Tips on flight etiquette

Flying can be a potentially stressful situation – especially if you are cooped up like a battery chicken on one of the budget airlines. The last thing you need is some rotund, loud, drunk, obnoxious passenger sitting next to you. More to the point, you don’t want to BE that obnoxious passenger, so here are a few tips on how to behave like a respectable human being on a flight.

Seat reclining

This is a controversial issue. Most people consider it their natural right to recline their seat once they’ve got on the plane – which is fair enough. On the other hand, if the person in front of YOU reclines their seat, you start huffing and tutting… flight ettiquette

A compromise is always best – make sure your seat is up for meal times, and at other times it’s probably cool to recline it. Maybe have a check behind to see who’s there, and when you recline the seat do it slowly so they don’t get scalded by coffee.

Body odour
To be honest, if you haven’t got this sussed, sitting on a plane is just the tip of your problems. Try not to smell bad. Obviously, on long haul flights you won’t have the opportunity to shower (unless you are flying first class with certain airlines), so you need to make alternative arrangements – namely, wet wipes and deodorant. It is worth getting one of those mini-deodorants, as there are restrictions on what you can and can’t take in your hand luggage (and deodorant is classed as a liquid).

Don’t start touching people
The antics of Mr Tickle might be amusing on paper, but nobody wants to sit next to him on a plane. Try and avoid sleeping or leaning on the person next to you. Don’t get too close to them if you can help it, and don’t breathe on them too much. If there’s an arm rest in between you, lifting it has to be a mutual decision – you can’t just go making that sort of play off your own back.

flight rage

Being loud
Being loud is a sure-fire way to mark yourself out as a complete tool. If someone wants to hear your comments about the on-board film, or listening to your hilarious take on the food, they’ll ask you – you don’t need to bray it out across the cabin like a foghorn. Try and keep your iPod volume discreet as well.

Talking to people
This one has to be judged on the fly – if you want to try and strike up a conversation with your neighbour – if for example she is incredibly hot – by all means give it a crack. But if it becomes quickly apparent that she is not interested in talking – through her icy silence or withering looks of disdain for example – take the hint and give it up. Ploughing on regardless is brave but ultimately futile.