Almost 104 million passengers passed through the Hartsfield-Jackson International in 2017, making it the world's busiest passenger airport.
Can you imagine the queue at security? Not to mention the multitude of furious on-board debates about reclining.
Human behaviour can be curious at the best of times, but there’s something about airports and aeroplanes that brings out some of the most, let’s say, interesting conduct. But it’s nothing little manners can’t fix. Here are our top tips for best-practice etiquette in the sky.
On your marks, get set, security
Unless you’re a first-time flyer (and if you’re reading this, that’s an unlikely scenario), you’ll understand that post check-in and pre boarding you need to make your way through security. This can be a laborious process, but it’s considerably worse if the person in front of you reaches the conveyer belt without having completed even the simplest of prep. Don’t be that guy. Have relevant documents ready to present, laptops removed, liquids separated – anything that helps the (often painfully long) queue keep moving.
It feels good to walk right on by the baggage carousel at the end of a flight, right? Combine this with the rise of checked-baggage fees and it seems everyone’s trying to squeeze what they can into the overhead compartments. If you’re travelling with two carry-on bags (which we can only assume come in under the advised weight limit because no one has ever tried pushing those boundaries), keep the smaller of the two at your feet. In the compartment, arrange your bag vertically to maximise space for fellow passengers.
To recline or not to recline
This one is contentious. Travellers seem deeply passionate about whether or not reclining, particularly on a short flight, is acceptable, yet it also seems like opinion is divided pretty evenly. Here’s what we know for sure: if there’s a recline function, it’s your right to use it, but etiquette needn’t go out the emergency door. When you do recline, do it gently, or even ask or warn the person behind you first. And it’s always uncool to recline during a meal service.
In the cramped confines of an aircraft, personal space is paramount. Yet the horror stories beggar belief. Don’t become a statistic. Keep your feet, hands, elbows, ponytails and the rest to yourself. If you need to stretch, a walk down the aisle is an immeasurably better option than pushing your feet through the row in front of you via the armrest. This advice goes for belongings too. Your carry-on is an extension of you.
Did you know luggage does not find its way off the plane in order of how close its owner is standing to the carousel? True story. A little space between disembarked passengers and the carousel means everyone can see when their bag makes its triumphant appearance and can get easy access to it as well.
Accept the inevitable
There is, quite frankly, no chance of travelling exclusively with people who adhere to these and all other flight etiquette recommendations. In which case, employ patience. The good travellers outweigh the bad. And how the many polite people react to poor behaviour is likely to have a bigger bearing on the overall travel experience.
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