Manners & Misdemeanors

Plane Etiquette: How to Deal With Line Cutters, Snorers, Shared Armrests

Basic manners to keep in mind when traveling.
IMAGE Suhyeon Choi / Unsplash
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How do I deal with snoring seatmates and loud neighbors?

If your neighbors are rowdy, direct your concern to a flight attendant. If you are within close range to a wailing baby or a loud snorer, ask for earplugs. Do not take matters into your own hands and ask for them to switch seats. If you want to move to a different seat yourself, ask a flight attendant.

Should I use the shared armrest?

According to the Washington Post, passengers seated by the aisle may use their respective armrests but the middle passenger should be able to use the shared armrest. If you are seated by the window or by the aisle, allow the middle passenger to put his arms down first before staking your claim.

May I recline my seat?

While the feature is there for you to enjoy, it's always best to take your neighbor’s comfort into consideration, especially if you notice that space is limited. Author of Etiquette Secrets and founder of The Good Manners Company Anna Musson suggests that you avoid reclining your seat if the flight is less than three hours; for longer flights, you may recline your seat but only after meal service to allow the passenger behind you to use his or her tray table comfortably. If you simply must recline your seat, at least inform the passenger behind you.

How do I address the unavoidable problem of line cutters?

At ports of public transportation, you're bound to encounter passengers who are perpetually in a rush. Should you run into someone who insists on cutting in line ahead of you, give them the benefit of the doubt and motion to the back of the line to let them know where to queue, in case it was an accident. A more gracious method is to inquire if the offender is in a hurry. That gives them time to think about their response, acknowledge the mistake, and make amends to follow the queue. If they ignore your inquiry, just let it go.

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I’m traveling with children. How do I avoid becoming a nuisance to other travelers?

Traveling with small children is never smooth sailing for both the parents and the other passengers. According to etiquette consultant and mother Jo Bryant, it’s your duty as parents to arm yourselves with any form of entertainment or distractions that will keep your children calm well-behaved during the voyage. You may also opt to board the vessel last to give your children a few extra minutes of legroom and play time.

Is it acceptable to put my feet up?

No. Keep your shoes on and your feet within the allotted space. Public transportation, airplanes included, are germ-infested. You would either be adding to the bacteria or exposing yourself to it. Resting your feet on another seat is even worse than going barefoot. Not only are you sprawling on territory that’s outside of what you paid for, you are also increasing your chances of being featured on Passenger Shaming

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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