Jettiquette: How to deal with traveling offenses

Flights are the necessary evil for us to get to our destinations- whether that's fun in the sun, a visit to grandma’s house or a business trip. But what do you do with that crying baby or drunk passenger sitting next to you?

In this post we will walk through ‘jettiquette’

  1. Let’s start with toddler kicking the back of your seat. What do you do?
Rather than address the kid directly, first try to bring it to the attention of the mother. But, understanding that it may be a sensitive issues, you can get up and talk to the flight attendant in the front of the plane to help you with the situation in a more discreet way.

  1. Crying baby
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do, except offer your empathy to the mother, who is probably horrified...even embarrassed herself. Also, think about it - you, as an adult, are likely uncomfortable on the flight - so is that little munchkin. But to insure your own comfort, be prepared and bring along noise cancelling headphones, and drift off to your happy place.

  1. You’re sitting in the isle or the window seat, who get’s the armrest?
If you’re at the window lean against the wall, the isle theoretically has more leg room and the outer arm rest; so Jetiquette dictates the middle seat has priority for the armrests in the middle. (Not that the other two seats can't share.) And, it's the least you can do - THEY HAVE THE MIDDLE SEAT!

  1. You're flying red eye and they’ve just turned off the cabin lights, but your neighbor wants read a book. So he turns on his reading light.
As annoying as it may be, he is within his right to use it light. It’s up to you to be prepared, and you can do that easily by keeping an eye mask in your coat pocket!

  1. You’ve traveled all day and board the plane. All you want to do is just sleep so lean back your seat.
It is within your right to lean your seat back as far as it can go, but you may want to wait until after they do cabin service. (The flight attendant will likely come by and ask you to lift your seat anyway.)

  1. You’re leaving Boston and grab a meal to go from Legal Seafood...
Nope to fish or stinky food! It is perfectly fine to bring on your own food, but avoid food with strong smells. You'll be in a shared tight space for hours!

  1. You board the flight, take your seat and a guy sits down next to you who is already so drunk you that can smell him!
Most people don’t know that it’s actually illegal to board an aircraft drunk. You can only drink alcohol provided by the airline on your flight. You can bring duty free drinks on the plane, but you are not allowed to drink these while on board.  In fact, it is a criminal offense to be drunk on an aircraft, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

  1. Putting your feet on the armrest or wall?
Don’t go barefoot at all! A flight attendant once told me to think about the bathroom. She said "how precise do you think the hundreds of people who use the toilet during the flight are? What about during turbulence?" With that visual, it is inevitable that there is pee on the floor. So, then it’s definitely trekked back to the aisle and under your seat. Eww!

  1. Someone asks if they can trade seats with you.
You are not required to give up your seat - especially if you paid extra to select your seat before boarding. However, the people around you may think of you as a jerk if you do reject the proposal. (This because people are so scary for any type of conversations aboard airplanes. So, don't worry.) However, Jetiquette would dictate that an appropriate trade should be a seat equal to yours - like, a window for window in the middle of the plane. Don’t expect someone to take your middle seat for their isle, just so you can sit next to your boyfriend!

  1. Finally, this is my biggest pet peeve! When at the gate and it’s time to board...

...wait until the agent calls your boarding zone! For most domestic airlines, you are assigned a seat number (not Southwest, where at the least you are assigned a boarding zone.) So crowding the gate is actually considered rude. Many times people are hovered by the gate and I can't tell if they are in line because they have called their zone or are just waiting/crowding the gate. And because they are crowding the gate, people who are actually trying to board the plane cannot.
You should just relax until the agent calls your zone! After all, you'll be sitting in your confined seat aboard the plane for at least a few hours solid. The only benefit for boarding a flight early is to get cabin space for your luggage. However, if you are not in an early zone, they you'll likely have to check roller-bags at the gate. So, chillax and wait until they call your your zone!

Be aware that not every traveler is on a journey for business or pleasure. Almost every flight, there are people on the worst trip of their lives - they are headed to a funeral of a loved one.

So as you navigate the airports, aircrafts and waiting lounges, these jettiquette tools will should help you know what to do when in a predicament during your travels.


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