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Airplane Etiquette – Give Me My Space

As a frequent traveler who will achieve the coveted 1K status this year (coveted for its benefits, not for the time away from home), I know a little bit about travel etiquette. But recently, I have encountered a number of violators. So, in the spirit of making the experience better and more fun for all of us, I offer these Do it Well, Make it Fun Airplane Etiquette Tips.


One of the largest numbers on a boarding pass is the boarding number. This is when you can get on the plane. The lower the number the later you get to board. Typically, the number is related to either the cost of the ticket or the frequent flyer status of you, the passenger. Please don’t take this personally even if you’re still trying to resolve that your mother also gave you a lower status in your family of origin. It’s just a system for boarding. So, board when your number is called. And by the way, “six” does not mean “one” or “two.” Wait your turn.

Luggage Stowage

Heavy luggage is even heavier when it falls on my head. Please don’t try to be a hero by lifting your 600-pound carry-on bag by yourself. Just ask for help from those of us around you. Believe me, admitting you are too weak is much better than knocking me out so that I miss my flight.  Also, once you put your bag in the overhead compartment, please don’t spend ten minutes getting ear buds, magazines, blankets, weird neck pillows, and snacks out of the bag. There are a lot of people with 6 or 7 on their boarding passes behind you. Since you knew ahead of time that you’d be boarding the plane, be prepared with all of your accessories.


Just like the imaginary line between my siblings and me in the back seat of my car growing up, the armrest on a plane is the boundary line between your space and mine. Please don’t cross this line. Your elbow belongs to you, not to me. I don’t need you to lean against me – even if it’s cold. And when you fall asleep, please position your leg so it doesn’t lean against mine. Well, unless you’re a very attractive woman. Just saying.


When it’s time to deplane, almost everyone on the plane needs to get somewhere else. None of us live on the plane. So, please don’t think your need to be somewhere else overrides my need to get somewhere else. When you shove me out of the way to get your bag out of the overhead compartment and to position yourself closer to the exit door, I feel the need to trip you. I don’t like to feel the need to trip you so please don’t force me to.

Delays and Cancellations

No matter what you think, the airline does not purposely create bad weather and mechanical problems to ruin your day. If they did, they would do it to your car and not on a plane that contains many other passengers. So, please don’t take out your frustrations on the ticket agent or else you cause her to be grumpy with the rest of us. Simply consider your flight options and make a decision on what’s best for you. Also note that the f-word is unnecessary unless your asking about a F-irst Class upgrade.

Since air travel requires that we all get along in a metal tube that defies the laws of physics to be that high in the air, let’s make it as pleasant as possible. Please fly well and make it fun!


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