Warning, rant incoming. This might get a bit heated, so if you’re sensitive to strong language, you might want to skip this post.
We’ve taught you how to survive a long-haul flight, and now we’re here to teach you some basic plane etiquette which we assumed would be common sense. Turns out, plenty of people have no idea how to behave on flights in 2024.
After our recent experience on a 9-hour flight from Paris to Cincinnati, it is abundantly clear that many people do not know how to be decent humans while sharing a plane with other humans.
If you are one of these people, you need to change. Seriously. So, please, for the love of god read and memorize these tips to make flying more pleasant for all of us.
Table of Contents
Don’t hold people up in the boarding line by doing stupid shit
When you’re on the jet bridge waiting to board the plane, don’t be standing there fiddling with your backpack or just straight up not paying attention. If the line in front of you is moving, you should be moving, too. We’re all eager to get where we’re going, but that will never happen if people like you are holding up the line doing things that can wait until you’re in your goddamn seat. The boarding process already takes forever without your bullshit.
Shut the goddamn window shade when they turn the plane lights off.
Everyone knows that after the first meal when they turn the cabin lights off, it’s sleepy time. But nobody can go to sleep if assholes leave the window shades open, especially if it’s light outside. Those shitty eye masks they give you on planes don’t do much. If you must look out the window at least check to see if the people in your row, or the ones sitting behind you, mind.
Similarly, don’t have your white computer screen on maximum fucking brightness
In the same vein, don’t keep the entire cabin bright with your computer screen! This is almost as bad as the window shade. Again, it’s keeping people awake and the eye masks won’t cancel out that light.
Don’t tap or shake your foot when you’re resting it on someone else’s chair
Airplane seats are made out of cardboard. Uncomfortable cardboard. Which means that we can feel every little movement you make if your foot is on our chair somehow. Please do not keep shaking your foot, you are shaking our entire chair and not only does it keep us awake but it’s also generally annoying if we’re trying to concentrate on something else, i.e., a movie.
Don’t talk super loud
This is just normal public etiquette because no one else wants to hear your conversations regardless of where you are. It especially goes for airplanes when people are trying to sleep and/or watch something. How about you just shut the fuck up till the flight is over, buddy?
Shut the overhead bin after you get something out of it
Seriously?? If you leave the overhead bin open while the plane is moving, your stuff and/or other people’s stuff could fall out and get damaged. Or worse, something will hit someone and injure them badly. If this is the case, hopefully it hits you. Shut the goddamn bin.
If you’re watching something on your tablet or phone, USE. HEADPHONES.
Also common sense public etiquette: no one else wants to hear whatever shitty tv show you’ve decided to watch. This goes for if they’re sleeping or if they’re trying to watch something else or if they’re just trying to enjoy some peace and quiet. This is common courtesy. Please respect that other people are sharing your space.
If you have to sneeze or cough, cover your nose/mouth like a decent human
It’s baffling to me that I even have to say this after we’ve all gone through several years of COVID… but please! Cover! Your! Nose! And! Mouth! Don’t spew your spit and snot everywhere, even if you’re not sick nobody wants that shit. Also, it sounds gross, and yes I can tell by the sound whether you’re covering or not. If you have a bad cough, maybe even consider a throat lozenge or cough medicine because not only is it gross and unhygienic but it’s also loud and annoying.
Be careful when you’re opening your drinks, there are people in the splash zone
One girl squeezed her water bottle so hard trying to open it that I got splashed from across the aisle. It shocked me so much that I jumped and she didn’t even notice. Please people, be aware of who’s around you and what you’re doing. At least it was water and not something colored that would stain.
Don’t just try to climb over people to get in and out of your seat
Politely ask people to move if you need to get in or out. It’s way easier for everyone involved and it’s way less awkward than you losing your footing in a tight space and falling on top of someone.
Don’t use the row in front of the section dividers to cross from one side of the aisle to another
The people sitting in that row need legroom, too, and if you’re doing this, you’re encroaching on their space, making them move constantly, and probably also stepping on their stuff. If you absolutely need to get to the other side of the plane, cross near the bathrooms or in the back of the plane where no one is sitting.
If you do any of these things, you’re an asshole and we probably don’t like you. But this is your chance to redeem yourself and grow into a better traveler and person.
On the contrary, if you already knew these things and you don’t do any of them, awesome! We love you! Thank you for being a considerate and respectful human.
And if you’re on a flight with assholes who do, just remember comedian Iliza Shlesinger’s* advice: get comfortable making other people just as uncomfortable as they’re making you. Call that dickweed out, ask for what you want, be assertive, or hell, be passive aggressive – really anything to get the message across. They deserve it.
*Disclaimer: Iliza Shlesinger did not give this advice specifically about people being assholes on planes, she just gives it about life in general and this seemed like an appropriate place for it. She is in no way involved in this article.