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travelers practicing airport etiquette

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Having canceled and missed out on countless vacations during the pandemic, folks are now flying the friendly skies again. In fact, Hopper Media reports that bookings for domestic airfare are up 16 percent compared to 2019.

However, with COVID-19 still very much here, staff shortages have led to thousands of canceled flights, says CNBC. That means that, while there are more travelers, there are fewer airline employees and flights to accommodate them. And that leads to a lot of crowding and frustration at the airport and on airplanes. But, that doesn’t mean it’s time to be rude to fellow travelers. In fact, now more than ever is when we need to be kind to each other. Here is some airplane etiquette to improve the travel experience.


Be Patient In The Security Line

Sometimes you get stuck behind someone who isn’t familiar with the current protocol. They didn’t remove/separate items in the designated way and now you must wait while they do that. The security line is stressful enough without other passengers giving the side eye or saying something snarky. Smile and be patient. Perhaps offer to help. In the grand scheme of things, a slight delay isn’t worth getting testy over.


Give Parents A Break

Parents deserve a vacation, too. And they want the chance to bond with their children over a shared experience. But, it does mean getting their little ones from point A to point B in the airport and on board the airplane, and sometimes that gets messy (and loud). Try to be kind and patient when parents are dealing with screaming kids. They have enough on their hands without the judgment of others.


Switch Seats And Make Someone’s Day

Airplanes are overcrowded and many passengers aren’t able to book seats together with their party. If you’re traveling solo and changing seats would mean letting a group sit together, consider making the move. Perhaps you won’t get as good a seat as you’d originally booked but if karma is your thing, paying it forward will count.


Be Considerate To The Middle Seat Passenger

The person in the middle seat isn’t so lucky. They have to ask the aisle person for permission each time they need to get up. They have no real arm rests to call their own. Be extra considerate of this passenger. If you’re in the aisle seat, notify them that they shouldn’t hesitate to ask when they need to get out. Give them your arm rest. Make sure your belongings aren’t encroaching on their leg space.


Help Placing Luggage In Overhead Bin

When accessing overhead bins are a struggle (which they often are), be kind to your fellow traveler. This is airplane etiquette 101. Help someone get heavy luggage into the bin space. It might avoid injury and get you in your seat quickly.


Give Up Your Standby Spot (If You Can)

When flights are oversold, you might wind up on the dreaded standby list. But if you aren’t in any real hurry to get to your destination, consider letting someone who is in a hurry jump you in line. It could mean you get a free flight and meal voucher from the airline to just hang out in the airport terminal for an extra hour or two. And, it could mean you help someone get to that wedding or family reunion on time.


Be Polite To Staff

With airlines under-staffed and flights getting canceled, most airline personnel you approach have encountered many unhappy customers that day. Instead of piling onto their stress, greet them with a smile and a warm tone. Understand that no individual you speak to is personally responsible for your flight delay or other issue. And know that you never know what a good attitude might get you – drink voucher? Stand-by list bump-up?


Just Ask Nicely

Whether you want to ask the person in front of you not to recline while you’re eating, or you want to ask a parent to silence their child, just ask nicely. Usually, people aren’t trying to bother you on purpose – they don’t even realize they’re doing it. So just give others the benefit of the doubt when asking a favor. We need more good vibes and less attitude on flights and in airports (and everywhere).

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