3.09.2016

Airplane Etiquette

Attention travelers, we will now begin the boarding process. Need to know what to do when boarding? Do you know your responsibilities when seated by the window? What about what to wear? Read and learn fellow business traveler! And just remember, we're all in this together!

Don't rush but don't dally.
Unless you're the family from Home Alone who slept in (twice), there's no need to run or shove past people through the airport. On that same note, there's also no need to walk at a glacial pace in the middle of the airport or when going through security. Arrive at least two hours early to give yourself enough time to get through security. Be ready when going through security - have your paperwork and identification out, your shoes off (unless you have TSA Pre✓®), and laptops out. More than 1.9 million passengers go through security each day. It's important to get through quickly and safely. 

Be patient when boarding. 
Ever see passengers start to line up to board the plane before the plane has even pulled up to the gate? Passengers gather to squeeze in line like a herd of wildebeest, and the last one has no overhead space. The order of boarding is typically those who have status on the airlines (i.e. frequent flyer points), then first and business class passengers, priority boarding, and then the remaining blocks or groups. If you find yourself in Zone 3 or 4, consider checking your carry on luggage at the counter and then waiting patiently. Be considerate of others when boarding, shoving and trying to cut the next person in line only causes more stress, and traveling is stressful enough. 

Where to put your bag? 
While it's tempting to put your carry on luggage in the first empty overhead space you can find, that's not fair to the other passengers sitting underneath that space and can delay departure. Utilize the overhead space above or across from your own seat row. Place lighter items or items you will use in your seat pocket or underneath the seat in front of you. Lastly, always be swift and alert when putting your luggage in the overhead bin, as others might be waiting for you to store your luggage so they can get their seats behind or across from you. 

Who gets the armrests? 
Although the middle seat armrests are shared property, it's generous to give the middle seat holders a chance to claim them first. Why? While the window seat passenger and aisle seat passenger are able to lean more to one side, the middle seat passenger is not afforded that luxury. Because they are in a somewhat less uncomfortable position, they deserve those arm rests. 

Seat Backs? 
Although most seats only recline up to 3 inches, personal space is a premium on airplanes.There is a time for upright seats, and there's a time to recline.  FAA regulations say seat backs must be in their upright position during take-off and landing. It's courteous to keep your seat upright during the drink and/or meal service. Before slowly reclining your seat, take a quick glance behind you. It allows you to make sure you won't hit any knees, bobble an iPad or spill any drinks. 

Restroom, waiting in line? or wait in your seat?
FAA regulations state that passengers should remain in their seats while the seat belt sign is lit. When the seat belt sign is off, passengers are allowed to roam about the cabin, which includes waiting in line for the airplane lavatory. 

What to wear? 
If you're a first time business traveler, this question is for you. Clothes best suited for business travel should be lightweight (unless climate dictates otherwise), wrinkle resistant, and stylish but not flashy. Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to take on and off through security (unless you have TSA Pre✓®). While it may be tempting to dress in yoga pants and tennis shoes during the flight, by dressing in business casual attire, you're ready for business when you get off the plane (despite a delay or lost luggage). Airlines cater to business travelers, dress the part and you may find you have an added measure of service.

Be Considerate. 
Be considerate of one another throughout the flight. Keep conversations low while on the plane, use headphones when watching a movie or listening to music, and be considerate when others have headphones in. Under the weather? Bring extra tissues and hand sanitizer for those coughing/sneezing fits. Don't be afraid to alert the flight attendant if you're feeling ill or need further assistance. If you have a tight connection, let others know around you. If you don't have a tight connection, it's courteous to let those go before you so they may make their connections. We all have a destination to get to, and we're all in this together. 

Sources: 
Shmanners podcast: http://www.maximumfun.org/shmanners/travel-boats-and-planes
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/22/travel/plane-annoying-things/
Travel + Leisure: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/a-guide-to-flying-etiquette 
FAA: http://www.faa.gov/
TSA Pre✓®: https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck