Airplane Etiquette

On July 27, 2012, in Travel, by LuCuS

Airplane EtiquetteI think I’m a little over due for a rant and this time it’s a good one. As most of you already know, I started a new job about 2 months ago that requires a lot of traveling. For example, I have only been home for a total of about 6 days since I started the new job. Now, my complaint isn’t with my job. It’s not even about the traveling. It’s about the other travelers. You know who I’m talking about. In fact, I might even be talking about you!

Anyone that has ever been on a plane before knows there is a certain etiquette one must follow. However, those that have never flown before, and even some of you that have, are completely clueless and need to grab a pen and paper right now because I’m going to share with you the rules of airplane etiquette.

I’m going to begin these rules where your travel begins, at home. If you are going on a trip, any trip, you need to begin it by doing a little up front planning. Don’t wait until the very last minute to pack your bags. When you do pack, don’t shove everything you own into the biggest suitcase you can find and think that it’s carry-on. Chances are, you don’t need half the stuff in your bags. Instead, you’re just being over zealous & need to re-evaluate your luggage. If you think you still need everything you have packed, make sure you fork out the extra few bucks to check your luggage. Even though many airlines will valet your oversize luggage at the gate, it is still inconsiderate of you to attempt to carry it on. The rest of us have to pay to check the luggage we have that we know won’t fit under the seat or in the overhead. So should you! Besides, when you valet your bags at the gate, you have to hang around even longer in the gate runway to wait for your valeted bags to be returned to you. Now you’re in the way of the rest of us that are trying to get off the plane.

The next place you need to learn some manners is in the line to get your boarding pass. If you walk up and see that everyone else is in a nice straight line, they’re obviously waiting for something. Whether we’re waiting for a representative or for a kiosk, don’t think that you are entitled to push past the rest of us, especially those of us that are frequent flyers and have a status. We have paid our dues (and extra money at times) and have earned our status and our positions in line. I’m not saying we’re better than anyone else. I’m just saying to know your place and respect the place of others, no matter where they’re standing.

Speaking of where someone is standing, don’t be a dick in the security line. All of us have to go through the same checkpoints & some of us happen to take a little longer than others. If you are a business traveler or have ever traveled with a laptop, you know that you are required to empty your pockets into one bin and place your laptop in a bin of its own. If you’re like me and carry more than one laptop or also carry a tablet, then you obviously require more bins than others. Because of that, we take a little longer to get through the checkpoint. So, don’t rush us! If you’re in such a hurry that you have to rush us, then you obviously skipped the first rule about doing more planning. Make sure you leave the house early enough that you can get to your flight without being an ass along the way.

Once you are through security, the next place you need to learn some manners is in the line to board the plane. Take a look at your boarding pass. There you will see a zone number. When the airline attendants announce they are ready to begin boarding, this doesn’t mean you should rush in and trample people along the way. Instead, wait for your zone to be called. They always begin boarding planes with people that need a little extra time or assistance. Then they load priority members such as diamond, platinum, & gold members. After that, they will begin loading with zone 1, then 2, & so on. Don’t be like a lady I recently dealt with that stood directly in front of the gate, asking every individual person that came through which zone they were in. The airport pays people to do that & don’t need your help. This particular lady happened to be in the very last zone. She wanted to guarantee that she was the first person to board from her zone. Once they called her zone, she ran down the gate, knocking people against the wall as she forced her way onto the plane. Because this lady insisted on being such a bitch & wasted so much time of others, the plane ended up leaving 15 minutes later than planned. By stopping the first person in line to ask which zone they were in, the snowball effect kicked in by slowing down the next person and the next. Once the lady sat down, she still had to wait for the rest of the plane to board. So, she didn’t save any time by being a bitch.

That leads me to the next subject, stowing your carry-on and sitting down. As mentioned earlier, don’t think that you’re going to shove a bag that could possibly have a body in it into the overhead or under your seat. Also, don’t try shoving your carry-on into the first empty slot you find and definitely don’t try shoving your bags under any seat that is not directly in front of you. I recently got into an argument with a lady that had 2 bags in the overhead, a third bag under the seat in front of her, & a fourth bag under the seat in front of me. I don’t know how she made her way onto the plane with that many bags in the first place. When I went to take my seat, I politely asked her to move her bag out from under the seat in front of me so that I would have a place to put my bag and feet. At first, the lady kept acting like she didn’t hear me, but she did. She was ignoring me intentionally. I finally gave up asking and finally moved her bag out into the aisle. At that point, the lady became irate and started screaming at me. The flight attendant had to step in. When I told her what was going on, she said the lady was only allowed 2 carry-on items and her purse was one of them. The lady said she was going to keep her purse in her lap and her bags were fine where they were. At that point, the attendant began getting frustrated and repeated that the lady had to valet 3 of her bags. Now the lady is freaking out and is close to being escorted off the plane. But, the flight attendant managed to contain the situation and convinced the lady to valet 3 of her bags. She decided to keep her purse, but tried to place it in the overhead and put her largest bag under the seat. This bag was so big that both of us would have had to put our feet on top of it. So, the attendant had to step in again and made the lady valet that bag too since it was too big to fit safely under the seat or in the overhead. By this point, the lady was on fire and did everything in her power to make my flight as miserable as possible. Being the outspoken person I am, I finally went off on the lady and put her in her place. Everyone around me started cheering and clapping. They too were tired of the bitch that this lady released.

