Etiquette for Flying

Etiquette for Flying

The dos and don’ts from seasoned flight attendants  

Flights often have strict rules for safety purposes, but what about all the unwritten rules? We talked to a couple of seasoned flight attendants to give us the rundown on how they wished all passengers would behave. 


😀 Be considerate

The first thing all three flight attendants we spoke to said they wished all flyers would do, but rarely adhere to, is to be considerate. Something happens when people fly where they think they can do whatever they want. As one of our flight attendants said: “We love the words please and thank you. They go a long way. Saying, ‘When you get a moment or get a chance’ is always appreciated.” On that note, you should never touch the flight attendants. They prefer “excuse me” or a nice hand wave if you’d like to get their attention. And when they’re serving you, do your best to stay out of the aisles, know what you’d like when they get to you, and pay attention to them while they’re serving you (i.e., take out your headphones, please).


👂 Listen

“As flight attendants, we understand most people’s interpretation of us is that we’re glorified waiters or waitresses, an air-server if you will,” said one flight attendant. “We’re safety professionals. I think most people would agree, you treat police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, lifeguards, and EMTs with respect. That’s who we are when we’re in the air.” Remember, if there’s an emergency in the air, they are the people who know what to do. Flight attendants go through eight weeks of initial training and it’s not to learn how to pour Diet Cokes. They need to be able to evacuate 260 people from a burning plane in under 90 seconds. So when a flight attendant asks you to do something, please just do it. Most of the time it’s because their company policies require them to do it. “We’re not trying to be mean or nag you.”


🧥 Clothing: Dress warm and wear shoes

Layers are your friend on a flight. “People will wear a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops and then complain that the plane is cold.” Don’t rely on blankets being available. Also, wear shoes. “We keep the planes as clean as possible, but the floor is the floor. You wouldn’t walk barefoot on the subway or the city bus, would you?”


🚪 Close the overhead bin when you open it 

“It’s very simple, but you’d be surprised how many people just sit down after grabbing something from their bag.” Doing this is actually for your own safety as turbulence can cause baggage to fall on passengers’ heads.


🧳 If your bag is too heavy to lift, it’s too heavy for the flight attendant

Flight attendants aren’t protected medically by their companies to lift baggage. If you can’t fit the bag under your seat and it’s too heavy for you to lift into the overhead compartment, check it.


👍 Be prepared. 

You never know when the overhead bin might be full or there might be a flight delay, so have a carry-on with essentials (extra food, ibuprofen, whatever else you need). Bring stuff to entertain your children, like headphones for entertainment, games, books, etc. If you have special needs in terms of food (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.), plan to bring your own. And the inside secret…if you spill and have a stain, there are sanitary napkins in the bathrooms. Wet one side and blot your stain, then dry with the other. There’s no lint on the napkins so they work great.


Oh, and one last thing… 

🤒 Don’t fly when you’re sick. It just gets worse.