Bottom line: Exercising proper plane etiquette

Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 7:54 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s no secret that air travel can test your patience, from crowded planes to overpriced mediocre snacks and food.

As unpleasant as it can be, following some basic common-sense rules can lessen the stress.

So with holiday travel coming up, Consumer Reports unpacks the do’s and don’ts of flying etiquette that could make your next trip—and everyone else’s—more pleasant.

Flight delays, long security checks, and jam-packed planes make flying hard enough. Add in rude, inconsiderate passengers, and it’s a recipe for disaster. But being courteous can mean different things to different people.

To clear the air, Consumer Reports consulted with flight attendants and etiquette experts to come up with an essential guide of unspoken rules.

Middle-seat seat passengers should have access to both armrests. It’s the only real estate they own, so let them get the consolation prize.

And what about reclining? You certainly have the right to, but before you do make sure you’re not inconveniencing the person behind you, who may have long legs. You can also politely ask if they mind if you recline.

Remember that you’re sharing a confined space with others. That means don’t hoard the overhead bins, wear headphones when using devices, avoid unpacking anything smelly (so no tuna salad sandwiches), and keep your shoes on!

And what if a person wants to switch seats? It’s okay to say no if there’s a reason you chose that seat, like being next to a window so you can sleep.

Be flexible if it’s an equal trade, say, an aisle seat one row back. And what if someone is kicking your chair? It’s okay to politely ask them to stop.

If disruptions do occur—someone gets angry or aggressive—Consumer Reports says it’s best not to take matters into your own hands. Tell a flight attendant, who is trained to handle those kinds of situations.

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