Etiquette and manners are about knowing the right thing to do and say in every situation. Travel, airports and airplane etiquette have rules and guidelines too. Long flights, delays and crowded conditions can bring out the worst in travellers. Show others the same courtesy and respect that you wish to receive and observe the following guidelines.
Small spaces, long flights, crying children, illness, delays and other variables always add to the stress of flying. People on the flights that demand additional courtesies or are disrespectful in any / many ways would be advised to relax and become considerate of others. If they want better service, more room, upgrade to business or first class.
On a long haul flight the child behind you is repeatedly pushing or kicking your seat. What do you do?
Stand up, face the child and parent, look directly at the child and say STOP in a firm voice. This is very effective and usually requires only one interaction. If you need to take further action, just stand up and look strongly at the child and they always get the message. The back-up strategy, it to speak to a flight attendant.
After requesting service and not receiving service from the airline attendant, you may wish to walk up to their service area and place your request. Keep in mind, that if they did not respond, there may be a higher priority, safety concern or an unknown situation they are dealing with.
Bathroom line cutters: you wait and wait and then someone cuts in.
Say “Excuse me, the line to the rest room is here.” Then indicate with a gesture of your hand pointing to the end of the line and then say “thank you.” If a young child need to use the restroom and is escorted by an adult, it may be a wise decision to allow them first access to the next available restroom.
Arm rest debate—mine or yours?
You may claim one arm rest but claiming the arm rests on both sides of you would be considered rude. Select your seat wisely while making your online booking knowing that the middle seats will be a challenge if you have a larger person on either side of you.
How to deal with loud music, loud voices, bad jokes, foul language, elbowing or other rudeness?
You may request that they turn the music down or you may speak to the flight attendant to issue the request or you may request being re-seated if the flight is not fully booked. Ask nicely for best results.
What to do when children running up and down the aisles
Trip them (just joking.) Parents should discipline their children and not allow them to run up and down the aisles. You may catch the eye of the child and say NO while pointing a finger at them. Most children will respect an adult that acts in an authoritative manner. The next strategy (if this does not work) is to speak to the parent and or the flight attendant.
You specified a Muslim or vegetarian meal you don’t get it. How should you react?
You may request the correct meal and if done immediately upon realizing that you have not received what you ordered, you will likely receive the correct meal. If this does not work, remain a gracious passenger.
The Talker: the person next to you wants to tell you the story of his/her life. You just want to sleep. How do you deal with this?
Just say “excuse me” to catch their attention or put one hand up as a signal to stop, look at them and then say, “nap time” or I’m going to sleep through this flight, thank you.” Use a short, direct sentence and always add thank you at the end. You have actually given an order and then softened it with thank you.
Top Tips for a Great Flight:
Dress well, but comfortable for a flight. You will receive greater respect if you dress well, act in a courteous manner and speak in an articulate way. I personally, always wear a hat! The hat always draws positive attention, sets me apart from the average traveller and guarantees great service and usually an upgrade.
Sweat pants, baseball cap on, garments that expose too much flesh, heavy perfume or cologne or recently eating food such as curry or other strong spices is not acceptable and will offend other travellers.
Show respect for the flight attendants. They have a very challenging job.
Although you can now bring your own food on to the flight, show courtesy and respect to the other passengers by not selecting spicy or messy food.
Leave your shoes ON or bring a pair of socks for comfort during the flight.
Do not take up more space than your allocated seat or luggage compartment.
Do not put your carry-on luggage in the front overhead bins if your seat is not in that section of the airplane.
Always remember that you are an Ambassador for yourself, your company and your country. Act the part, speak the part and look the part.