The importance of travel etiquette really can’t be overstated. For those who don’t go first class (most of us!) airplanes are only getting more crowded and cramped. Traveling with the entire fam is tough enough under the best circumstances but throw in a flight spent with the seat in front of you reclined into your lap and it’s definitely not a great segue to fun and relaxation. And plane etiquette goes both ways, so here’s a quick reminder of the basics.

There’s a reason Dante Ramos’ twit pic of his in-flight tv screen covered by the ponytail of the passenger in front of him accompanied by the hilarious comment, “Congrats to the ponytailed young woman in seat 22B. You’ve invented a whole new way to be awful at 35,000 feet,” went viral. We’ve all been there! Some may have also been in seat 22B’s shoes too but we know you won’t admit it! Getting on an airplane is not the same as jumping in the car for a road trip with your friends. If you whip your ponytail in their faces, they’ve got no problem letting you know it’s a problem. When you do the same thing to a stranger surrounded by more strangers in a setting no one can walk away from, you’re not only being rude — you’re creating multiple layers of discomfort and stress. And you better be careful because social media means you could get a public shaming after the fact.

Read Related: Flying High: How to Get Great Seats on Plane Flights


Like everything in life, treat others the way you would like them to treat you. Since that does differ from person to person, we’ll address a few of the biggies. Expedia’s 2015 Airplane Etiquette Study found that, “About 16 percent of respondents admitted they use flights as an ‘opportunity to meet and talk to new people,’ while 66 percent said they ‘dread’ sitting next to folks who want to talk.”


Seat kicking was the number one complaint (61%) followed by aroma (50%). Aroma’s a toughie because it could refer to BO or excess perfume. Play it safe by showering and wearing deodorant but go light on the eau de toilette. Kids are usually the seat kicking culprits and moms know that sometimes you’ve got to make a choice between annoying one person by letting them focus their excess energy on the seat back rather than annoying the entire plane by screaming but do your best…. Adult seat kickers: You should know better!

The armrest is another major point of in-flight contention, particularly when you’re in the middle seat. There is no hard and fast rule about this but the general consensus is that we all know the middle seat sucks, so at least let them have both armrests. When the aisle and window seats are occupied by larger people, the middle should share is armrest with the window passenger because he’s got nowhere else to go.

Have a great trip!