- When you arrive at your designated row, and there are people in the row already, politely ask them to get up so you can get into your seat.
- Ask folks to get up only after your bags have been stored in the overheads.
- As someone in the row being asked to get up for someone to take their window seat, smile and get up and out of the row quickly. If you are the person getting up and are in the aisle row, when you go into the aisle, step back two steps so the person in the middle seat can get out and stand just in front of you with enough room for the person in the window seat to step in.
- If, for whatever reason, the people in the row have elected not to get up (typically this can happen in economy plus or first class seats), be very very careful when getting into the row, that you do not step on toes. More importantly, if you have a laptop bag or purse with you - do NOT carry this in your hands as you move into the row! Instead, drop it into your empty seat, then move into your seat area, and then move your bags as needed (into your hands, then under the seat). This avoids the almost inevitable hitting-people-in-the-face-with-your-bags which will happen if you do not do this.
- If you do make your way into a row while people are seated there already, it is recommended to enter facing forward (so your back is to the people sitting in the row). Hold onto the chairs in the row in front of you so you dont lose your balance and fall backwards into the lap of the people sitting in the row.
- Shower the day of your flight, no matter what. An airplane is a close quarters environment and even if you don't normally do this or dont normally care, please for everyone elses sake - do so. (credit: John Loughney)
- Do not wear perfume or cologne on flights. It can trigger allergies or make other passengers uncomfortable. (credit: Mary Barnes)
- If you bring food onto the airplane to eat, do not bring something with a strong lingering odor. Even if it smells good, this can be distracting to other passengers who may well be hungry but dont want to buy the low quality and overpriced food on the plane. Worse, if its something with a smell that is something only some people like (e.g., ethnic food like Indian or Asian), eat it before you get on the plane.
Colds and Coughs
Hopefully it really goes without saying but if you've got a serious communicable disease, for goodness sake stay at home. For folks with minor colds or coughs, it is usually just unavoidable that you're going to sometimes have to get on a plane, if you do, here are some rules:
- Bring your own tissues, have them with you at all times.
- When you cough, you cough into a tissue so as to minimize spread of germs.
- If is recommended to frequently wipe your nose and for tissues that you are done with, put them in a plastic bag that is inside of your laptop bag or purse or whatever. Don't leave them on the tray, don't stuff them in the pocket of the chair, don't leave them in your lap.
- When you sneeze, sneeze into a tissue and immediately discard.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it frequently, after every sneeze and every once in a while after wiping your nose.
- If the flight attendant comes and looks for food or drink orders, and they are trying to get the attention of the person next to you that doesn't notice them, help out and tap them on the shoulder and point to the flight attendant. Of course, do not do that if they are sleeping. This often happens when they are listening to music or a movie or engrossed in work.
- When the attendant comes back with drinks or food, help pass them down the row so the attendant does not need to lean over everyone. (credit: Chaim Hass)
- When the attendant comes back to collect trash, please help and pass forward trash from folks towards the window, so they don't need to reach over you to do so.
- When passing drinks down, pay careful attention to any laptops or electronics that are out. Do NOT put the drink the airspace above said electronic device! One bump and its toast!
- During beverage or food service, it's a social faux pas to get up and go to the washroom or get up in general. (credit: Dave Ward)
- The people serving have a hard enough time getting drinks and food to other customers that having people in the aisles is more than a mild inconvenience. If you have to go and the carts are out but nothing served more than 6 rows "before you," then politely ask your aisle neighbors to let you out (remembering they are fixated on getting their drinks, snacks and food). Use the washroom that doesn't require the servers to have to push their cart back and forth to let you back into your seat or shimmy past the cart. Don't even think of getting up if you have to have them disrupt their service to accommodate your poor lack of timing. (credit: Dave Ward).
- Never ask your aisle mates to let you out if they have been served food except for an imminent attack food poisoning or potential of gastrointestinal thermonuclear explosion. Getting up with food on your tray is almost impossible - the balancing act required almost always results in a spill or other catastrophe. (credit: Dave Ward).
- For multi-course meals (typically first class), do not get up and go to the washroom between courses. There is almost certainly folks in your row still eating, or trays out, or flight attendants trying to get to the next round of service. Just way until the end of the service. (credit: Dave Ward).
- If there is a child behind you that is being loud, kicking the seat, or disturbing you, set a mental timer for 5 minutes. If the behavior does not improve after five minutes, you have the option of turning around to the parents of the child and asking politely for them to stop. (credit: Mary Barnes). Always ask the parent and not the child.
Overhead Bin Space Management
- Like it or not, the overhead space is allocated in time order of boarding.
- Once a bin is totally full, close it.
- If you are looking for space, please don't walk up and down the aisle opening closed bins. If they are closed it is because it is full already.
- You may move items already in the bin in order to make space for your own, within reason. That means, moving within the bin, changing orientation, or putting the other item ONTOP of your own (not under) as long as it is not being crammed in. You may ask for jackets to be removed and moved. If you want to make a non-trivial move, ask the people in the row if the item is theirs before the move (e.g., moving to a different adjacent bin).
- When on a redeye, if you have a laptop bag and a rollerboard, you may put both in the overhead storage in order to allow yourself room to stretch in the room under the seat in front of you. You may do this ONLY if your rollerboard fits lengthwise and your laptop bag or purse fit into the overhead standing up, not lying down. And only for redeyes.
- You can put your jacket in the overhead, but you must put it ontop of your bag, or jammed between it and another bag.