Air travel can be stressful even when everything goes right. But sometimes, it's not delayed flights that can be most annoying; sharing the tight quarters of airplane seating with a stranger can be unpleasant, especially when your seat mate has no regard for those around them. Follow these travel etiquette tips to ensure you're a pleasant seat mate, and hopefully those seated next to you will do the same:
Airlines board passengers according to their seat or zone. There's a reason airlines assign boarding orders; it helps with the flow of people and helps with maintaining an orderly boarding process. Additionally, those boarding first may have paid for the privilege so it's only fair to honor it.
- Store Items
There is limited space in overhead compartments, and that space is supposed to be reserved for items that don't fit underneath the seat in front of you. If you have a small carry-on or purse, do your fellow flight mates a favor and store it under the seat. This way you'll leave more space available to those who need the overhead bin and you'll have the benefit of being able to retrieve it during times when seatbelts must remain fastened and you must remain seated.
- Before You Recline
One of the most heated debates of air travel is whether or not you should recline your seat when someone is behind you. While you have the right to do so, it can invade the space of the person behind you and make that person's trip miserable. If you do want to recline whether for sleep or comfort – just give your seat mate behind you a head's up. Let them know you are going to recline so they have time to move any items if needed, like a cup of water that could spill or a laptop that could get hit.
Be aware of the volume on your electronic devices. Even when you've got your headphones plugged in, if the volume is loud your seat mates may be able to hear it.
- Scent Free
You never know who will end up seated next to you, and they may not have a tolerance for strong perfumes or lotions. For some, strong scents can bring on headaches or migraines. Bring unscented lotions for the plane or hold off until you've disembarked to use your scented products.
When the plane finally lands and taxis to your gate, it can be tempting to grab your things and rush off the plane to get to your destination. If everyone did this, it would be extremely chaotic trying to disembark. Allow those people in rows in front of you to leave first; it's the courteous thing to do and it allows everyone to exit in an orderly fashion.
- Moving Sidewalks
Many airports have them; they can provide a much needed reprieve for tired feet or speed up your stride if you're in a rush. Almost all moving sidewalks display the sign (or something similar) "walk on the left, stand on the right". For travelers trying to whiz by and catch their next flight it can be frustrating to find someone standing in the center with their luggage by their side, seemingly oblivious they are holding up traffic. Follow the guidelines of the walking sidewalk, or at the very least be aware of your surroundings if someone needs to get by.
- Purchase Travel Insurance
Sometimes it's not just a bad seat mate that throws a wrench in your travel. For the unexpected travel mishaps that can occur, be sure to pack a travel insurance plan from Travel Guard. A travel insurance plan with 24/7 assistance may help to take some of that stress off your mind so that you can concentrate on enjoying your vacation. Travel Guard's 'round the clock assistance can go to work on your behalf re-booking flights and hotels, finding lost luggage and more. Plus a travel insurance plan can cover you for things like travel delays due to inclement weather, trip cancellation/interruption and medical expenses so that you may book your vacation with confidence.