If everybody had some common decency and some common sense, then flying could be a much more enjoyable, civil experience. But, as many frequent flyer knows, you come across some travelers whose minds just don’t work like other people’s. Because of them we wish these unspoken rules of airplane etiquette were enforced by the flight staff. Here are 10 rules of airplane etiquette that should be enforced way more.
1. Sit on the aisle if you get up a lot
You really want to lean against the window and take a nap during your flight. Too bad! If you get up to use the bathroom a lot, you can’t sit by the window. You have to forego the window seat and take the aisle seat so you don’t make two other passengers get up for you and cram the aisles every half hour.
2. Ask to move someone’s bag
If you know that moving a bag over into the next compartment would make room for your bag — fine. But before doing so, ask around to see whose bag it is, and ask if they don’t mind you moving it. They’ll almost always say that it’s fine but if you don’t ask, they could have a hard time finding their bag when the plane lands.
3. Stay upright in your seat during mealtime
You know that little no-smoking sign with the little slash across the cigarette picture? There should be a similar one with a slash going through someone reclining in their seat, while the person behind them has their meal tray down!
4. Keep smelly food off the plane
Please, please do not bring tuna or curry or garlic spaghetti onto an airplane. There is nowhere for that scent to go until the plane has landed. And there are already passengers struggling with altitude sickness as it is.
5. Keep your window closed when people are sleeping
It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining and you want to see the mountains. If you’re taking a long flight where there is a major time change, and everybody’s internal clock says it’s midnight — even if you’re flying over a place where it’s 6 a.m., keep your window shut!
6. Give the person in the middle seat both armrests
It’s all they have. Don’t take that from them.
7. Wear a mask if you’re sick
Many people on that flight with you are on their way to vacation, and nothing ruins a vacation and wastes the thousands of dollars spent on it like being sick and bedridden in a hotel room. So if you’re sick and absolutely have to fly, spare others your virus. Wear a mask.
8. Sit near your antsy children
If you’re flying with hyperactive children who you knew like to scream, kick seats, and run around in the aisles, make sure you’re sitting with or at least near them. Don’t leave the poor passengers around them to police your kids.
9. Let the rows ahead of you de-board first
How is it possible that some people on planes think they are the only ones who have somewhere to be? And how can they think it’s OK to charge past someone in the aisle ahead of them who was clearlygetting ready to exit their seat?
10. Keep your shoes on
Again, there is nowhere for that scent to go…and for your own sake, don’t walk around barefoot on airplane floors that may not have been vacuumed in days.
11. Going to the bathroom at the right time
If you’re not in the isle seat and know you have a small bladder, ask the person in the isle seat to let you out so you can go to the bathroom while they’re awake. Even if you don’t have to, just in case, so you don’t have to wake them up later.
12. Being smart about the overhead compartment
If the overhead compartment is deep—which most are—put your rolling suitcase in there longways (left to right). When you shove it in there horizontally, you just stole a spot from somebody else’s bag, and left a useless amount of space in front of yours.
13. Asking for permission to switch seats
Don’t assume that you can go ahead and sit in the empty seat that’s not yours next to your travel companion, just because it’s empty, thinking, “Whomever this seat belongs to will have no problem letting me stay here.” It really irritates people to find someone sitting in their seat. Some even get confused, thinking they got their seat number wrong, when they see you sitting in it!
14. Staying awake if you want your meal
If you want to get your in flight meal, then stay awake long enough to get it. Don’t force your row companion to awkwardly decide whether or not to wake you up when the food cart comes down the isle. Or worse, don’t go bothering the flight attendants when you wake up hungry, and they’re on their break.
15. Leaning on the seat in front of you
As a general rule, find a way to sleep within the confines of your own seat. Do not lean your head against the seat in front of you—the person up there can feel the pressure of your head against their back, and as you adjust during your sleep, you drive them crazy.
16. Socialize after the flight
It doesn’t matter how giddy you and your travel buddy, who is sitting 12 rows behind you, are over the trip you’re about to embark on. Don’t make the person in the isle seat get up a dozen times so you can go to the back of the plane just to visit your friend. And don’t make people trying to get to the bathroom maneuver around you as you’re blocking the isle, socializing.
17. Exit in an orderly fashion
It doesn’t matter if you have absolutely zero belongings to gather once the plane touches down. You will wait for the rows in front of you to get off the plane before you go charging down the isle. If you wanted to de-board first, you should have thought about that when you were too lazy to do an early check in and choose your seat.