How to be a good plane pal

Whether it’s a long-haul flight or a short domestic one, the passengers around you can make the flight dreadful or enjoyable. Here are seven tips for being the plane buddy other passengers will want to sit beside.

1. Be ready

Your time starts even before you’ve boarded the plane. You know that in order to board the aircraft you’ll need to have your passport and/or boarding pass, so have them ready when before you’re in front of the line. Neither the staff nor your fellow flyers want to wait for you while you search.

2. Practice patience

Chances are, once you’re on the plane you’ll have to wait behind people desperately trying to stuff their hand luggage into already full overhead compartments, before you can reach your seat. Be patient and politely offer to help if they’re struggling. 

3. Give up the armrest

It’s normal etiquette that the person in the middle seat get to use the armrest. Let’s be honest, there’s no other benefit to being crammed in between two bodies, without a window or an aisle seat. So, don’t spread your elbows and make it impossible for them to do so.

4. Find a friend

If you’re a solo traveller on a long flight, the best way to make the time pass more quickly is to befriend the person sitting next to you. If you’re not a big conversationalist, you can still have a brief chat to your neighbour before putting on your earphones, signalling ‘quiet time’. 

 5. Check before reclining

Before taking a nap, it’s polite to give the person behind you warning before reclining your seat. They will be more forgiving when you do push your seat back and steal some of their precious leg space. Additionally, always remember to return your seat to its upright position during meals.

6. Respect boundaries

You only have a small amount of space to call your own during the flight and so does your neighbour. Be sure not to encroach on their personal space by letting any of your belongings hang over their armrest or against their seat. Also, if you need to stretch your legs, talk a walk up and down the cabin.

7. Don’t be that person

Personal hygiene routines should always happen in the bathroom. No one wants to be trapped next to to someone who’s flossing their teeth or filing their nails. Planes can be germ-ridden places, and the last thing a passenger needs is someone beside them who coughs without covering their mouths. Also, when playing music though earphones, be mindful about the volume.

What are your plane etiquette tips?

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