Air Travel Etiquette

I’ve always wondered if air travel would be a lot more pleasant if the airlines were permitted to replace their safety video with an “in-air courtesy” video.

Instead of explaining how to secure a life vest to our body so that when the aircraft smashes into the ocean and everyone plummets to their death, at least the recovery team with be able to see my corpse floating in the water. I can see my obituary now, “A loving son, husband and father. Tried to preserve his life with a life preserver. Unfortunately he died from either the impact to hitting the ocean at 500km/hr, hypothermia or choking on his beer nuts.”

Anyways, below is my list of air travel courtesies. 

Sitting down

Air planes have tight spaces. When sitting down in your seat, do it slowly, so as to not knock the items off of the person’s tray table behind you.

When getting up, make sure not to yank on the headrest of the seat in front of you. Consider getting up and down in your economy seat as a good core exercise.

Seat back

OK, now you’re in your seat and it’s time to sleep or kick back and watch a movie.

The person in front of you might be doing just the same thing. Just as you lean forward to grab something, Wham! You take a flurry to the cortex and spend the rest of the flight recovering from the “aggressive seat recliner” in front of you.

Once again, when reclining your seat, slow and gradual is best.

Middle seat

Like being a middle child, the middle seat kinda sucks. You don’t get the view of the window or the ease of exit from the aisle.  As such, throw the person in the middle seat a bone. It is common courtesy to provide them with full access to the two armrests.


This is a tough one, as everyone is different and sometimes in just different moods.  Generally people who tend to travel a lot for work see their flight time as down time to read, sleep or watch a movie.  Take a moment to make eye contact and say hello.  Then use your best judgement as to whether to carry on a conversation.  If you are getting a lot of single word answers or the person is not reciprocating the questions you are asking them, it’s a good sign that they want to be left alone.


One of my biggest pet peeves is someone who gets up as soon as the seat-belt lights are turned off and starts trying to walk to the front of the plane.  Unfortunately, despite how your mom made you feel as a child, you are not the centre of the universe.

Everyone has to get off the plane, so do your part and stay in your row until it’s your turn.  Feel free to stand up if you need to.  If being one of the first people off of the plane is so important to you, spend the extra money next time and fly business class.

Note: When you have finally reach the inside of the terminal from the ramp, please don’t stop to look around in amazement or try to figure out where the baggage pickup is.  I’ll guarantee you that wherever you have to go, it’s going to be at least 10-15 metres further than the ramp exit.

I hope everyone sitting in front, behind or next to me reads this the next time the randomly decide to travel on the same flight as me.