Whether you are an occasional traveler or the plane seats have already started to feel like home, there are good chances that you’re violating one or more of the basic rules of travel etiquette!
From ignoring lines to daring to share an armrest, these are the top 5 common travel etiquette rules that are often broken by passengers and how to correct your bad behaviour.
Do you share the armrest?
Many of us have already been in a silent, mischievous fight with the neighbouring passenger to win control over the shared armrest while on a flight. If it already happened to you, then you need to read this.
When it’s about armrests, it should be one armrest per individual. Generally, the armrest for you is the one that contains your electrical outlets.
If you can comfortably talk to the person next to you, have a tiny respectful conversation in which you both agree to share two elbows instead of two arms per one armrest.
Do you recline your seat politely?
This is actually an intensely debated rule, as some individuals see it as a simple right, while others interpret it as very rude. To end the debate, you should never recline your seat unless you’re on a terribly long flight.
Today’s carriers have tiny space for leg room and by reclining your seat you simply take away from another passengers’ space. If you’re on an international flight and want to recline your seat, at least check if the person behind you isn’t using their tray table before you relax. If you are kind enough, you can even ask them if it’d be fine to recline your seat for a little time.
You don't skip a line when in hurry, do you?
Ok, you’re in a hurry, too little time left for your flight, but there’s an immense line ahead of you. Thinking you won’t make it and into all the tension you finally decide to beg others to let you skip the line so you won’t miss your flight!
So it’s either resorting to people’s mercy, asking them to let you pass first (in most cases, people don’t refuse a hopeless and polite request) or run to an airport employee or TSA agent so you can explain your terrible situation and get help, thankfully, they’d usually help you cut the line to fly.
However, what’s really not acceptable is cutting the line without any good reason or explanation for others.
Do you ask before swapping seats?
It’s really confusing when a passenger asks you to switch seats so they can stay close to their friend, relative, or spouse, and the situation gets even stickier when you’ve carefully chosen your seat or even paid more money for it.
What’s appropriate is that it should be a win-win, for instance, the individual who asks for the switch should give up a good seat for a worse one (like offering you their window seat for the middle one).
In case this isn’t possible, turn to the flight attendant for help, they may be able to smoothly find a way to make everybody satisfied.
Are you polite and aware towards other fellow travellers?
When all you want is a calm and nice flight to finish your book or enjoy a nap in the air, but then your seatmate plans other things… You can follow this expert advice:
If you don’t like your environment, simply create a new one. Arm yourself with earplugs to ban unwanted conversations, an eyeshade to nap peacefully, and headphones to enjoy some music or watch a movie.
If you do all this and the stranger next to you still wouldn’t stop talking to you, just smile and say this “It’s been really nice chatting with you. I’m going to read/nap for a bit now.” (If this didn’t work as well, you probably should ask the flight attendant for help.)
These are the questions you always need to ask yourself while travelling to anywhere. The destination could be hotels in Mumbai or the short stay hotels in Amritsar, the mode of transport can trains, planes or a mere bus, but you should always take care of the above etiquettes. Always keep in mind that it is not just you acting better, but also giving the opportunity to others to act similarly. So next time you see a crying baby and you were polite to the parent before, they might be careful towards your comfort too.