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Airplane etiquette: The ten do’s and don’ts of flying – A guide

We have compiled a list of 5 do’s and 5 don’ts to abide by when flying.

While holidays are exciting and fun, we all dread the flight that accompanies them – and there is nothing worse than getting stuck next to a fellow passenger who doesn’t heed the simple rules of polite in-flight behavior. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of 5 do’s and 5 don’ts to abide by when flying.


1. Greet your fellow passengers
While none of us want to get stuck beside a chatty neighbor, common courtesy does dictate that you smile and say hi to your neighbors when taking your seat. If it’s a long flight, you’ll be stuck together for a long time, and so it’s vital to create a pleasant atmosphere before take-off.

2. Pack a toothbrush for long flights
The same basic hygiene that you practice at home applies on an airplane. If you are traveling long-distance or overnight, make sure that you are able to brush your teeth. Not only does it make you feel more fresh in a pretty grimy situation, but it’s far more pleasant for the people sitting beside you who may have to smell your breath. We all know how much bad smells are amplified when in close proximity…

3. Pack nicotine products
If you are a nicotine user, long flights can truly be a nightmare as you are unable to use some products with nicotine. This is where nicotine pouches come in handy – as they are non-combustible, do not smell, and do not require spitting. In fact, unless your seat-mate sees you inserting a nicotine pouch under your lip, it is doubtful they will even realize you are using one. Another handy reason to bring them along is that they fit perfectly in your pocket and require no accessories such as a lighter.

4. Consider passengers traveling together
If you see that friends, or especially families with children, have been forced to separate due to overcrowded seating arrangements, and you are able to help – then do. Of course, don’t help at the expense of separating yourself from your own group or family, but do consider helping your fellow travelers if you are able to.

5. Be Corona cautious
Traveling has changed in the last year, and it’s important to remember corona restrictions even while onboard a flight. While the preferred 2 meter distancing rule may not be possible, it is important that you always remember to wear a mask and sanitize as often as possible. Do not take risks that expose you or other travelers to harm.


6. Don’t overpack your hand luggage
There is nothing worse than a backed-up line in the aisle as someone struggles to lift their hand luggage into the overhead compartment. A simple rule for hand luggage is this: if you can’t lift it above your head, take some things out of it. It is no one else’s responsibility to lift the bag for you. Besides, taking it out of the overhead compartment later could be a nightmare and downright dangerous.

7. Don’t drink too much
Please remember that one drink in the air is like three drinks on the ground. There is nothing worse than a sloppy drunk on a plane. Even if you think you’re being entertaining – trust us, you’re not. Have a drink to relax and then switch to water. Staying hydrated on a flight is the most important thing you can do.

8. Don’t spread out
Flying economy means that there is limited space for everyone, so try not to spread your legs into your neighbor’s seat area. A similar rule applies to armrests – unspoken etiquette states that the person in the middle gets them as they are squeezed between two people.

9. Don’t bring smelly food onto the plane
We all like to bring a few snacks to tide us over while in mid-air, but please try to stay away from food with a very distinct smell. Foods like tuna, durian, egg and takeaway burgers are delicious but do cause a bit of a stench. Instead, opt for chocolate and fruits such as apples. 

10. Don’t recline unecessarily
The topic of whether to recline your chair is a contentious one. The chairs were made to recline for a reason, and of course you should be as comfortable as possible during your flight. But always make sure that the person behind you isn’t eating or using the table before you recline. On shorter flights, a lot of people are traveling for work and may have their laptops on the table. If so, perhaps you can try to find other means of comfort for the duration of the short flight.

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