The Love Central - Fly Right: Easy Etiquette for Air Travel
Fly Right: Easy Etiquette for Air Travel

Fly Right: Easy Etiquette for Air Travel

Following basic etiquette and having common courtesy towards others takes the stress out of air travel for everyone.
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The compact nature of aircraft cabins and the unique circumstances of air travel require passengers to observe certain etiquettes to ensure a pleasant journey for everyone. This detailed guide covers proper air travel etiquette

Air travel can be a daunting experience, even for the most seasoned traveler. For many Africans, the prospect of flying can be particularly overwhelming, with a myriad of unspoken rules and etiquette guidelines to navigate. 

From long layovers and delayed flights to cramped seats and unfamiliar food, air travel can test even the most patient of passengers.

However, with a little preparation and knowledge of the dos and don’ts, Africans can navigate air travel with ease and make the most of their journey.

The Love Central - Fly Right: Easy Etiquette for Air Travel
Line up orderly with your boarding pass and ID visible Image source Freepik

Check-In and Security Screening

At the airline check-in counter, have your government-issued ID and boarding pass (printed or mobile) ready before it’s your turn. Don’t make others wait while you dig through carry-on bags. 

Remove shoes, jackets, belts, and electronics like laptops from bags before entering the security line. Placing everything neatly into separate bins allows for efficient screening.  

Boarding the Aircraft  

When your flight and seat numbers are called for boarding, line up orderly with your boarding pass and ID visible. Once on board, quickly find your seat row rather than standing in the aisle studying overhead bin numbers.

If you have a window seat, make your way to the row but remain standing to allow those in middle and aisle seats to get in first before you climb over them. 

Stow smaller carry-on bags underneath the seat in front of you first before lifting larger bags overhead. Be careful not to hit other passengers when lifting items into the overhead bins. Move quickly out of the aisle once your baggage is stowed.

Your Personal Space 

The aisle is for access, not for stretching out. Never place feet, pillows or belongings into the aisle as it prevents others from passing by. The middle seat passenger gets use of both armrests by default. 

The aisle and window seats should each take one armrest or share the middle one. Keep knees, elbows and carryons within the space for your seat. Don’t encroach on your neighbors’ limited space.

Electronics and Headphones

Enable airplane mode on all phones, tablets and bluetooth devices after boarding. This prevents interference with the aircraft’s navigation systems during flight.

Use wired headphones or bluetooth headsets with any audio on your devices like music, videos or games. Keep volume at a reasonable level – levels above 60% are generally too loud for those around you.

Keep screen brightness levels dimmed if your seatmate appears to be trying to sleep. Don’t play audio or games out loud without headphones. Be considerate of those who didn’t purchase a ticket to your personal entertainment.

Families and Children  

If traveling with kids, keep them seated with you and engaged rather than allowing them to wander, kick seats or make excessive noise.

Have small toys, games, books and videos ready to occupy their attention. Not all passengers want to hear a crying baby or squirming toddler directly behind them for the entire flight.

Use headphones for any audio your child is watching or listening to. Keep snacks neat and contained to avoid spills. Reusable pads or puppy potty pads can help protect the seating area from accidents.

In-Flight Service  

Be courteous and treat the hard-working flight crew with respect. Follow all crew instructions promptly regarding safety procedures, hot liquids, turbulence, etc. Do not crowd the aisles or galleys when service carts are being pushed through for food, beverage and duty free sales. Wait your turn patiently.  

When served food or drinks, open items carefully so contents don’t spill onto seatmates or the floor. Place trash in the seatback pocket or bag hanging from the tray table area rather than leaving it exposed on the tray. If you make a mess, try to clean it up yourself rather than leaving it for the crew to deal with.

The Love Central - Fly Right: Easy Etiquette for Air Travel
Use wired headphones or bluetooth headsets with any audio on your devices like music Image source Freepik

Personal Habits and Grooming  

Apply deodorant before traveling and avoid heavy cologne or perfume that could cause allergic reactions or discomfort to those in close proximity. 

Always cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a disposable tissue, especially if you are ill. Never walk around the cabin barefoot or in stocking feet as it exposes others to potential odors and contamination.  

Use the lavatory for any personal grooming needs like brushing hair or teeth, trimming nails, or other activities. Refrain from clipping nails on the seat or changing clothes or undergarments outside of the lavatories. Be considerate of those around you at all times.

Landing and Deplaning

When the pilot turns off the Fasten Seatbelt sign after landing, remain seated until the aircraft has come to a complete stop. Only retrieve items from the overhead bins once the plane has parked at the gate and the aisle is clear. Be careful of falling objects when opening overhead bins over other passengers.  

Let those passengers closest to the exits deplane first before standing up in the aisles to retrieve belongings and deplane. Do not crowd the aisle or galley area before it’s your turn to exit. Pushing and rushing makes the process disorderly and unsafe.

Follow all crew and airport staff instructions for orderly deplaning and connecting to ground transportation. Wait your turn and don’t attempt to bypass slower passengers or those with special needs. With a bit of patience, everyone will make it off the plane safely and efficiently.

Conclusion: The Bottom Line  

Following basic etiquette and having common courtesy towards others takes the stress out of air travel for everyone. From checking in, to boarding, during the flight, and deplaning – being a considerate passenger improves the experience.

Thoughtful behavior makes air travel more enjoyable and less complicated for all involved. Fly friendly with respect for your fellow travelers.

READ: Is Begpacking an Entitlement or Necessity? The Debate Over Budget Travel

However, a growing trend known as “begpacking” has sparked controversy, blurring the lines between budget travel and opportunistic behavior. 

This article explores the complex world of begpacking, its ethical implications, the motivations behind it, and alternative approaches for budget-conscious travelers.

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