But of course, any time you get on a flight with 30-400 of your closest stranger friends (kind of like a very large tin can sealed tight and packed with sardines, except larger and flying through the sky), there are going to be different understandings of what is okay and what is not.
After all, we all come from different backgrounds.
That having been said, here are (in my book), universal laws for traveling on flights that should be understood by all travelers.
If you are on a flight, you might witness some of these universally rude activities.
Rude Passenger Flight Activity #1:
Slamming your seat back, forward, or taking more than your fair share.
Fair share of space on a flight can be a difficult thing to judge. However, there’s a way to be courteous, and a way to just disregard your fellow passengers altogether in the way that you use your space.
Lean your seat back slowly… it may be the knees of the person in the seat behind you that you’re leaning into.
Armrests are common space. You only get 50% of any common armrest.
Ask before encroaching on anything that could be someone else’s space.
Rude Passenger Flight Activity #2: Eating stinky foods
We were on a bus one time where someone opened a durian fruit. If you have never eaten a durian (or maybe not even heard of one), they are horrible smelling foods.
The flavor of a durian is okay… Carrie doesn’t like it. I much prefer jack fruit… but I’m digressing.
While we’ve never been on a flight where someone ate a durian, we have been on flights where people were eating food that smelled very strong.
If you have strongly scented food to eat, consume it before or after the flight.
Rude Passenger Flight Activity #3: Yelling at the flight attendants about anything (but especially over trivial things)
This might come as a surprise to some travelers, but the flight attendants aren’t mechanics.
Flight attendants don’t make the planes late.
Flight attendants are not technology repair people. It is possible that the TV might be broken. It may stay broken the whole flight. That is not the flight attendant’s fault.
A flight attendant is not a cook. Your food may arrive too cold… it may arrive a bit hot.
You are traveling 400 miles per hour through the sky. Always remember that.
Rude Passenger Flight Activity #4: Repeatedly Farting
Adding your own methane to the air on a flight is never okay.
But if you have to, make it a good one and be done with it.
Remember… all of your fellow sardines are being forced to inhale your methane emissions…they have no choice.
Repeatedly adding more methane throughout the flight is not only stinky, it’s just downright rude.
How do you avoid this (if you are the one with excessive flatulence)?
Well, one thing you can do is avoid certain foods before or while on a flight. Drinking coffee before or on a flight, eating bananas or eggs before or on a flight can also cause this to happen for some people.
Eat an apple instead.
Bonus Rude Flight Activity: Selling Credit Cards
An airline which shall not be named has started using it’s flights to sell you a credit card.
Bear in mind, I have a credit card with this particular airline, and I’m happy to have it.
I’d even recommend it.
However, selling your product to a captive audience, (whether or not they’d ever be interested) while you’ve got them stuck on your flight (while having no choice but to listen to your marketing hyperbole), makes it much more likely that they will tune out your safety demonstration on their next flight.
“Oh, are they selling me something again? Guess that’s not important for me to pay attention to.”
I think selling credit cards is a bad idea anyway, but that’s because I got sold on credit cards and a couple of times in my life have gotten into trouble because of the way I was spending.
The language used to sell these credit cards is:
- “Hey Passengers, we’ve got exciting news! You can get 35,000 miles just for signing up for our credit card!” And
- “If you sign up while you’re on this flight, you’ll get 500 BONUS Miles – Whoo-Hoo!”
- and some other marketing for where you can travel with your miles…
It just seems like an abuse of a captive audience.
Now that you know some rude things NOT to do on flights, hopefully you will do differently yourself.
As for your fellow passengers who may not know these rules, well, you could talk to them.
But if you are shy, here’s a subtle and effective thing you could do if you find yourself seated near or next to someone being rude…
Print a copy of this post you’ve just read and put it in your carry-on before your flight.
Then just hand it to them and ask if they’ve ever read it.