Plane Etiquette: Do You Know the Limit?

Wednesday 17th Jan 2024 |

To recline or not to recline? Your favourite egg mayo baguette or something less pungent? If you’ve ever been curious as to just what you can get away with whilst flying then you aren’t alone. And to help you ‘navigate this flightpath’ Rosie Panter, travel expert at the UK’s trusted travel price comparison site, dealchecker, has shared her dos and don’ts on plane etiquette, including the hotly-debated issue of when it is truly acceptable to recline your seat all the way back…

Whose arm rest is whose?

If you think you are entitled to both armrests on a plane, and you aren’t in the middle seat, then you are just plain wrong. Aeroplane politics are a serious matter and armrest etiquette should not be taken lightly. Put simply those assigned the middle seat have drawn the short straw, so if you are in the window or the aisle seats, be nice and let those in the middle have full rein over both armrests.

Plane etiquette

To recline or not to recline?

With 30/31 inches being the standard leg room allowance on short-haul flights, there’s nothing worse than having the passenger in front of you recline their seat and take up residence in your lap. So, if a flight is shorter than six hours, don’t be the person that halves someone else’s leg room, especially not without asking first.

Who cut the cheese?

Despite aeroplane air filtration systems effectively eliminating harmful microbes, they aren’t as adept at reducing the smell of the egg mayo sandwich you bought from Pret before boarding. So, if you’re bringing food on board consider those around you and forego egg, tuna, onion and garlic – no one wants these smells lingering in the cabin for the entire plane journey. Instead opt for snacks that are less pungent.

Keep calm and stay seated

We’ve all done it when in a hurry but standing as soon as the plane touches the tarmac will not speed up your exit time in the slightest. The crew need time to safely prepare for disembarking and open the doors. And even then, those closest to the doors will get to leave first, so save yourself from looking like a melon and wait your turn.

Plane etiquette

A round of applause

Two words: no & no. If you have had a particularly rocky flight and difficult landing, maybe a slight clap, or thanks to the pilot as you leave, but no regular flight to the Med should result in clapping. Let’s leave that in the past.

Drinking on long-haul flights

For the more nervous fliers amongst us, the complimentary glass of wine on a long-haul flight is an appealing way to calm the jitters, however, knocking them back is never a good idea. Remember you’re on a plane not at a bar, so for short-haul flights stick to two drinks max. On a long-haul flight remember to alternate any alcoholic beverages with water and plenty of food.

Being at altitude lowers your tolerance for alcohol so always err on the side of caution. And remember, enjoying a slight buzz whilst flying is fine but if you start seeing double, take it as a sign to slow down before you get yourself in trouble…

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