Airports and airplanes, while taking us to incredible and mesmerizing places, can sometimes stir up a whole batch of travel ‘icks’ that can leave even the most seasoned globetrotter cringing with embarrassment and scratching their head. From rushing to being the first in the queue at boarding to taking your shoes off on the plane.
However, travel experts at SkyParkSecure wanted to question whether these most popular travel ‘icks’ are actually as icky as we think and have paired up with leading etiquette expert Jo Bryant for her opinion on some of the biggest traveling turn-offs.
1. Seat Swap S.O.S.
Didn’t want to pay for a specific seat and randomly got allocated the dreaded middle seat? Many of us cringe when we see someone begging to swap seats with a random stranger before take off – but others may argue that the aforementioned stranger could also be in the same position and this way both parties can get what they want.
On the best way to tackle the situation – and if you should attempt to change seats at all, Jo explains “Simply not liking where you are sitting isn’t a good enough reason to move – you need to validate your request. For example, if there is a spare bulkhead seat and you are very tall, you could point this out. If it isn’t possible to swap or move, don’t get angry or rude; simply accept it’s a no-go with a smile and good grace”
2. Shoes On or Shoes Off?
Nobody likes to see bare, sweaty feet – but that doesn’t stop some people! Jo explains that keeping your shoes on is better manners, but it is also seen as acceptable to take them off for longer flights – there are a few things to ensure beforehand though; “Be sure that your feet are suitable for public viewing (or in socks) and are completely odor free. Keep them to yourself: never put them on the seat or, worst of all, rest them on the armrest of the seat in front.”
3. To Clap or Not to Clap
It turns out that clapping on a plane is actually one of the biggest travel ‘icks’ for a reason – because it’s rude to the pilots! Jo explains “Applause is not necessary after a landing and is rude to the pilots. If the landing is good, clapping suggests surprise at such skill; if the landing is bad, applause would be insultingly sarcastic.”
4. Aroma Adventures:
We’re all entitled to have our own food preferences – but there’s nothing worse than being on a plane when the person next to you pulls out a tuna sandwich. Jo weighs in on whether being annoyed by this is just being picky – or if it is actually bad manners.
“The confines of the cabin, combined with limited airflow, make smelly food a definite no. If the meals served by the airline are particularly strong smelling, then that is out of passengers’ control, but bringing stinky sandwiches or fast food onboard is inconsiderate and selfish”.
5. Security Smooth Moves
Going through security is unarguably one of the most stressful parts of going on a flight – and it’s never helped by the person in front of you who seems the have missed every single sign outlining the very clear rules around liquids, what can stay in your bag, and what needs to be taken out.
Jo explains it’s simply good manners to ensure you’re organized as you’re about to go through security “Know where your electronics are, have your liquids bagged and ready, and clear your pockets in advance. Don’t hold everyone up by rummaging through your bag hunting for your tablet or setting off the detectors with your belt. The rules are clear so plan ahead and stick to them”.
6. Boarding Buddy Blues
Some of us might find ourselves running across the airport as soon as our gate is announced to make sure we’re at the front of the line, while others watch from a distance thinking ‘well we’re all going to get one regardless, what’s the point of rushing’ – Jo explains that for this ‘ick’ in particular, it does just come down to personal preference.
“Some people like to be in the queue promptly before the gate opens, whereas others like to board the plane later on. It’s really a matter of personal preference but, either way, queue in an orderly fashion, respect other people’s personal space, and when it comes to flying, holding up the whole plane by boarding last is never going to cut it as being ‘fashionably late’. “
7. Cheers or No Cheers?
The airport bar can be tempting, and having a few drinks before take-off is commonly seen as part of the traveling experience – but it’s never fun when a passenger on a plane has clearly had a few too many.
Jo suggests sipping smartly “A glass or two in departures is fine, but attempting to board if you are worse-for-wear is disrespectful to other passengers and the crew. You risk feeling ill on the flight, being unsteady as you move along the cabin, irritating to fellow passengers or, worse of all, even being denied boarding”
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