The Dos and Don’ts of Airplane Etiquette


Some say I’m an airplane connoisseur, but most tell me I have no credibility to ever give any sort of advice ever. As always, I ignore the latter and shove my opinion down people’s throats anyway. Traveling via airplane can be fun and adventurous, but most of the time it’s stressful and boring. Make the best of the situation that most people already don’t want to be in, and for the love of God, don’t be that person who ruined someone else’s flight.

Do look before you slam your seat back.

I’m roughly 6 feet tall, and far too often the person in front of me presses the reclining button of doom and slams back into my bony knees like he’s the karate kid slicing three boards in half. Not to mention, my coffee was resting on the fold down table and is now burning through the first few layers of skin on my inner thighs. I get it, that extra few inches may seem precious to your bad posture, but what about the guy behind you who is directly affected by your selfish decision? To the guy who turned around on my flight to New Orleans last spring break and kindly asked, “Madam, would thou beist offended if I should extend my seat somewhat in your personal space?” I applaud you. Granted he was already bachelor party drunk at that point and was probably just hitting on me, I genuinely appreciated him asking first and had zero problems with him lowering it back.

Don’t loudly complain about the baby on board who won’t stop crying.

Chances are, the baby’s parents have spent all afternoon trying to get all six kids in one vehicle without leaving one tiny “Dora the Explorer” suitcase at home. The baby of the family was absolutely no help in the packing process–the jerk didn’t even pack his or her own toothbrush! The parents are very aware that their child is obnoxiously crying and keeping every single flyer awake, and they are desperately trying to shut the thing up. A passive aggressive, “Some parents need to learn to CONTROL their kids!” is going to just stress Mom out, and that negative energy is going to be passed to the infant in her arms. Suck it up, she’s not going to give her child a horse tranquilizer. You, my friend, were once that baby who cried in an inconvenient situation, too. Live and let live.

Do thank your captain and stewardess on your way out.

I know I expect a thank you when I hold the door open for a stranger, but that act did not decide whether or not the person was going to live. The captain could’ve crashed the plane, but he or she didn’t. The stewardess could’ve left the peanuts in the back, but he or she didn’t. A simple thank you goes a long way.

Don’t try to smuggle your turtle onto the plane.

TSA frowns upon that, apparently. I tried looking up ways to sneak my turtle onto an airplane once and discovered two important bits of info: TSA is not afraid to make a little girl throw away her innocent tortoise, and someone has already tried (and failed) to disguise a turtle as a hamburger to get it onto a flight. Sneaking one on will just get you stopped and at least one of the hundreds of pissed off people in line behind you will tell security that you left a backpack in the terminal.

Do take a shot before getting on board if you have airplane anxiety.

We’ve all sat next to the person who has nervous jitters. This person won’t stop fidgeting or shaking his or her legs. This person will also mouth breathe throughout the entire five hour flight. Airplane anxiety is real, and I sympathize with you, but if you don’t have a valium prescription, liquor will do the trick. Everyone has his or her limit, so you can quite easily knock yourself out and spare yourself the prolonged anxiety attack.

Tips from the professionals: Open a savings account now for your airplane liquor fund. That shit ain’t cheap.

Don’t look down at the economy class as they struggle to squeeze by you with their carry-on luggage that is actually way too big to be considered a carry-on.

No, I couldn’t afford to spend $300 more to get a selection of peanuts AND cookies for my short commuter flight. And yes, I notice there are only two of you in a row and that the person in front of you can, in fact, slam his or her seat back all the way and still be about three yards from your precious, knobby knees. This one plane ticket cost more than my paycheck, and unless I sell my body on the actual plane for a couple of bucks, I will not have enough to take a cab to my destination once I land. And while we’re at it, yes, I did accidently hit you in the face with my duffle on purpose.

Do join the mile high club.

Because why not?

Don’t Instagram yourself joining the mile high club.

Because gross.

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Topanga is a contributing writer for Post Grad Problems. Lover of red wine, mediocre gossip, and Corey's whipped ass.

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