There’s just something about an airplane that makes people forget all etiquette sometimes, whether it’s the passenger beside you striking up a conversation while your head phones are on (hello, that’s a hint people!), or the guy who keeps running over your toe with his carry-on…things can get a little carried away way up there in the sky sometimes. Airlines are taking notice…with some launching etiquette videos for passengers (thank you JetBlue),

Etiquette Rules for Air Travel

Photo Credit: Angelo DeSantis/WikimediaCommons

Photo Credit: Angelo DeSantis/WikimediaCommons

Air rage incidents are increasing and now, Jacqueline Whitmore,  an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, is fighting back. She’s a former flight attendant. Here are her tips for making the skies more friendly and your flights less stressful:

1. Prepare ahead of time.

Research the rules of the airline you’ll be flying to find out what the luggage requirements are. If you plan to leave from a busy airport, give yourself enough time to go through security and make it to your gate — even if there are long lines. Prior planning will help relieve stress.

2. Don’t pack more than you can lift.

The No. 1 pet peeve of flight attendants is passengers who bring carry-on luggage too heavy for them to lift. Don’t expect the flight attendant to lift your bag into the overhead bin. If you pack it, you stack it. Or flight attendants will check it for you.


3. Check before you recline.

Airplane etiquette requires you to check before you recline your seat.

Photo by Desiree Miller, It’s hard to work on a flight when the person in front of you reclines so far you can’t open your laptop all the way.

Airline seats recline to allow passengers to sleep and relax, but it may cause discomfort for the person behind you. If you intend to recline your seat, do it gently or better yet, turn around and make sure you don’t inconvenience the person behind you. Raise your seat during mealtime so the person behind you has full use of his or her tray space during the meal.

4. Be respectful of those around you.

Airplane seating is tight and interaction with your seatmates is inevitable. Keep the volume of your headphones at an appropriate level and lower the light on your electronic devices so you don’t disturb or distract the person next to you. Many people are sensitive to strong scents including garlic and onions so be mindful of what you bring along to eat on the plane.

5. Allow those in front of you to disembark first.

Rather than grab your luggage and make a run for the door, follow protocol. If you need to make a connection or know you’ll be in a rush, try to arrange to be seated near the front of the plane.

6. Hold your tongue.

If you have a complaint about another passenger, don’t take matters into your own hands and don’t demand that the plane land at the nearest airport. Alert the flight attendant.

7. Parents, be prepared.

When babies cry uncontrollably in flight it’s probably because their ears hurt from the air pressure. IBe prepared with a bottle or a pacifier or something to make children swallow and relieve ear pressure.

Airline etiquette

8. Smells travel.

Change your child’s diaper in the lavatory – not on the tray table. Even then, bring along a Ziploc bag to lock in those smells before depositing the dirty diaper into the lavatory garbage bin.

A Few More.

I have a few more tips of my own to add to her list:

Just as smells travel, sound travels, too.

You may not realize it, but as you’re talking to your pal, I’m hearing every word of the conversation—even though you’re three rows behind me.  I really don’t need—or want– to hear the drama of your life.  Use your quiet voice and we’ll all be happier.

Keep your grooming on the ground.

I’d prefer you not clip your toenails beside me, or paint those fingernails, either.  Trust me, it happens more often than you’d think.

These are other articles to help with travel etiquette.

Tipping When You Travel

How to Fly Standby on a Buddy Pass