Airplane Etiquette

by Anna Maria Cos Alcantara

Clear the aisles. 

I’m sure you’re familiar with this situation – you’re one cabin away from your seat, and all you want in life is to get settled in the plane but the person in front of you is taking their sweet, sweet time fixing their things. Sure, the plane’s not immediately taking off, but as much as possible, before you board, place everything you need during the flight inside the carry on that you’ll keep at your feet, and place everything else in the bag that you’ll place in the overhead bin. So as soon as you find your seat, put your bag up in the overhead cabin and sit down as quickly as you can.

Be mindful of your bag. 

Especially if you’re using a backpack. For some reason, people lose their spatial awareness inside airplanes and tend to forget that every time you turn and you are carrying a bag – chances are, you will bump someone with your bag. As much as possible, keep your bags at a level where you can lower the chance of bumping it into someone, or better yet, take it off first and carry it on your hands or by your side.

The armrest dilemma.

If you’re seated at the window seat or at the aisle, you already have the privilege of having the view or having extra leg room by the aisle. You also don’t have competition for one armrest, so please – give the armrest to the middle seat. That person is already going through enough as it is, especially if all three of you don’t know each other. And if you get the chance to choose your seat, save yourself the dilemma and choose a window or aisle seat when you’re booking your ticket.

Don’t recline your seat. 

This only applies to those flying economy. I’ve been through a lot of long haul flights where the person in front of me shamelessly reclined their seat all the way back – without even asking if it’s alright that they’re taking away that much space! Sure, we’re all just trying to make the most out of what we paid for, but it just causes the next person to recline and so on and so forth – causing discomfort to more than one person. So if you’re that person in economy that has the audacity to recline your seat all the way back – you find more comfort and legroom in business or first class.

Keep your feet to yourself. 

Yes, we’re all allowed to get settled and be comfortable inside the airplane but please – do not leave your feet exposed along the aisles if you’re the type to remove your shoes in-flight. A lot of people have an aversion to this, so as much as possible don’t fall asleep with your legs stretched out and your feet bare.


Getting out of the plane is not a race. 

I don’t think I can stress this enough – sure, everyone wants to get out of the stuffy plane, but it’s common decency to fall in line and patiently wait to file out in order. There’s really no rush in exiting the plane unless you have a connecting flight. And if you do, you can politely ask the people in front of you if you can cut the line and exit first. Otherwise, please be patient. Everyone wants to leave the plane as much as you do.


While there are a lot more airplane etiquette that should be discussed, these are the basics that everyone should take note of. Not only will you contribute to the universe by being polite to your flight-mates, but you will also benefit by saving yourself some time and avoid being under unnecessary stress.


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