Plane Etiquette, Part 2

OTR reader Chris posted a comment to my "Planeguage" post last week that I thought was so good I would post it here (and if you hate it, feel free to harass him, not me).  He’s compiled some thoughts on etiquette while flying that were particularly apropos during this busy traveling season.  Thanks, Chris…

I’m a frequent business traveller & have seen a lot over the
years. Here’s a travel etiquette document that I’ve written and updated
over the years with input from friends.

In the Airport

1. Wait for people to get off the train/bus before attempting to board.

2. Do not stand directly in front of the train/bus door when waiting for people to get off.

3. When waiting to board the plane, do not go near the gate until
your row is called. There is no excuse to have to wade through a herd
of people to get to the gate.

4. Look where you are walking.

5. If you are not walking on the moving sidewalks & escalators,
stand on the right and allow room for people to get by you. This
includes keeping your baggage out of the way.

6. There would be room for more people at the baggage claim conveyor
if everyone would stand back a few steps and only stand directly next
to the conveyor when picking up their luggage. There’s really no need
to pack two rows of people directly beside the conveyor.

7. Be ready at the security check point. Do not make people wait
behind you while you search for your boarding pass or ID. Be quick when
removing your coat, shoes, pocket contents, laptop, film, etc. You can
put a lot of items from your pockets in your carry-on or coat pockets
before arriving at the inspection point.

8. Don’t cut in front of someone in the security screening line then
set off the alarm because you didn’t empty out your pockets. Don’t cut
in front of anyone period.

On the Plane

1. If wearing a backpack, remove it when boarding to avoid hitting
someone in the head. Be careful with any carry on to avoid hitting
those already seated. Watch your rear end also. No one wants it in
his/her face.

2. Do not take up an entire overhead. If you carry on two items, put
one under the seat in front of you. If your “carry-on” takes up the
entire overhead, check it.

3. If you can’t carry it, it’s not a carry-on.  Check it.

4. Remove any items that you might want during the flight from your
carry-on before placing it in the overhead to avoid getting up and
blocking traffic later.

5. Be quick about placing your carry-on in the overhead.  Do not block traffic.

6. There is no need to stand up when departing the plane until the
rows in front of you are clear. The person sitting next to you does not
want your rear end in his/her face. Do you really deplane faster if you
stand hunched-over waiting for the rows in front of you to clear?

7. Be careful about leaning your seat back in coach. The person
sitting behind you probably does not want your seat in his/her lap.
There’s not a lot of room on planes these days.

8. Ringing the flight attendant call button during takeoff and landing will not get you anywhere.

9. Do not kick, push, or bump the seat in front of you.  Don’t rest your feet on the seat in front of you.

10. Do not bounce the tray table whether it is attached to the seat in front of you or to your own seat.

11. Do not stuff all your belongings into the seat pocket in front
of you. The person in the seat in front of you can feel this in his/her

12. Control your children.

13. Wear headphones when using your computer, MP3 player, DVD player, game…

14. Most people want to sleep on red-eyes.  Try to be a little quieter than normal if you’re not sleeping.


  1. 15. Don’t use the seat back in front of you to help pull you up when standing. The person in that seat is using the seat back as a seat back, not just waiting to be launched in to the row ahead of them when you release the seat back after you stand up! Not to mention the fact that you usually wake them up doing it and even pull hair on the initial grab.

  2. I waited to do many of these things until the person in front of me put his seat on my lap. After that, it was open season. I allowed my 5 year old son to put my tray up and down repeatedly for the entire flight and then I used the seat as leverage to stand up.

    The point still didn’t get across.

  3. Getyourclodhoppersoutofmeback!

    I have a comment regarding “1. Wait for people to get off the train/bus before attempting to board.”
    I live in Athens, Greece and get extremely fed up with the fact that Greeks pile in while one is trying to get out! Me being a complete British idiot, I always used to wait. However, I am sick and tired of being ‘helped’ in – especially since injuring my back, and likewise at not being let off. To the extent that now if I am not let off by people getting in, I will barge through them in the way they barge through me.
    Now I crowd in with the rest for one simple reason. The last time I waited for the man in front of me manoeuvring a rather unwieldy suitcase to get on, the &#@*&%# driver shut the doors leaving me on the platform!

    15. I can vouch for the hair follicle ripping action!

    Going to the UK from Athens, Greece I had an admittedly tall man sat behind me (though I have had taller) constantly bashing his knees into my back (BA flight). This would be bad at any time but even worse when recovering from a herniated lumbar disc! Politely asking him to refrain from moving them about so frequently only resulted in him telling me in no uncertain terms that he was rather tall and uncomfortable (Rats! I should have got him to swap places with me!).

    16. Chat with the unknown passenger next to you by all means, but even they will need a rest from you and will not want to hear the entire details of your life, nor will passengers in other rows throughout the rest of the plane.

    (The tall Greek chap gave mentioned above gave the Greek lady (with oddly a very plum sounding English accent)next to him and the rest of us the complete treatise on his current divorce from his wife, the non-orthodox church upbringing of their son and numerous other aspects of his life in unbelievable detail. I think she was well rid of him!