For many, the only way to reach the Caribbean is by flying. You probably want to have a pleasant flight (and so do the passengers around you), so be sure to follow airplane etiquette! Here are 10 things you should never do on an airplane:
1. Recline your seat during meal time
On long flights, most airlines serve meals. Passengers undoubtedly want to enjoy them on the tray table on the seat in front of them, but that will be difficult to do if the seat isn’t in an upright position. When you see flight attendants serving drinks and meals, be kind and don’t recline your seat all the way back!
2. Treat the flight attendant like your personal servant
Flight attendants are there to ensure the safety of all passengers on the airplane, not to make sure that you’re 100% comfortable at all times. Don’t abuse the call button by summoning an attendant every five minutes to cater to your every need!
In addition, it’s important to remember that they are employees, not servants, and they deserve your respect. Be polite and speak to them the way you would like to be spoken to. If they ask you to abide by certain flight rules, comply without arguing. Keep in mind that they’re not asking you to follow guidelines to annoy you–it’s just their job!
3. Eat directly off the tray table
Studies have shown that airplanes are some of the dirtiest places on the planet. In fact, the plastic table trays are the worst culprits– their plastic surfaces harbor a multitude of bacteria, and are seldom wiped down. Just imagine everything that has happened on them! Maybe a soda has been spilled on that tray, or someone with a cold sneezed on it, or maybe a diaper was changed there!
Don’t place your snacks directly on the tray table. Instead, eat them out of their bags or containers, or place them on a napkin. If you have some, wipe the tray down with hand sanitizer or a wipe before using it.
4. Put your bag in the overhead bin when it fits under the seat in front of you
This applies mainly to more crowded flights. If you have a small backpack, and there’s limited space in the overhead bins, kindly place your bag under the seat in front of you. This benefits others in that it allows people with larger carry-ons to find a space, but it also benefits you! That’s because the faster people find a spot for their bag, and the flight attendants are able to close the overhead bins, the faster your flight will take off.
In addition, follow flight attendant instructions if they ask you to store your bag a certain way. Don’t be one of those people who puts their suitcase in the overhead bin horizontally, taking up well over half the space!
5. Try to disembark before the people in front of you
The plane has finally landed, and everyone’s eager to get off! However, it’s best to be patient and wait your turn. Flight etiquette dictates that people should disembark from front to back. Don’t be the guy who pushes past everyone else and tries to exit before the people in front of him.
6. Fail to sit in your assigned seat
Is the airplane nearly empty when you board? Don’t assume it’s going to stay that way! There’s nothing more annoying then finding someone in your assigned seat. So don’t take up someone else’s space, unless a flight attendant has asked or allowed you to move. Be sure to check the seat number on your ticket so that you don’t end up in the wrong chair on accident. Confusion about seats can cause problems and delay take off.
7. Demand a free upgrade
It’s important to remember that free seat upgrades are not the norm. Years ago, an upgrade to first class was common, but not anymore. Nowadays, everything comes with a fee, including legroom. Most flights are fully booked, and seats are electronically issued. Don’t pester your flight attendant for a free upgrade “just because there’s a seat empty”– it’s not going to happen. In fact, most airlines actually prohibit it. That’s because upgrading is done electronically, not arbitrarily.
However, there are a few ways to “earn” upgrades. For example, frequent fliers who constantly fly with the same airline often get rewarded with these kinds of perks. A computerized process selects people who are part of the airline’s elite programs, or have purchased upgrade-eligible fare to automatically be moved to bigger and better seats at no cost when they are available.
8. Taking off your shoes and socks
No one likes the stench of stinky feet! (And not being able to escape from it!) Taking off your shoes and socks on an airplane may be comfortable for you, but it infringes on the comfort of others. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone’s bare toes poking through the gap between your chair and the cabin wall, or propped up on the back of your seat above your head. In addition, walking the cabin barefoot isn’t just against the rules of many airlines, it’s also a health hazard.
9. Drinking too much
Yes, alcoholic beverages are available on many flights, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink them. After all, you’re in an airplane, not a bar! Limit your alcohol intake and drink responsibility. Make sure you drink enough water, since alcohol can be dehydrating.
10. Talking (or gaming) loudly
On a flight, there are many different activities that people enjoy. Some read, others watch movies, and kids might draw or play with toys. But many are tired from traveling all day, and just want to sleep! Be aware that you’re in a tight space with dozens of other people who won’t be able to avoid overhearing your conversations, should you speak too loudly. Keep your voice down, and be considerate of other passengers.
Also, when playing games on your phone or ipad, use headphones. Or, just turn the sound off! Likewise for playing music– bring headphones, and keep your tunes to yourself.
At KeyCaribe, we’re all about making your traveling experience better! Check out more traveling tips here:
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