I don’t think anyone particularly enjoys a long-haul flight, do they?
Generally a long-haul flight is around 6 hours or more.
And there you are, strapped into a snug seat, sitting fairly upright whilst riding through the skies in a giant tin can.
It can be a pretty intense experience.
The food can be ropey, the air is recycled and dry. The toilets are not the most comfortable. It can get cold. And trying to sleep sitting upright is nigh impossible for many folks.
So yeah, not always the most fun experience.
And yet, there are some, who in their inconsideration of fellow passengers, who continue to flout the unwritten rules of long-haul airline travel.
Maybe they didn’t get the memo.
Perhaps it got lost in the post.
So for those not in the know, there are a few things we could learn in order to be considerate and courteous travellers on a long-haul flight.
14 Ways Not To Be A Douche On A Long-Haul Flight (aka Long-Haul Flight Etiquette)
1. Cramming the overhead lockers
Generally the long-haul flight operators aren’t as strict as the likes of the local budget airline carriers with their carry-on luggage requirements. And for that I’m thankful (I hate having to shove my handbag into my carry-on). But please, for the love of all that is travel, don’t bring half your worldly possessions plus the kitchen sink and shove them all into the overhead lockers so that the rest of us end up with our reasonable-sized bags on our laps.
2. Repeatedly pressing the assistance button
I’ve been on a flight where the gentleman in front of me pressed for assistance every 30 minutes, without fail. He was clearly a very thirsty mister. But when the lights went out the constant ‘pinging’ was not conducive to me getting any desperate shut eye.
3. Unruly children
Now, I love kids. I really do. I am big sister to four siblings, two of which are under 10 years old and one is autistic. I have first-hand experience of how stressful and difficult the little ones can be when they want to. However, in this same vein, I know that if you understand the children in your life there are a bunch of things you can do to keep them relatively well-behaved on a flight.
What I find particularly irksome is when guardians allow kids to run riot, scream at the top of their lungs for long periods of time, or wander off on their own.
I’ve experienced flights with a constant 3 hours of screaming. I’ve had a kid whack me on the head when I was sleeping as they were unsupervised and being generally unruly.
4. No seat kicking please
This deserved its own point because it is not just kids that do this, though they are the worst offenders. Please, please, please do not let your child kick the seat in front of them.
I’ve experienced hours enduring some unpleasant and consistent seat kicking thanks to the child behind me whilst the Mother of said child looks on and does nothing.
Hello! This is my physical body you are ramming backwards and forwards. Leave me alone!
Parents, please teach your child not be so badly behaved and keep their feet to themselves.
5. Sitting in somebody else’s seat
This was such a strange experience. I had checked-in online and booked the best seat I possibly could. As I got nearer to my seat I felt a wave of confusion as I noticed a guy sat there. I walked backwards and forwards up the aisle thinking maybe the seat signs were incorrect, I kept staring at my boarding pass.
Nope, it was the correct seat.
In my awkward English-sorry-to-bother-you way I point at my boarding pass and noted that he might have picked the wrong seat. But no, he just shock his head and said he wanted to sit next to his friend and pointed me over at a vacant seat which I presume was his original seat. With a gathering queue of disgruntled passengers forming behind me an air stewardess confronted me and shoved me towards the gentleman’s not-so-favourable seat.
6. Overuse of the seat recliner
Seriously, do you need to be horizontal the whole flight INCLUDING meal times?! And let’s warn before we recline, there could be someone’s knees pretty tightly up against your seat.
7. Not making adequate use of the lavatory facilities
The air pressure on a flight can have … ahem… certain unpleasant effects on your gaseous system. Let’s be kind to our fellow passengers and make use of the toilets on board when a certain effect is taking hold.
8. Being all about the bass
Sure, we all need some entertainment to pass the many hours on our long-haul flight. But turning up your headphones super loud is just plain inconsiderate. So please try to spare a thought for the folks around you who might not be wishing to hear the latest Katy Perry blasting out of your ear holes.
9. Keep it neat, keep it tidy
This is especially so when you are on an aisle seat and you have passengers next to you hoping to get past to use the flight facilities. Try to maintain a fairly neat and tidy space around you. It’s not fun trying to clamber over five bags of duty free, three devices, half of WHSmith and four layers of blankets.
10. Watch your elbows
Probably one of the most common problems on any length of flight, who gets to use which armrest? It can be tempting to get comfy and commandeer both armrests for yourself. But spare a thought for the person stuck in the middle who often ends up with their arms in the laps when both neighbouring parties make use of the armrests.
11. A big no to smelly food
This goes for any form of public transportation really, but the upset is amplified even more on a long-haul flight, please don’t eat (or bring aboard) smelly food.
There is nothing worse than a pungent smell permeating an enclosed space such as an airplane cabin. I’m talking about stinky fruits (oh, man bananas make me yak), boiled eggs, tinned fish, curries and fried food.
It can be deeply unpleasant for your fellow your passengers and make them feel uncomfortable.
12. Loud chatter
I know, we’re all excited to be off on our hollibobs but over-excited and loud conversations can disturb your fellow passengers peace. Flying can be stressful for some folks so let’s be considerate and chat to our travelling companions at a quieter volume.
I’ve been lucky not to have dealt with this too often on my long-haul flights, but there is nothing worse than somebody making too much use of the free booze and causing any manner of anti-social behaviour. Remember that the higher altitude can increase the effects of alcohol and makes you dehydrated. So do mix the booze-y treats with regular cups of water.
This is particularly important on night-time flights when the main lights have been dimmed. Please don’t fall asleep leaving your in-flight entertainment system on so that it keeps replaying the film over and over again and casts a glare into your neighbours face.
In fact, doing anything remotely disturbing to other passengers during the night-time portion of a flight is a big no-no. Let’s be courteous and allow those that wish to the chance to get some precious shut-eye before they land.
Because nobody wants to be a grump when they arrive at their destination.
Thank you for being a considerate and awesome long-haul flight passenger!
And if there’s anything I’ve missed on this list please let us know in the comments below.
Thank you to the following for some help in inspiring this post, do follow them on Twitter:
Image credit: Emirates