Whether you fly regularly or you're getting ready for your first-ever plane trip, here are 15 things you should never do on a plane.
15 Things You Should Never Do On A Plane
From putting your glasses in the seatback pocket to getting on the wrong side of your flight attendants, here's what not to do when you fly.
1. Walk Around Without Your Shoes On
Nope, that's not water on the bathroom floor. It's urine, or possibly worse. Besides, your feet might swell on a long flight and your shoes will be uncomfortable to put back on. Don't walk around in your stocking feet or worse yet, barefoot.
Wear comfortable shoes and loosen the laces if you must but strolling through the plane in your socks? That's just gross.
2. Put Your Feet On Someone Else's Arm Rest
We don't really need a drilled-down explanation of why this is bad, right?
3. Bring A Carryon You Can't Lift
Carryon only is a beautiful thing. You'll save money and time and there's little chance that the airline can lose your bag if you keep it with you. But, if you can't lift your bag to put it in the overhead bin and don't have a travel companion who will help you, it's rude to rely on flight attendants or strangers to handle it for you.
Yes, someone will probably come to your aid, but you should plan better.
4. Ask Other Passengers To Switch Seats
If you purchase basic economy (the name differs across different airlines but in general, the cheap seats) then you will usually get your seat assigned at the gate and you may not be seated next to the people you are traveling with, even children.
The privilege of picking where you sit is usually reserved for people who pay extra or who have frequent flyer status with the airlines. For airlines that use boarding groups and not assigned seat numbers, like Southwest Airlines, getting a guaranteed spot in those early boarding groups involves some extra cash. Asking someone who did plan to inconvenience themselves because you didn't isn't cool. You might get lucky and find a benevolent softie but you're putting yourself and other passengers in a stressful situation that can easily be avoided.
5. Stick Your Arms And Legs In The Aisle
I get it. Those seats are small and cramped and the temptation to use the aisle for some extra legroom is real. However, if you put your body parts out into the aisle, you're going to be in the way of the beverage cart and anyone walking up and down the aisle, whether that's a flight attendant trying to do their job or someone just trying to get to the bathroom without stepping on you.
6. Wear Shorts or a Short Skirt
It's safe to assume that most airplanes don't get cleaned very thoroughly. The idea of putting my bare skin up against a surface where someone sat and sweated and passed gas for several hours isn't a pleasant thought so I keep as much of my skin covered as I can and save the shorts and sundresses for when I get where I am going.
7. Put Things In Your Seatback Pocket
According to most flight attendants, this is the dirtiest place on the plane so probably not the best place to stash your glasses or your snacks.
8. Get Drunk
Not only is alcohol dehydrating – cabin air has very little humidity – one in the air feels like two on the ground. You probably don't want to drastically lower your inhibitions when you can't escape close contact with the strangers you're sitting with.
Besides, if you're a belligerent or sloppy drunk, on the wrong side of the flight attendant isn't where you want to be.
9. Fall Asleep Before Takeoff
If you're sleeping when the plane takes off, you might have a harder time equalizing the pressure in your ears. Even if you're tired, try to stay awake until your ears pop, and then, if you're one of the lucky ones who can sleep on a plane, go for it.
10. Be Rude To Your Flight Crew
Irritated because your plane is late? Your crew probably is, too. Not only do flight attendants not get paid until the aircraft takes off, but they also can't get away with walking around scowling or grumbling under their breath because they've had a bad day. Pilots and flight attendants have families and want to go home, too, and the odds are slim that the flight attendant you're scowling at had anything to do with the plane's tardiness, or whatever else you're grumpy about.
Besides, being rude to the people who pour your drinks and take care of you in the event of an emergency is just not a good idea. Neither is being rude to TSA personnel. They have the ability to seriously ruin your day so be polite and just get through that line.
11. Press Your Flight Attendant Call Button Unless You Have an Urgent Need
Needing a stat refill on your ginger ale doesn't count as an urgent need. Be courteous and wait until the next time someone passes through the cabin. You won't have to wait for long.
12. Make Jokes About Plane Crashes Or Bombs
Seriously – just don't. Flying is anxiety-inducing for many and your comments about plunging to a fiery death may truly alarm someone. And for anyone who wants to joke about bombs or firearms in-flight, I have two words for you – Sky Marshall. I hope you don't like flying that much because if you snag the Sky Marshall's attention, you might not be flying anywhere again.
13. Order Tea or Coffee
The water tanks in an airplane are full of bacteria. While probably not enough bacteria to make you sick, you've now got your explanation about why airplane coffee tastes so bad.
Ditto for ice cubes.
14. Automatically Recline
Yes, if the seats recline, there is no rule against reclining. But, before you push that button consider the space of the person behind you. If it's a small child or a short person, odds are you won't impact their comfort if you lean back a few inches. If it's a person that's already cramped or if they're using their tray table to eat or do work, consider their comfort, too.
Having someone sit practically in my lap is one of my biggest airline pet peeves.
15. Glare At grumpy kids, Crying Babies Or Their Parents
Newsflash: All the side-eye in the world won't stop that baby from crying. No one likes sitting by a crying baby, including their parents, probably.