Some of the other things she did are the next things you should not do on a plane. When the pilot turns on the fasten seat belt sign, this is not an invitation for you to repeatedly stand up, get in the overhead, or go to the lavatory 10 times which she did. I think every bit of it was just to piss me off. Since her 4 bags had to be valeted, her purse could have fit under the seat and out of her way and mine. Instead, she left it in the overhead where she continuously climbed over me to get into it. Every time she would stand up, she would pull back on the seats in front us. Those people got pretty upset, but kept their composure and didn’t say anything to the lady. They waited until 1 of her 10 trips to the lavatory and complained to each other. When the lady was sitting, she kept pushing on the seats in front of us & hit the call attendant button until the attendant finally began ignoring her. Every time the attendant came to check on her, she only wanted to complain. “The air is too cold. It’s too hot. The engine is too loud. The pilot needs to go back to flight school because there is too much turbulence.” Etc… Etc… Now, I know this lady is just one of those naturally born bitches, but I’ve experienced the same behavior from plenty of others that I felt like it was noteworthy here.

On top of the things already mentioned, another thing you need to learn is where your seat is. All flights assign seating arrangements either when reserving your flight or at the gate. But, either way, sit in the seat that is assigned to you. Do not sit where ever you want. That is rude and inconsiderate. Some people like to sit by the window, others by the aisle. If you are a person that needs to visit the lavatory during a flight, try to ask for an aisle seat or trade once you are on the plane. Don’t sit next to the window with the plan to climb over everyone when the time arises. Likewise, there are others that need to visit the lavatory and request to sit at the aisle because of this. There are also people that can’t sit near the window because of anxiety. So, don’t make their flight bad by helping yourself to their seat just so you can get off the plane sooner once you arrive. Also, especially don’t take the seat of someone that wants to sit by the window. I don’t go to the lavatory and I enjoy watching out the window during my flights. Since I don’t go to the lavatory, I request a window seat so that I don’t have people climbing over me during the flight. I recently had a flight where I requested and was assigned a window seat, but had some jackass asleep in my seat when I boarded the plane. I am a gold member, so I was one of the first few people to board. When I sat down, I could see this guy’s ticket which specifically said he was in Zone 3. But, because he has no airplane etiquette, he boarded sooner, sat in the wrong seat, & I ended up flying 5 hours sitting between him, who decided to sprawl out & take up both our seats, and another guy that hasn’t missed a meal but has missed a bath in the last 30 years.

Once you do take your (assigned) seat, don’t hold a conversation with anyone that is not on the same aisle as you & don’t hold a conversation that requires you to yell. The rest of the plane isn’t interested in anything you have to say. So, don’t scream your conversation and don’t turn around in your seat to have a conversation with someone 5 rows back. Also, don’t stand in the aisle during a flight to talk with anyone. There are other people on the plane that might need to visit the lavatory or get something out of the overhead. If you are standing in the aisle talking, you are in the way. You and the person you are talking to are obviously going to the same place. Your conversation can wait until you land.

When you do land, don’t jump up and begin grabbing your bags. Unless you are on the very first row, there are other people ahead of you. So, grabbing your bags and making a mad dash for the exit isn’t going to get you off the plane any faster. If the city you just landed in is your final destination, keep your ass in your seat. There are other people on that plane that might have a connector flight and might not have a lot of time to get to the connecting gate. I have almost missed several connector flights because some jackass felt like he would jump into the aisle as soon as the plane stopped. I recently had a situation like this where a guy jumped into the aisle and started having a conversation with someone 5 rows back. It was his last stop. I know this because he screamed it to the person he was talking to. I had 15 minutes to get to my next flight and almost missed it because of this guy. Since he got off the plane before me, I had to wait on him to stop talking & get out of the way. When he exited the plane, he stopped in the middle of the gate to wait on his valeted bag. Now I had to dodge him again. If you have to wait on a valet bag, you might as well stay seated so others can exit and hopefully not miss any connecting flights.

The last place I want to rip on some of you is at baggage claim. When you get off the plane, it still takes some time for your bags to be unloaded & transferred to baggage claim. So, slow down and take your time to get there. Don’t plow your way to baggage claim just so you can stand there and wait like the rest of us. When you do get to baggage claim, don’t push your way to the opening where bags come out. Spread out a bit and give others room to get in to get their bags if they come out before yours. If you don’t get to your bag immediately, don’t worry. It will come back around.

Now, I know that if you are at the airport, you have somewhere to be. But, so do the rest of us. If you learn some simple etiquette, we can all get in and out and on our way in a timely manner. Both our trips will also be a little more enjoyable if we both behave. So, do us all a favor and remember everything you have read here and please be considerate of others.

P.S. This entire article was written using my Hype bluetooth mini-keyboard and Motorola Droid Razr using WordPress for Android.

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