How Not to Behave on a Plane

By Jackie Middleton

Everything you need to know about modern airplane etiquette.

How Not to Behave on a Plane
Photo: ISTOCK

Flying economy, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact we’re all in it together.

1. The Armrest Warrior

They dominate the shared armrests and can provoke an in-flight turf war.
Strategise: Sharing is best, or one ‘outside’ rest for window and aisle seats and both for the middle. If someone’s obsessed with claiming ownership, it may be worth retreating peacefully for a more relaxing journey.

2. The Recliner

Their seat goes back as soon as the plane levels out and stays there until landing, making it impossible for those behind to work or eat.
Strategise: On a short flight, reclining is frowned upon. On longer flights, keep your seat straight until it’s acceptable to recline – generally once meal trays have been collected.

3. The Hygiene Offender

It’s a long flight, so they took a long run beforehand, then covered up with the strongest deodorant available.
Strategise: While most of us arrive at the airport fresh and clean, the close quarters of a plane mean that normally pleasant smells like curry and fragrance can affect other passengers. On long-haul flights, pack wet-wipes for an inflight wash and a change of socks, top and underwear.

4. The Chatterer

These flyers can’t wait to talk your ear off for the duration of the flight.
Strategise: Have headphones or a laptop ready to show you’re busy. Nervous flyers may need you to chat to calm them; remind them planes are statistically the safest way to travel.

5. The Overhead Storage Hog

They get on early and stuff every available overhead locker with their excess carry-on.
Strategise: Store heavy items under the seat in front of you, then look for free space in the overheads, accepting you may not get it above your seat.

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