Flying is either something special or it’s a chore, a means of getting to or from somewhere. Since my first flight I can remember at about 4, I have always loved everything about air travel, and have been VERY blessed to have flown countless times around the world. But growing up, and now working a national job, I’m starting to understand (just understand) why people don’t enjoy it. But it’s all got to do with some SIMPLE “do’s and don’t’s” of being a good passenger on a flight!
September is a month of travel for me, so by the end of it, I would have caught 6 flights around the country at various times of the day, on various airlines. And I always seem to come up against the same issues where you’d swear people are flying for the first time (…which can see they clearly aren’t)
I’ve read quite a few of these sorts of articles recently and every one seems to miss one of the vitally important rules or tips.
Of course, there’s the very obvious rules we all know – and most people seem to somehow forget often:
Time keeping is vital (if you’re late, we’re all late), rushing to get off the plane (we’ve alll got places to be), switching seats (note to self more than anything), do things in an orderly fashion (don’t push and shove, again, we all want to get out of the plane), being generally a nice person to be around (got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything).
But then there are the most important ones we all need to take note of…
1. We all have baggage, but does it need to be on the plane?
DON’T need it? Leave it! The extra little carry-on bag is great for packing in some last minute things, but planes are not that big. If you don’t NEED the luggage in the cabin, rethink not checking it in to the hold or just packing lighter (read: smaller) for our carry on cabin bags.
DO consider the confined space! Use it or lose it! Seat areas and leg room on plane is small enough (and getting smaller by the day) so if you’re not going to be using stuff out of your handbag or using your laptop during the flight, pop it into the overhead compartment and give yourself the leg room rather.
Saying that though…
DO keep an eye on your belongings – especially on long haul flights. Make sure bags are left closed in the over-head compartments, and keep cellphones near you.
2. The Space Issue!
DON’T be a hog! Keep to you side of the seat divide and don’t nap on your stranger-neighbours shoulder if you can help it. But, if someone falls asleep on you, also DON’T push them off like they have rabies – maybe they need a little TLC.
Another big DON’T for us to all note is that if there is a magical, empty spare seat between you and your row-partner – do not hog it! Share this amazing gift of space and don’t pile all your crap on it.
DO offer to get up if you see your row-partners looking around, like they need a loo-break.
Also, DON’T sigh or make them feel uncomfortable for needing the loo. If you are wanting to sleep and not be disturbed, check-in early and book yourself a window seat.
3. Personal Hygiene is a MUST!
DON’T forget to brush your teeth. Please! It’s always best to start your travels off fresh, so have a shower before you flight, and pop on some deo-and a DASH (please read dash as in SMALL amount) of cologne to make the space you are you’re sitting in a pleasant one.
DO keep some mints or sweeties in your hand luggage or pockets for those long haul flights as we all smell a little stale after a while, and that wake-up morning breath is no-bodies favourite thing to smell in a tiny 50cm x 50cm block space.
DON’T bring smelly snacks onto the plane! Let’s leave the fishy-fish sandwiches, popcorn (that smells like feet!) and the ultra-cheesy chips at home, and maybe don’t pack last nights braai Tupperware in your bag.
DO keep in mind that 1000’s of people are very allergic to nuts – so let’s leave the nuts at home too. Rather bring along some biltong or small pretzels if you’re going to need a savory snack.
DO remember we as humans like to snack every couple of hours, especially on long haul flights – it passes the time nicely too, so instead of chowing down on double ups of the in-flight meals (Do you know they always have extras in case you’re still starving on your long-haul flight?) bring a nice variety of snacks for your flight. Chewy sweeties like Mentos and Wine Gums are great for a bit of sweetness, or take along a bit of dried fruit if you prefer something healthier.
5. Be nice to the staff, dammit!
DON’T think the flight attendants are there for YOUR entertainment! And please, oh PLEASE, don’t hand your baby to the flight attendant as you walk onto the plane, and don’t PING! them the whole flight to wait on you hand and foot – they are there to serve everyone – not just you. So be fair.
Also, DON’T have long chats (greet them, but don’t ask 1 million questions!) to the Captain should they sneak out of the cockpit to use the loo – they are working and doing a pretty important job.
DO treat the flight attendants with respect – great them when you walk into the plane, have your boarding pass in your hand for them to check it (even if you don’t think they are checking them – they read every one!) and say goodbye and thank you when you leave the plane!
Of course, this is 100% opinion! And of my experience.
Travel safe! And Stay Golden x