Airplane Etiquette 101

airplane etiquette

Are You Breaking the 10 Unwritten Rules of Airplane Travel?

Flying out of town for a well-deserved getaway? There’s one thing that will make flying easier for you and everyone around you: being courteous to your fellow flyers. Some things are a given – be polite to flight attendants, please! But if you’re a newbie (or just haven’t flown for a while), maybe it’s time to brush up on your airplane etiquette.

To help you out, here our top 10 rules to follow when flying. When in doubt, just remember the Golden Rule. Everyone will be better off, we promise!

  • Be efficient at security

    We’ve had the new security rules in place since 9/11, so you should be familiar with them by now. Take off your shoes and belt, laptops out of the bag, no liquids… The rules are posted every few feet during the security line, so you have plenty of time to get yourself organized.

  • Your stuff = your responsibility

    We get it, really, we do. Maybe you have to use the restroom, or you’re just running into Starbucks, or whatever other reason you have for asking someone to watch your stuff. No one should have to be responsible for a stranger’s luggage, not even for 10 minutes.

    P.S. – the airports agree with us on this – and they make sure you know it via intercom announcements.

  • Just one item in the overhead bin

    This is especially true on a full flight. Try to leave room in the overhead bin for everyone’s else’s stuff, too. If you have a carry-on and a personal item, both, try to fit one under the seat in front of you. Or at the very least, stack them vertically so there’s room for more.

  • Only stow what you don’t need

    While we’re talking about the overhead bin: try to settle in with everything you need from the get-go. Snacks, travel pillow, your favorite eye mask… whatever your in-flight necessities are, pull them out of your carry-one before you hoist it into the overhead bin. It’s not a big deal if you’re in the aisle seat, but if not, don’t make the rest of your row stand up mid-flight.

  • Who gets the armrest?

    This is always the big debate, right? Let’s go ahead and settle the question now: the middle seat gets the armrest. Aisle seats have their own armrest and breathing room. Window seats have their own armrest plus a view. Do the right thing and let the poor guy stuck in the middle at least have the arm rests ‘kay?

  • Recline politely

    Economy seats aren’t exactly known for being spacious. And reclining can give you a few extra inches. We get it, really, we do. But reclining your seat all the way back? Be considerate of the person behind you – they have just as little room as you do. If you’re going to recline, maybe just don’t go all the way back. And give the person behind you a little advance warning, so they can protect their knees/laptop/drink before you lean.

  • Headphones = quiet time

    Not everyone on your flight wants to chat. If your neighbor’s wearing headphones, it’s a clear “no talking” sign. Same with a book. Respect that they want some quiet time. You don’t know what’s ahead of them when they land – it may be their only down time all day.

  • Stand up to let people out of the row

    This one’s important: if someone in your row needs to exit, don’t do that thing where you half-stand and they try to squeeze past you awkwardly. Stand up all the way and exit the row so they have room. It’s basic airplane etiquette, you guys.

  • Don’t try to be the first one out of the plane

    This happens on every flight. The minute the “fasten seatbelts” sign goes off, someone in the very back tries to rush past everyone to be the first person off. Please don’t be that guy. The only acceptable exception is if you have to run to catch a connecting flight, in which case you can politely apologize as you make your way forward.

  • Make room at the baggage carousel

    Everyone’s going to get their luggage. Unless you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, be prepared to wait patiently. Find a spot and leave some room for others to reach past you for their bags if necessary.

Better yet, avoid the baggage carousel hassle all together by shipping your luggage to your destination with LugLess. For less than what it usually costs to check a bag, we’ll get your stuff to your airbnb or hotel, and then back home, without any time wasted at baggage claim.

What are your airplane etiquette pet peeves? Drop ‘em in the comments section!