.” You do not need to explain where you are going (i.e. the restroom)
    • If you are expecting a phone call or message at a certain time during a planned activity or meal, let your host/hostess know ahead of time when you will be excusing yourself so they are not surprised by your extended absence.
  4. Write a handwritten thank you note when you get home.
    • Use a pretty card or personal stationary
    • Send it within three days of returning home

I hope these tips come in handy on your next traveling adventure! If you have questions about any of these tips or something I did not mention, please leave a comment! I love hearing from my readers!

Happy Labor Day! Be safe and enjoy the long weekend!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra