Six Travel Etiquette Tips

March 12, 2013  |     |   0 Comment

It’s spring break and for many that means a vacation that requires traveling on a plane to a sunny destination.  Did you know that one out of six people is anxious about flying?  Here are six etiquette tips to keep in mind when you travel to help make your experience as well as those around you as pleasant and stress free as possible:

1.  Wait for your turn to board and disembark.  Airlines assign boarding order because it helps with the flow of getting people onboard in a timely manner.  People should honour and wait their turn to board according to when their seat or row is called.  When it is time to disembark, wait until the people in the rows ahead of you have left their seats.  Do not rush ahead, stand in the aisle, and make it difficult for people to access their bags in the overhead bins.  Keeping order in such a confined space avoids chaos.

2.  Respect the use of space to stow your carry-on bags.  A lot of stress is faced by travellers who run the risk of having to check a bag because the overhead bins on-board are full. This stress can be eliminated if everyone did their part to respect the use of space on an airplane. Use the space in the seat in front of you to stow smaller items like a purse or backpack.  Larger carry-on items should be placed in the overhead compartment directly above your seat. Respecting your stow space and that of your fellow travellers also helps to avoid flight delays caused by last minute checked bags.

3.  Respect the personal space of fellow travellers.  The rule of thumb is that the person who is seated in the middle row gets both arm rests.  The person by the window gets the far left arm-rest, and the person sitting on the aisle gets the far right armrest.  Space is limited, so be mindful of your leg room and elbow room.  Nothing is more aggravating than someone imposing upon your personal space onboard a plane.

4.  Be considerate about how and when you recline your seat. Ever have someone abruptly recline their set in front of you?  It’s annoying! Before you recline, check to see who is sitting behind you and what they may be doing.  If drinks or food are being served, it is considerate to adjust your seat to the upright position so that the person has more space to eat.  If they have their table down and are working on their computer, let them know you will be reclining to give them the opportunity to be prepared so their computer does not end up on their lap. Yes, you have the right to recline your seat – but if you do so all the way, you will be infringing upon someone’s personal space.  Be comfortable – but also be considerate.

5.  Travel is not the time to engage in any sort of personal grooming. Being comfortable while traveling is important – especially if you have a long haul.  While taking your socks and shoes off may relieve the pressure of your swelling feet, it is improper and rude.  In addition, any sort of personal grooming should be done in the bathroom – not at your seat!  That includes flossing your teeth, filing your nails, putting on or refreshing your makeup, or brushing your hair.

6.  Dress appropriately.  Everyone has a different sense about what is or is not appropriate to wear when traveling. Comfort is important, but this should not reduce us to traveling in our gym or yoga gear.  Projecting a positive and professional image is important no matter where you are or what you are doing – whether at a business meeting or traveling on your personal time. What are you saying to others about who you are if you are flying in flip flops and sweatpants?  There is also another very practical reason for dressing in an appropriate manner when you travel. It can help you if you encounter any trouble along the way. Dress like you are important when you travel. People are inclined to take you more seriously and remedy the situation – like if you miss a flight or lose a passport – if they perceive you in a positive manner.  Like it or not, your appearance plays a role in how others perceive you.  A pair of dark jeans or chinos, a nice white shirt and blazer can project a more positive and professional image when you fly versus a pair of sweatpants and hoodie.

Consideration and respect for others go a long way when you travel – especially if you are flying and confined to a small space.  Your travel time should be as much a part of your positive vacation experience as the destination! Safe travels.

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