Posted by Madelon van der Hof
I love flying. You can really centre yourself during a long flight. You don’t have to (read: can’t) do anything but relax. Things weren’t that easy during my last 10-hour flight. The man next to me made lots of noise when eating and then snored his head off. Nothing a good pair of ear plugs couldn’t dampen, but it did get me thinking. The safety rules are familiar to everyone, but what about the rules of acceptable inflight behaviour?
So, once I got home, I asked my friends and colleagues what they thought. The outcome? Nine tips to make flying as pleasant as possible – for you and for your fellow passengers.
Mind other people’s hand luggage
Everyone takes hand luggage along when travelling. For some, it’s a sports bag and, for others, a modest handbag. And there are those who take both on board. It’s therefore not inconceivable that there isn’t enough space in the overhead compartment above your seat. Don’t try to squeeze your luggage in yourself. The other bags may contain valuables or breakables, so wait until everyone is seated and then ask the cabin crew for help.
Just say hello!
Greet the person next to you when taking your seat or when he or she sits down. You’ll be sitting relatively close to one another in a confined space for the duration of the flight and there’s a good chance you’ll need to interact at some point. Either to pass on food or drinks, or because you’d like to stretch your legs a bit. A friendly greeting and brief exchange is often sufficient for a pleasant, polite flight next to one another.
Lean on me
When leaning back your chair, do so with care. Of course it’s more comfortable to lean back a bit, but remember that the person behind you will have less legroom. Don’t just push it back abruptly, but turn around to alert the person behind you of your plans. Want to bet he or she will say it’s fine? Definitely if you straighten up your back support again during mealtimes.
Spray with care
Put a few hundred people in a sealed area for ten hours and you can be sure the surroundings won’t smell like roses half way into the flight. Smelling fresh when you board is one thing, but de-boarding fresh is another. Using deodorant or a splash of perfume to freshen up is fine, but do so in moderation. You may have become immune to the smell of your own perfume, but an overdose of “flower bomb” may be too much for your neighbour.
Never, I repeat, never pull on the headrest
Just imagine: you’re about to take a sip of coffee poured for you by the cabin attendant when the person behind you stands up and pulls on your headrest. The hot coffee spills down your face and neck onto your clothes, and you’re stuck smelling like coffee for the next few hours. Moral of the story: whatever you do, never pull on the headrest in front of you!
My space, your space
Remain in your own seat as much as possible. If you stretch out your arms or legs and offend the person next to you, things could get awkward. You have a limited amount of space, but this also applies to your fellow passengers. For this reason, take one another into account when sharing the space available to you.
Be mindful of your happy sounds
During my last flight I sat next to a gentleman who made lots of noise when eating and he snored. This didn’t matter much once I’d put my earplugs in, but it’s generally much nicer if you’re aware of your own happy sounds during a flight. But what if you aren’t aware of these sounds and your neighbour diplomatically points them out to you? Take it like the lady or gentleman that you are. Excuse yourself, crack a joke about it and continue the journey smoothly.
Only drink alcohol in moderation
Having a drink on board can be very pleasant, certainly if you’re ringing in the holidays. But if you notice you’re getting a bit too boisterous after two glasses of wine, switch to water. There are few things worse than a drunken – and sometimes unmanageable – passenger on board.
It is possible that you abide perfectly by the “code of conduct”, but that the same cannot be said of the person next to or behind you. Don’t be afraid to say something about this in a calm and friendly manner. People are often unaware of their own behaviour and it’s always the tone that makes the music.
To be continued…
The cabin crew members are there to make your flight as safe and pleasant as possible. Always follow their instructions and treat them with respect. And you may expect the same level of respect in return. In my next blog, I’m going to take a closer look at the world of inflight etiquette. Did you, for example, know that our cabin crew members follow etiquette training? I do! And soon, you will too. To be continued…