The Dos and Don’ts of Air Travel

by Audrey on November 1, 2013

Flying first class - Flickr CC richardmoross

DO: Be prepared to go through security.  

Security lines often snake around the building, so make the process even easier by removing your shoes and unpacking your laptop before it’s your turn. Don’t forget to grab your bin the minute it leaves the scanner; an untended bin just holds up the line.

DON’T: Give the airline employees a hard time. 

Everyone’s cramped, hot, frustrated and tired…including the airline employees. Cut them a little slack, and you’ll save yourself a ton of hassle. Plus, nothing frustrates other travelers more than a flier who doesn’t know when to quit arguing.

DO: Take only as much overhead space as you need. 

Be sure that your bag is tucked into the smallest space necessary, and don’t be afraid to shift other bags around slightly to make even more room for another passenger. Just don’t move someone else’s belongings far; if another bag is cramping the space and it needs to be switched to another bin, ask a flight attendant for assistance.

DON’T: Hog the armrests.

If you’re on either end of a three-by-three configuration, the person in the middle gets both middle armrests. They’re already contending with a less-than-desirable seat; give them the extra courtesy.

DO: Ask before you recline (or lean back carefully).

There’s a world of dissension about how much to recline — or whether to do it at all — but we think it’s fine provided that you ask the passenger behind you. If they’re sleeping, don’t wake them up; just lean back as little as possible. Bear in mind, however, that the etiquette on international flights is slightly different. Nearly everyone reclines in that situation, so asking is less of a priority. Just be respectful.

DO: Try to keep your children on their best behaviour.

The best traveling story we’ve heard is about a woman who, anticipating a crying child on his first flight, supplied a little care package with earplugs to the passengers seated nearest them. While you don’t have to go to this extreme, do remember that not everyone will find your little one as charming as you do; play a quiet game to keep him or her occupied, and deal with any situations the best you can. Often, a simple apology to nearby passengers will go a long way.

DON’T: Crank the volume on your headphones.

Unless you’re sporting some top-of-the-line headphones, other passengers can clearly hear the sound leaking from your earbuds when they’re turned up to 11. Keep the volume at the middle mark to avoid disturbing the peace.

DON’T: Freak out if the flight gets cancelled.

Cancelled flights are a nightmare, but they’re also an inevitability for frequent travelers. Don’t panic if yours gets the boot; simply talk with the airline representatives to find the best solution, and check the terms of your cancelled trip insurance before you jet off.

DO: Watch your alcohol consumption.

Not only will drinking too much on a flight leave you dehydrated and irritable, but you also run the risk of getting yourself into trouble. A drink or two is completely fine, but switch to water if you’re starting to feel too tipsy.

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