If your flight has a complimentary drinks service, it’s all too easy to get carried away with the booze, but unfortunately, a study has revealed staying sober is considered an essential rule of in-flight etiquette.
A study by TravelSupermarket asked 2,000 frequent flyers about the unspoken rules on aeroplanes, coming up with a whole list of things that are expected of passengers.
There’s always something bound to irritate you on a flight, whether it be a crying child, someone listening to their music just a little too loud, or a neighbour who’s taking up more than their fair share of the row. The best part about flying somewhere is getting to your destination, obviously.
As well as staying sober, frequent flyers revealed keeping your kids busy, maintaining a reasonable volume level on your headphones, helping other passengers with heavy bags, and keeping your seat upright, are all things which will leave a good impression with your fellow holidaymakers.
Not breaking wind, or eating smelly foods, or eating with your mouth open also made the list, but those are things that are likely to always be appreciated when you’re in an enclosed space with other people, so people should be used to restricting themselves there anyway.
Despite the general good manners that should encourage these courtesies to be played out, nine in 10 Brits have been enraged by the unpleasant behaviour or habits of other passengers on a flight.
Emma Grimster, spokesperson at TravelSupermarket, said:
Flying can be an exciting and even luxurious experience, and in these situations, with the anticipation of a holiday ahead, it seems some people can easily forget their manners.
Some of us are more frequent flyers than others. Perhaps it is the heighten sense of excitement, or even anxiety of flying at altitude that makes people forget their common courtesy.
Thirty eight per cent of those in the study said they can’t bear being sat near a drunken traveller, while one in four have unfortunately found themselves subjected to a flatulent flyer – which of course made the experience more unpleasant.
One third admitted they’ve been annoyed by parents who’re unable to control their kids during the journey – so they probably dread going away during summer or half-term holidays.
Surprisingly, only 40 per cent of the 2,000participants have been subjected to the cries of a screaming baby while cruising thousands of feet in the air.
It seems like there’s always a screaming baby on my flights – and I always seem to be sat right next to them.
One in four have been disrupted by an over-excited toddler, while 54 per cent hate having their comfort disrupted by the person behind them digging into, or kicking the back of their seat.
As much as everyone tries to relax on planes, 47 per cent have words for the person in front of them putting their seat back all the way.
One in five have found themselves sat next to a chatterbox who’s talked their ear off for the whole flight, but 37 per cent of those surveyed can’t stand a stranger trying to talk to them during a flight, and three in 10 said they could only tolerate chatter before take-off.
When the irritation gets too much, only one in six have ever gone as far as to complain to a flight attendant about the issue.
Despite these irritating situations, 62 per cent of those surveyed said they enjoy flying and 62 per cent find it a ‘generally relaxing’ experience.
Many of these points surrounding flight etiquette involve encroaches on noise and space, which is understandable in the limited confines of an aircraft.
If you are planning to travel with your kids over the half term break, get organised with things to keep them occupied, making the experience as pleasant as possible for both the family and those around you.
Check out Emma’s top tips for flying with children below:
Understand your airline’s luggage allowance for baggage weight and size, as well as for additional items such as buggies and car seats.
Pre-book seats together in advance of arriving at the airport.
Give yourself enough time to get through the airport and be towards the front of the queue at boarding.
Bring activities – perhaps a new book or magazine. Sticker books and drawing materials are a great idea too.
Her tips continue:
Download some favourite programmes to your phone or iPad.
Let the children choose a new toy at the airport to keep them occupied on the flight.
Bring your own snacks so you’re not waiting around for the in-flight service. It can also be a good idea to have a snack and drink to hand during take-off to help with any ear pressure.
Take a change of clothes, as well as wipes and nappies (if needed) close to hand. Check you also have a sick bag in the seat in front, just in case required.
Be prepared for a few sideways looks from other passengers and remember we were all children once!
Enjoy the experience through your child’s eyes. You might have flown many times, but if this is your child’s first flight, the wonder will be all new.
Here are the top 10 flight etiquette rules:
- Don’t drink too much
- Keep your seat upright or reclined to a reasonable degree
- Ensure your children are well behaved and not making too much noise
- Hold in your wind where possible
- Sort out your overhead storage before you sit down so you don’t disturb people by getting up and down
The list continues:
- Be respectful of others when it comes to the armrests
- Don’t try and join the ‘Mile High Club’
- Avoid eating smelly food
- Eat your meals and snacks quietly with your mouth closed
- Avoid moaning too much to others if there is a crying baby on the plane
Just try to focus on the destination!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.