If you’re not a frequent flyer, perhaps plane etiquette is something you’re not familiar of. Having travelled extensively, I’ve probably faced pretty much every scenario possible when it comes to rude people. Including an American woman throwing water on me, because she couldn’t get her own way. To people letting off wind and picking their noses in my personal space.

After my most recent trip to New York, I’ve drawn up the perfect plane etiquette guide for anybody (and there are lots of you) who don’t know how to behave. For me, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should only fly business to avoid these people.

Do NOT recline your seat

This is the biggest and worst etiquette fails I’ve ever come across. Funnily enough everybody I seem to sit behind thinks that it is okay to press the button on their chair and swing all the way back to the airport they’ve just come from. NEWS FLASH. This is NOT OKAY! Seriously not. If there’s nobody behind you, it’s semi-excusable.

However, unless you’re going to pay for 25-50% of my airfare for the 25-50% of the space your seat has encroached on my personal space. Just don’t do it. It’s just so rude. The principal of if the person in front of you has their seat back so you can have your seat back is not okay. If you’re like me and suffer a bad back. Sitting upright is the only solution on long haul for a pain-free journey. Just don’t do it. I can’t say any more I’m making myself too irate.

Aisle seats

If you’ve selected an aisle seat. Or you’ve been allocated an aisle seat then again, have a bit of respect for the people that you have penned in. On a flight home from Vegas last year (it was roasting) this woman in a garish GAP fleecy hoody decided to fall asleep for the entire duration. Wrapped in a fleece blanket too. She didn’t even wake for dinner. She slept the whole 9 hours. I couldn’t get up to stretch my legs, nor could I use the washrooms. What was worse was the heat she was emitting was incredible. I was sweltering. Which leads me onto the next tip.

Be aware of your surroundings

This same woman, faced me the whole time. Snoring. Mouth wide open. Imagine 9 hours of a stranger doing this. Not only was she selfish by not thinking of the two people she was restricting. She also invaded my personal space in a way which I never want to experience again.


Similarly, heading on a flight from Newcastle to London Heathrow the man on the aisle not only spread his elbows across the armrest and into my personal space. He also sat and picked his nose. I’m not talking about a little rub of his nose. I’m talking about a full finger up and route around. Gross.

Please think about is this acceptable to do, before you start doing grotesque things in public. And in such close proximity to others!

This goes for excreting wind and belching too….this paragraph was interrupted by a change of seat as I could no longer tolerate the seat recliner in front of me.

You are all going to the same place

Trevor Noah, my Mum’s favourite comedian does this sketch about people on planes. Where people stand up as soon as the seatbelt sign goes on and having to crane their neck on a wonky side angle. I don’t get what the rush is? On or off the plane. Like those people who push past you to get on the buses that transport you around the runway. You’re the first on, you’ll be the last off. Who wants to be sitting on a sticky, germ-ridden plane longer than necessary? Wait your turn, get on and off when it’s your turn and in an orderly fashion. To be honest, you’ll get off much more efficiently.

When you get on the plane, find your seat and get in your row. Faff about and sort yourself in the row and not the aisle. You’re holding us all up here! Which in turn will mean we’re late to be ready for take off and potentially miss our space in the queue. Now when I’m delayed, I get irate. Short and exceptionally rude. MOVE IN TO YOUR ROW!

If you master these simple 4 rules of plane etiquette you’re going to be a much nicer person to travel in the company of. If not, I hope you’re sat nearby a screaming baby. Behind the seat recliner of doom and seated next to the smelliest traveller there’s ever been!

Have you any other plane etiquette? I’d love to know in the comments below


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