No, I’m not the Emily Post of air travel, nor am I a disgruntled airline employee. I’m just a woman who gets on a plane several times a month and has learned a thing or two about getting from Point A to Point B without losing her mind or pissing people off.

IMG_5131In my experience, there are 10 simple things that one can do to maintain sanity and foster goodwill on any flight. These are not written in order of importance, but rather as they come to mind, because I’m at 32,000 feet right now, and I’m sadly watching several of these scenarios unfold.

They are as follows:

  1. Refrain from grabbing the headrest in front of you to lift yourself out of your seat. There’s someone attached to that headrest, and you’ve just jarred them out of their comfortable position, or – worse yet – woken them up.
  2. Speaking of sleep, unless you’re fortunate enough to be in first class, a full recline should be avoided. I’ve actually had my laptop jammed between myself and someone’s seat back, unable to pry it loose. Most travelers are professionals with work to do. Be respectful of space.
  3. Speaking of laptops, I recently sat between two guys who decided to share drinks. One of them held his glass over my laptop, while the other reached out to pour whiskey into it. Ah . . . no. DO NOT pour liquids anywhere near the vicinity of someone’s laptop – ever.
  4. Try hard not to lose patience with screaming babies or their mothers. Babies cry, and I sometimes envy the fact that they can do so in public. They’re in unfamiliar environments, they’re being held tight against their will, and moms can’t just say “pop your ears.” There’s a good chance that they’re in pain. Cut them some freakin’ slack.
  5. Speaking of babies, I empathize with the little gaffers, but one thing moms can do for the empathetic among us is keep them from kicking the backs of our seats. Cry, scream, laugh all you want, but a constant battering from behind can make even the kindest of us take a turn.
  6. We’re all going to get to our seats eventually, so chill. If there are seniors boarding in front of you, or someone who is handicapped, do not let out a loud sigh and start rolling your eyes. Give them a hand, instead. There’s a concept.
  7. While boarding a plane, please be aware of the location of your carry-on luggage at all times. If it’s smacking numerous people in the head who are seated in the aisles, it’s in the wrong place.
  8. If you’re seated beside someone who is reading, staring out the window, has their eyes closed or is wearing headphones/earbuds, do not start talking to them. They do not want to engage. A friend recently had his earbuds literally pulled out of his ears by a person beside them so that they could talk for an entire flight. Good karma will never come from this.
  9. Smile. ‘Nuff said.
  10. Be nice to your flight attendants. Dealing with impatient, rude passengers day-in and day-out can really suck. It actually is not all about you. Surprising, I know.

There you have it. Ten simple rules that have potential to make your travels far more enjoyable. If you have additional suggestions, add them to the comments section below. I’d love to hear them.

Feel free to share this information with the road warriors in your life, and if you see me on your next flight, please take the time to say hello. Unless, of course, I’m wearing headphones.

Happy trails!