There will be times when you need to fly to get to your CPD travel destination. It may be a domestic flight or a longer international journey – either way there are some “rules” you need to know so that you don’t look like a cretin or annoy your fellow travellers (or both).

Here are 15 “rules” (although most would say good manners) to consider when travelling by plane.

When deciding on what to wear – remember that there is very little space between you and the person sitting next to you. Wear a shirt with sleeves and shorts that come at least to your knee – that way people don’t have to rub up against you or vice versa.

Choices, Choices!

When you are called to board the flight, don’t try and push to the front of the queue – unless your flying Ryan air – you have an allocated seat and everyone will eventually get on the plane.

When you get to your seat try and get yourself organised quickly – put your bigger bag in the overhead locker and then sit down so that people can pass you. Have everything you need for the flight ready and put it in your seat pocket. Nothing drives people more crazy then a person continually getting up and down to their bag every 5 seconds.

If you are seated on the aisle don’t strap yourself in if the window seat is still vacant. When that person arrives stand up and let them get into the seat – don’t make them climb over you. When everyone is seated fasten your seat belt and get ready to take off.

Unless you have a medical problem – Don’t recline your seat – the person behind you will have no room and will spend their time counting the hairs on the top of your head.

If you really need the extra couple of centimetres then only recline your seat after the meal service is finished and the crew have dimmed the lights for sleeping. Outside of these times don’t recline.

Respect the arm rest rule – if you are in the aisle seat then you own the arm rest closet to the aisle, if you are in the window seat then you own the arm rest closest to the window, and if you are in the middle you own both a left and right arm rest (aren’t you the lucky one).

Keep in your seat space – don’t lean into others space unless you are related to them and you are confident that they like you.

If you need to get up during a flight then don’t grab the seat in front of you to lever yourself up as it will annoy that person.

However, if they have reclined their seat into your space then this rule doesn’t apply and you can grab that seat as much as you want.


Don’t be a talker, again, unless you are related or close friends most people will not want to hear your thoughts or stories – they want peace and to read their book or watch a film.

If you are talking with someone then keep your voice down so that others around you aren’t annoyed by the constant chatter.

Be nice to the airline staff – please and thank you are a minimum requirement, don’t keep them talking (they have a lot to do) and try not to get up during meal service when the trolley is in the aisle – it is tedious to continue to have to move it out of the way.

If you need to use the loo wait until after the plane takes off and the seat belt sign is off. Be quick and use a tissue to wipe down the sink if you have splashed water everywhere.

Do not go bare foot to the toilet – you have no idea what you could stand in and then walk it back across the carpet to your seat.

When the plane lands everyone will get off so don’t run up to the door. A plane should empty by seat row – so wait until the row in front of you gets their bag and moves forward – then you get to go next. There are a few times that you can break this rule:

a) If you have a medical emergency
b) If you have a connecting flight that you might miss

Just quietly tell each person in front of you what the situation is and ask if they would be kind enough to let you go first.

When you get to the bag collection area – stand back – everyone needs to get their bag and you will see yours coming. When you see your bag say excuse me to the person who is hogging the front row and take your bag off the conveyor.


Plane travel can be a great experience – we all just need to play by the rules!