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Etiquette

Air Travel Etiquette

Air Travel Etiquette

Travel by Airplanes has become one of the commonly used mode of travel. Millions of passengers travel every day around the globe for both domestic as well as international journey. I am a frequent flyer, using at least two flights every month for the last few years and during my 26 years of Air Travel, I have experienced both good and bad behaviors from my fellow passengers. This triggered me to write this article on Air Travel Etiquette.

Saying this, there are both Do’s and Don’ts that we all must strictly follow during a flight that might help (Do’s) and annoy (Don’ts) our fellow passengers and make our journey enjoying.

  • First and foremost is the Punctuality. Most international (especially long-distance) flights require you to be at the Airport three hours before the Check-In starts and domestic flights require two hours. Remember, this is to facilitate a smooth Check-In process depending upon meeting the prerequisites as well as formalities for international and domestic flights. I have seen many people, totally ignoring this requirement and arriving at the Airport at their sweet convenience. Then, at the Airport, they hurry and many a times bypass the queue for Check-In, Immigration and Security Checks while many others are waiting behind. Make sure that no one gets punished for your mistake as everybody will be traveling for some or the other important reasons
  • Do make sure that you don’t carry any Excess Weight than the allowed Check-In Baggage as well as Cabin Baggage limits. I have seen many passengers offloading stuff while check-in because they have exceeded their allowed limit. Such passengers hold others waiting on many occasions
  • Shopping at the Airport Duty Free area is another thing that often people end up in missing even the last and final warning during boarding. If you have to buy something from the Duty Free Shops, make sure that you reach the Boarding Gate before the boarding starts so that calling your names over the PA System can be avoided. It is easy that you get involved in the shopping, not listening to the announcements from the Boarding Gate and even forgetting about the boarding time
  • Boarding Sequence – usually boarding starts on a specific sequence, allowing priority passengers as well as premium/club members boarding first. I have seen people blocking the entrance even after repeated requests by the Airline staff. This slows down the Boarding process and creates inconvenience to all. Most international flights do boarding by Zones and passengers mostly avoid to follow the Zone wise boarding
  • Hand Baggage is limited to one piece by most Airlines for both Domestic and International flights apart from the hand bags or notebook bags that the passengers carry. However, the maximum allowable limit is set as 10 kg (combined) by all airlines. Airlines charge passengers for the excess and mostly this will be at a much higher rate that what you pay for the item. Most of the Airlines remove over-sized hand baggage and put it along with the luggage. You may not have any option but to remove and keep valuables with you on occasions and I have seen passengers fighting with the staff for not releasing the baggage. Make sure that you follow the baggage rules and limits always for making your (and others’) journey happy and convenient
  • While inside the Cabin, passengers do not use the overhead storage properly and keep things with themselves making it inconvenient for them as well as fellow passengers. Follow the instructions of Cabin Crew for the storage of your hand baggage
  • Regarding Electronic Devices such as Mobile, Camera, iPad, Tablet, Notebook and similar, the Airline regulations strictly says they must either be Turned Off or put on Flight Mode during the take off, in-flight and landing procedures. Though most of the newer aircrafts don’t have any interference from these devices, follow the procedures. You might have seen passengers (or sometimes you also would have done the same) talking on Mobile phones even after repeated requests by the Cabin Crew. It is for everybody’s benefit, they are saying so
  • Use of Toilets in the Aircraft must be done responsibly by all passengers. Toilets have to be kept clean after use for the fellow passengers to use it with hygiene. They are not wet toilets but dry ones as opposed to conventional toilets and many of the passengers leave them dirty after use making it difficult for both Cabin Crew as well as Passengers. Leave the toilets dry and clean always. Use them sensibly
  • Cabin Crew are for your assistance. They are not your maids/servants. I have seen many passengers behaving in a rude and objectionable manner to the Cabin Crew. Treat them humanly and you will get very good service and cooperation from them. There is no way you can complain about a Crew Member if you do not behave properly. Some passengers, purposely or without their knowledge (under the influence of alcohol) call Cabin Attendants and order this and that. They sometimes don’t even get time to attend to other passengers by repeated orders due to this. On few instances I have seen Cabin Crew complaining to the Captain as well as reporting such behaviour to the Airline/Airport authorities. In one case I saw a passenger directly being taken over by the police upon arrival at destination for misbehaving with the Cabin Attendants under the influence of alcohol. There are passengers who even manhandle the Lady Crew members.
  • Sleeping and Snoring in-flight is another nuisance. Many passengers will be traveling after their day’s hectic work to reach destination for some urgent work and what they require is a peaceful journey. Passengers sitting next to me have on many occasions leaned on to me in sleep several times, even after repeated pushing and waking up. When the cabin is silent, even the faintest snoring can be irritating. While these things are not mostly under one’s control, people who have such habits can take precaution by engaging in some other activity like reading or watching some movie (on portable devices or in-flight entertainment system) so that they do not disturb fellow passengers
  • Children usually are not attended to by parents properly. While parents are busy either sleeping or on portable devices, children end up doing whatever they want. They stamp on the seat in front of them causing inconvenience to the passenger sitting there. While mostly parents are helpless when babies and children cry for some reason, they can bring something with them, to divert the attention of the child so that it does not create inconvenience for other passengers
  • Reclining your seat beyond certain level causes inconvenience to the passenger sitting behind as he/she cannot move freely.
  • When landing is announced, though the Crew advises to switch off the electronic devices, many passengers¬† turn off flight mode on their Mobile phones. This goes equally good in the case of requests for closing the Tray Table and keep the Seats Back upright. Many passengers do not provide attention to the requests or announcements
  • As soon as the Aircraft touches ground, we can see passengers releasing the seat belt, getting up and trying to open the overhead compartment even while the Aircraft is in Taxi mode. Remember, the Crew advises to sit with the Seat Belts on until the Aircraft has come to complete stop and Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. Items inside the overhead storage area may have moved during flight and it is very unsafe to open the compartment while the plane is moving. Open the compartment carefully so that none of the items falls down injuring the passenger(s) or damaging the item
  • Last but not the least, before you exit the Aircraft, make sure that you have disposed off all unwanted items and handed over the blankets/headphones etc (if they are given to you during flight) to the Cabin Crew whenever they request you to do so and also make sure that you take all your valuables with you. Identify your Cabin Baggage and take only that with you. I had an experience of someone taking my notebook bag and proceeding to go out. Luckily I noticed and averted a situation. One and the same brand of bags/briefcase/trolley could be used by your fellow passenger. You may find out that your baggage has been wrongly taken by someone else only when you are either at the Immigration queue or even outside the Airport

Have a safe and wonderful journey at all times whether it is short or long.

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Air Travel Etiquette

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.

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