Child is holding his nose to avoid smell.

How To Be a Good Airline Passenger.


We all know that the glamorous days off flying are long gone. Unless you are in First Class or Business it is a mode of mass transportation. Having said that there is no reason to make it worse even if flying nowadays is the equivalent of taking the bus for many. I have flown a lot within Europe lately and have the following observations on how to make it nicer for both fellow passengers and crew.

How to Behave in the Air.

As a rule of thumb, treat others like you want to be treated. Below are some hints on how to behave on the airplane, if you should feel a little lost:

Be Nice and Courteous When Flying!

I have seen some people being rude, just because they can. This is a strategy that will get you minimum service quickly and get you the evil eye from other passengers. Being rude just because you can is simply unacceptable and a complete turn off. Be nice and use the words “please” and “thank you” and you have come a long way. If you smile a little to both crew and other passengers, you have made the world a better place.

The crew is working hard to keep you both safe and comfortable. There is no reason to treat them as your servants, even if they will be serving you something (hopefully).

Wear Something!

I am not expecting you to dress up as people did before. Just cover yourself. I am no prude but I do not want to see your armpits, your belly or any other part of your body. Sorry!

half naked fat man on airplane
This is an unwanted sight anywhere, especially crammed up in Economy at 35000ft.

Do NOT be the Smelly Person!

Speaking of body odour can be a hot topic where it is easy to burn oneself as a writer. I am risking it by saying: please, do smell good! If the flight was not booked hours ago there will be plenty of time to wash up, put on some deodorant and brush your teeth. Yes, you should brush your teeth because I do not want your stinking breath coming from behind when I am having my snack. There, I said it!

Do NOT Recline Your Seat Without Asking the Passenger Behind You.

If you are on a cramped plane with little or no leg room there is no need for you to recline your seat without asking the passenger behind. Reclining your seat without asking is just inconsiderate and rude. Especially not during snack or meal service. By asking first you show the world that you care about others and believe in Karma. If you don’t believe in Karma you should still ask!

Keep Your Feet on the Floor.

Yup, your feet belongs on the floor. Not on your neighbours footrest, in the ceiling or on the seat in front of you. And for god´s sake: wear at least socks at all times. Insist on putting your feet up and you will be featured on Passenger Shaming sooner than later.

Naked feet against bulkhead on plane.
The only one who likes your feet that much is you. Please keep them where they belong.

Keep Your Seat Tidy.

Just because you are cruising at 35,000 ft. you should not forget your manners. Keep your seat, the floor (where you put your feet, remember) and the seat pocket in front of you as clean as possible and give your trash to the crew. I do not want to find your dirty napkins, snotty Kleenex, diapers or other nasty stuff in the seat pocket when I board. If you are asleep when the crew is collecting trash, take it with you. All airports have plenty of waste baskets which means you will not have to carry your trash far.

messy airplane cabin.
Inviting, don´t you think?

Control Your Kids.

I do understand that it can be stressful travelling with children. It does not become less stressful if you allow your kids to behave and sound any way they like. Boundaries are good for children and they will not be harmed if you tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable. Would you enjoy hearing my dog barking and running around the cabin for 4 hours straight on the next flight? I did not think so and I don’t enjoy hearing your kid scream and climb over me for the same reason. I understand that this is a hot potato and there are circumstances when a child simply will not shut up. As long as you try to keep your kid civilized, you are good to go.

How to Behave at the Airport.

The points “be nice and courteous”, “control your kids”, “wear something” and “don’t smell” from above applies at the airport too. You will find more tips below on how to be a good person at the airport:

Do NOT Stand Too Close to the Baggage Carousel.

Take a step back from the baggage carousel so other passengers can get their bags without having to push through a barrier of people to get their bags. This way everyone will get their bags in an easy manner, not only you. You are just being rude and inconsiderate when hogging a place at the carousel.

Don’t Stop at the End of the Escalator or Walkway.

There is nothing more annoying than bumping into people that has stopped at the end of the escalator to check their belongings or wait for the travel companions. Just take 3 steps aside to let people leaving the escalator pass and you will be fine.

Let Other Passengers Off the Train.

If you are travelling to the airport by train or subway, basic train rules still apply. Simply let other passengers off before you board train. Not letting people off the train can cause delays of the train.


The points above are not rocket science or news in any way, just every day courtesies most people don’t even have to think about. If this is something you have to think about, then get with the program or go private. On a private jet you can smell, look and sit anyway you like. You should still be nice to the staff aboard your private jet though.

A big thanks to for letting me borrow their images. You should definitely check them out on their Facebook or Instagram.

You might think that bad behaviour is only found on low-cost-carriers, but it is not only on those. I have seen it on legacy carriers as well. I was on a an extremely cheap flight to Johannesburg once and had one of my most pleasant experiences ever.

Rant over! Thanks for letting me vent about nuisances in the air. I am sure you are a good airline passenger and already know how to behave in the air and at the airport. If you have something to add, please do so via email, in the comments below, on TwitterFacebook or Google+. I am looking forward to hear from you!

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