Every one has their pet peeves when flying, I am no exception to this. So here are some of my best tips on how to be a decent human being to those around you when flying. Judging by some of the people I have flown with, y’all need this list.
1. Standing up as soon as the plane lands.
This is probably one of my biggest flying pet peeves so it goes right at the top. Allow me to set the scene for you, the plane has just touched down and is taxiing down the runway, as soon as it is done taxiing and the seatbelt light is turned off and all these people around you start standing up and trying to get to their luggage. People and baggage fill the aisle ways ready to…stand there. For 20 minutes. The people in the seat next to you are crowding their junk in your face. Babies are crying. It’s chaos. And most importantly it’s unnecessary. Anyone who has flown before knows that it’s gonna be a minute between when the plane lands and when you are able to get off. Standing and getting in the way of the flight crew is not going to get you off any faster. Not to mention you are now blocking all the emergency exists if they happened to be needed.
2. Standing around the boarding area before your group is called
If you are unaware there is a number on your boarding pass that is you “group number.” The point of this number is to prevent people from crowding the boarding area and being able to load the plane in an orderly fashion. Typically, the crew will board first along with US veterans and people with disabilities or occasionally, those with small children. After that will be priority boarding for those with 1st class tickets or other extenuating circumstances. After that is every one else by group number (or sometimes letter). It is a fairly simple process and as long as you are listening for your group to be called there is really no reason at all to be standing in a large mass in front of the boarding area. This only creates confusion as to where the line actually is and for people who’s group has been called it just makes it more difficult to get to the gate while trying to navigate through all the people and luggage. If you need to stand so be it, but there is no reason to crowd the gate.
3. Not being prepared to go through security
4. Traveling with a big group/children and not having their boarding passes ready/them ready when boarding
Now there are plenty of people who will complain about those flying with children, personally I don’t care and honestly I have the utmost sympathy for those attempting to wrangle children onto a plane. HOWEVER, if you are traveling with a large group and one person is holding all of the boarding passes (this typically happens with families that have children) PLEASE have everyone in the same spot at the same time and ready to board. Nothing is more frustrating than when you have 10 boarding passes but only 8 people and you’re saying “oh so and so went to the bathroom, they’ll be right here.” No. Have everyone ready. And if your kids cannot carry luggage themselves please don’t expect them to try. Pick them and the luggage up and get everyone on to the plane.
5. Not watching your children, both in the airport and on the plane
Going right along with traveling with kids make sure you know where your children are and what they are doing at all times. Now, I don’t know why I should have to say this since I feel like this is like parenting 101. But alas, every time I am in an airport I see kids running around, being loud, and generally bothering the rest of the travelers. This seems to get even worse once on the plane. In fact the last flight I was on there were two children under 5 running up and down the aisle while their parents did…absolutely nothing. Not only is this dangerous for various reasons, they are both disturbing guests possibly trying to sleep as well as conflicting with the flight crew that is attempting to get up and down the aisles and do their job. Part of which is NOT taking care of your children. That is your job, even 30,000 feet in the air.
6. Sitting in a seat you weren’t assigned
I get it, there is a better seat than the one that you were assigned, or you want to sit with some one you know and you didn’t think to book seats next to each other. You think that surely no one will notice. Well, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. They notice, we all notice, when the person who WAS assigned to that seat shows up and asks why you’re sitting in their seat, its awkward as everyone waits for you to get all of your stuff and take the walk of shame back to your original seat. I have seen it go down a million times and not once has the person owning the original seat just overlooked it and sat somewhere else. There are seat assignments for a reason and unless the seat you’re giving up is a better seat, there is a good chance no one will take it.
7. Taking up all the overheads baggage space because you don’t know the right way to put your luggage in.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you try to put your luggage away and can’t because someone else has haphazardly shoved their luggage up there with no care to how others might fit their luggage around it. And also nothing is more embarrassing to watch than a grown ass person not understand how to fit their luggage in the over head compartment, some of y’all didn’t play with those “fit the block shape into the hole” toys when you were kids and it shows. The worst part is there is usually a picture showing you exactly how you need to put your bag in, but I will help you out and have one inserted below.
8. Using both armrests
There are only two reasons why you should use both armrests. One being if you are traveling with people you know and you are all in mutual agreement that you can be in their personal space. And two being if there is no one on either side of you. Otherwise it is common curtesy to use only one armrest and allow the person on the other side of you to have the other one. Now, if the other person has chosen to lean the other way and leave the armrest open you’re free to use it. In short just be aware of the people around you and understand that most people don’t want strangers in their personal bubble. And we are all just trying to be as comfortable as possible on this flight.
9. Not being courteous of the people around you on the plane
This one goes right along with the previous one however is more all encompassing. This extends past using arm rests up to listening to music or movies out loud where everyone can hear, turning lights on or off when people are trying to sleep or use the lights to read. One of my personal pet peeves is when someone leaves the plane window open long after we have left the ground. If you have flown you know that once you get above the clouds not only is there nothing to look at except clouds but it is very very bright out and the light is quite blinding especially for someone like me who is light sensitive. Once again try to be a decent human being to the people around you. We are all just trying to get from point A to point B as easily and comfortably as possible.
10. Trying to get hand-outs from the stewards
Just…don’t. There is a right and a wrong way to go about this and 99% of the time people just make an embarrassment of themselves. Don’t flirt with the stewardess in hopes she will get you a free drink or bump you up a class. You realize you’re probably the 10th person in this shift alone that has done that. Its not happening. Worse than that is adults that think throwing a fit over the tiniest detail will get them free handouts, the majority of the time it won’t and even if it does its at the expense of your dignity and the respect of all your fellow travelers. The best bet if you are trying to get perks is to just be nice to the crew and simply asking politely if there are any seats open in first class or if they are able to provide any free drinks or snacks. If they say no just say thank you for checking and accept what you have. It never hurts to ask and there is the chance that there is a seat open if it isn’t a full flight and by asking politely they may just move you up there. But don’t have the expectation that just because you were nice you deserve anything at all.
Don’t be that person that complains about children on a flight. Trust me if a child is acting up, babies are crying and screaming etc. their parents/the people with the children are much more upset about it than you are. Try to be understanding. I understand it can be annoying when the toddler starts to throw a tantrum because he doesn’t want to sit still or he is scared of the turbulence. It can be really frustrating when a baby starts crying because his poor little ears hurt due to the altitude. Just try to stay calm and have patience and know that their parents are doing everything they can to appease the poor child and we all have the same goal. Try putting some headphones in and ignoring them as best you can. The exception can only be made as I pointed out before, for parents that are doing absolutely nothing to calm or entertain their child. Yes, children will be children and they get cranky and upset but as a parent it is still your job to be considerate of others and try your best to have well behaved children. Letting them roam the aisles alone is not part of it.
“Everywhere you go the culture is different, but the people are the same.”