Five Etiquette Tips for Economy Flights

Except for those really adventurous souls, flying economy may never really be enjoyable. With the increased crowding, decreased service and never-ending delays, flying is just not fun. But there are a few things that each of us can do to make it better for everyone-and it involves just some common courtesy:

  1. Board the plane when you’re really supposed to. Know how everyone tramples each other when they announce it’s boarding time? Well, if you’re economy, don’t even try boarding when it’s time for business class. You’ll just look stupid. And when they ask for people to board who need extra time? They really do mean disabled people and mothers with children. Don’t board or you’ll feel stupid.

Now here’s the hard part–when they ask you to board from the higher row numbers first. It’s very tempting-and I do it, too-to push ahead to get on no matter where your seat is. But there’s really a reason for letting on those passengers with the higher-row numbers first. Think about it the next time you get on with a row-number of 35, and then have all these people with rows 42, 45, 50 and above-breathing down your neck and sighing as you try plopping into your seat. If you get a little stuck in the aisle as you wrestle with your too-big carry-on luggage or your coat, remember-as you begin to perspire-that all this could have been avoided if you had let those people– who are supposed to be ahead of you–on first. So next time, board in the order you’re supposed to.

  1. Sit down in your seat first-with all your stuff–and wait until people have passed to stow your carry-on luggage or coat. There’s nothing more infuriating than waiting for some jerk trying to unsuccessfully ram his luggage into the overhead department. And then, while a whole line of people behind him wait and raise their collective blood pressure to 10,000/8000, he tries to smash his coat into the same spot, obviously never having learned the first principle of physics: a coat and a carry-on cannot occupy the same space in an overhead compartment.

3. Pick an aisle seat if you are overweight or need to pee a lot. If you sit in the middle of the row and you have to get out several times, therefore, making other people have to squirm repeatedly out of their seats, you are going to make people very angry. It won’t be your imagination that you are bothering people; you will be bothering people.

If you’re overweight, it’s a lot better if you let yourself hang over the side into the aisle a bit than to allow your unwanted flesh to flap over onto someone else’s lap or chest or arm. I don’t think I have to go into details about how uncomfortable it is for the person next to you. But you yourself will feel a little better if you know you’re not squashing someone on both sides.

  1. Assume the person next to you does not want to talk. Yes, a little polite hello is nice at the beginning of the flight, considering that you’re almost impaled onto your fellow passenger. But there’s also nothing wrong with just a slight nod and then not talking. If you are a talker, look for body language that suggests that the passenger next to you does not want to converse. Some of these gestures may include: the passenger putting the blanket over his/her head or the passenger staring down into a book and not responding. If this continues during a meal, you should ask the flight attendant to take the person’s vital signs-especially if they’re staring down and there isn’t a book.

If everyone would just be a little more considerate of fellow passengers, it might-just might-make flying economy a little less irritating. (I would never go as far to say enjoyable).

Have a safe flight.

In conclusion, economic flights may not prove to be quite welcoming as business class, but the experience would be something unique where you can get to mingle with new people who are regular travelers and get to learn new things while business ones are only for official purposes that are quite boring and therefore most businessmen opt for private jet charter flights where only one or two people can travel.