10 Ways to Be a Considerate Flyer

There has been a great deal in the news lately about travel rage and extremely inconsiderate travelers. Look, we get it. Travel can be exhausting, uncomfortable, and downright unpleasant but do you have to take it out on your fellow travelers?

Can’t we all just get along?

Air travel is one form of travel with the worst offenders; after all, who likes sitting wedged into a too-small seat jockeying for the arm rest with the passenger next to you, while eating sub-par food if you get any food at all, for hour after hour? Here’s a few suggestions to consider when you take that next flight that will make the experience easier for those around you and, consequently, easier for you as well.

1. Security. Ok, it’s been several years now that we have had to take off our shoes, only carry on three ounce bottles, and other equally annoying but necessary security issues but still there are people who seem to have no idea about these rules. Maybe it’s the first time you have flown in your life; in that case do some research to find out how to move smoothly through security or, at the very least, notice what everyone around you is doing and don’t hold up the line for those of us who need to catch a plane.

2. Getting in line and generally in the way. You are in the very last zone in the plane? Then by all means, get right up in front of the line in the way of those who are actually in the first zone. Make people step around you, make a general nuisance of yourself during boarding, and you will be extremely unpopular. Or just politely wait out of the way until your zone is called like a civilized human being.

 3. Perfume/Lotion/Other Equally Annoying Smells. Ok, that lovely flower scented lotion is perfectly wonderful in most scenarios but when you take your fabulous, flower scented body onto an enclosed space with hundreds of other passengers it becomes not quite so fabulous. Other people may have severe allergies or just not particularly care for being subjected to the odor of gardenia for several hours. Save those scented products for the rest of your trip, after you disembark the plane.

4. Stinky Food. Even worse that the pleasant (if overpowering) smell of perfumes and lotions is the smell of stinky food which will linger in the air for hours. If you must bring food on the plane – and many of us must since they don’t normally feed us anymore – please consider what you are bringing on. Ham and cheese sandwich? Good. Tuna sandwich? Not so good. Anything with onions, garlic, fish of any kind, or pretty much anything that makes you think wow this has a really strong odor, should not come onto the plane.

5. Cheating with Your Carry on. Yes, we see you. Putting your carry on in the first bin even though you are sitting in the back of the plane. Bringing on big, overstuffed bags to cram in that bin and take way more than your space. Stuffing your coat/laptop bag/backpack/small bag in to the overhead bin even as the flight attendants are asking everyone very nicely to store those small items under the seat in front of you. Please. If you have too much to carry on, just check your bag, put those small items in front of you, and stop being such a jerk.

6. Reclining Your Seat. It is totally within your rights as a passenger to completely recline your seat for the entire duration of the flight. But it is also extremely rude to do so. At the very least, warn the person behind you that you are going to recline the seat so they are not unpleasantly surprised. When the seat in front of you is completely reclined, it severely restricts the amount of leg room you have, brings the video screen unpleasantly close, and makes it impossible to use a tray table. Do you want to be in that situation? Then, don’t do it to the person behind you.

7. Disposing of trash in the seat pocket. The flight attendants come around often to collect trash, and there are also trash receptacles in the bathrooms, so please don’t jam all manner of unpleasant things into that seat pocket. When the planes have a short turnaround time (which is often nowadays), those seat pockets may not even get cleaned out so your trash may be discovered by the next person to try to place something in that seat pocket. Not a great experience.

8. Loud music. If the music you are listening to through your headphones is so loud that it is readily heard by other passengers, then it is too freaking loud. Since others may not share your love for African tribal music, turn it down so that only you can have that joyous experience.

9. Inappropriate movies. The definition of inappropriate will vary from person to person; I have actually been a little shocked at what I have seen on the video screen of a person who is watching one of the movies available on the plane. However, if you are watching what you are perfectly aware is porn on your own device, that’s not appropriate in the close confines of a plane where they may be small children around. Just save it for your own home or hotel room.

10. Sharing books and magazines. This last one is actually one way I attempt to be a particularly nice traveler. When I finish with a magazine or paperback book in the airport or on a flight, rather than carry it home or to my destination, I offer it to the flight attendants. They always seem thrilled to have some new reading material and it’s an easy way to brighten up their day which is often full of passengers who are not so nice.

So, the next time you get on a plane, try to remember some of these suggestions. The other passengers will appreciate it so much!

About the author: Jan Ross

For twenty years, I worked as a librarian in an elementary school but finally decided to get serious about travel writing and devote all my time to it. Now, I travel the world and write all about it. I can't imagine a more fabulous or fulfilling job. I write a regular travel column for two regional, Central Kentucky magazines and contribute regularly to other magazines and online travel sites, such as The SavvyGal, A Luxury Travel Blog and The Vacation Gals. I'm an avid reader and stay active with Yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes. My favorite place in the whole world is a beach - any beach. I have been married for 34 years and my husband is my favorite travel companion. I also rely on him for his excellent photography skills. We have two grown children and the best grandson in the world. Slowly but surely, we are visiting all the places we have dreamed about. Hopefully, the next one will be the one you want to read about!

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