Airplane Etiquette ~ What You Need To Know Before You Fly

flight attendants

Spend enough time on planes and you will be horrified at the way some other travelers behave. Most people however are unaware their behavior is offensive and would be embarrassed if they knew. Sitting next to someone doing any of the following things can ruin your flight, but not only do you not want to sit next to this person, you don’t want to be them!

With that in mind let’s look at some airplane etiquette items, to help you become the ideal traveler.

1. Take A Shower!

I don’t know why this even needs to be said, but for the love of God take a shower the morning you are flying! You may think you smell fine, but that musty smell people get when they haven’t showered is gross. Especially when you are trapped next to it on a long flight. Or any flight.

2. Use Deodorant

Again, really?? I had a lady argue with me about this on a travel forum recently. She said why bother when you will jut be sitting there next to strangers anyway? Here is why – B.O is gross. No one should have to smell your B.O on a flight.

3. Wear Clean Clothes

Even if you have been backpacking for 6 months you can find a basin, some water and some soap and at least wash a t-shirt and some undies a couple of days before you fly. Being stuck on a plane next to someone who is smelly is just plain awful, and unfair.

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4. Dress Appropriately

The first thing to think about is being comfortable and warm when you fly, but you also need to be appropriately dressed. Don’t have your boobs half hanging out, your belly out, short shorts etc. Do all of that at home by all means, but on a flight you need to think of others too.

I was stuck next to a girl in a crop top recently, and her belly rolls were all over the place, with her bare skin not only squishing into our shared armrest, but also flopping over into my seat space.

Some airlines won’t let you on if you are inappropriately dressed, others don’t care.

5. Don’t Pick Your Nose, Ears or Any Other Body Part.

This is just basic decent manners. If you need to get something out of your nose/ear/bandaid/other body part, go to the bathroom and do it there. It is so unbelievably gross to be stuck next to a picker.

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6. No Manspreading.

Dudes, I get it – you want to spread your legs, claim someone else’s space, and draw attention to your crotch. But for God’s sake, cool it. Your space is what falls between the arm rests, nothing beyond that. So keep your leg out of the aisle and out of the person next to you’s space. It doesn’t make you look like an alpha male, it makes you look somewhere between insecure and rapey, especially if you are sitting next to a female.

manspreading.

I have exactly zero problem telling any dude to get his leg out of my space, but plenty of women get intimidated (which is probably why you do it) and won’t say anything. It’s not cool, so stop it.

7. Stay In Your Own Lane

Keep your body inside your seat. Your thighs don’t belong in my seat, your arms don’t belong there either. We all have paid for the space that lies between the armrests, so you need to keep all of you inside that space.

If you have a window or aisle seat you can lean to the side or adjust yourself to get comfortable. The person in the middle seat has nowhere to go so they get both armrests – it’s only fair.

Also, keep your hair out of other people’s business.

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8. Keep Your Feet On The Floor

bare feet on airplane
oh come onnnn!

You may be all up on your comfort game, but feet need to stay on the floor. Whether bare feet or in socks, it is never ok to put your feet up on the seats or on the armrests of the seat in front of you.

bare feet on airplane
this is rude, inconsiderate and plain gross.

9. Don’t Bring Smelly Food On Board

I’m a huge advocate of bringing healthy snacks when you fly. Sometimes you wind up bringing something more substantial on the plane with you, but just make sure its not smelly.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Be considerate of others when bringing food on board. Tuna sandwiches, fast foods, Chinese food – smelly foods don’t only bother the people sitting immediately around you, but also stink out that entire section of the plane. The smell of McDonalds remnants is even more gross 3 hours into a flight than when you board with it.

While we are on food, also don’t bring messy foods that you can spill on someone. I have had starbucks tipped on me, and pho splashed on me. It’s not fair, don’t bring them on board.

10. Take Out Your Trash

trash left on airplane
On what planet is this considered acceptable??

Before landing the flight attendants always come by with trash bags to collect any refuse you have. Rather than dropping trash on the floor, put it in the bag. If you have been sticking dirty tissues etc in the seat back pocket, now is the time to trash them. Don’t leave a mess behind.

10 Best Tips You Need To Know To Sleep On A Plane

Are you one of those lucky people who can fall into a deep sleep on a plane? I used to be, what feels like a lifetime ago, but the past ten or fifteen years I have really struggled with sleeping on planes even on long haul international and night flights.

Air new Zealand Evening flight over clouds
Air New Zealand flight at sunset

When you take long international flights and don’t sleep it can often cost you the first day or two of your trip, with debilitating jet-lag and travel fatigue.

If you can’t fall into a deep sleep when you fly there is still considerable value in getting some quality power naps. The following tips will help you to either get some good naps in during your flight or to get into a decent sleep.

How To Sleep On A Plane

1. Bank Sleep.

Avoid boarding your flight exhausted. The more tired you are the harder it can be to fall asleep. I used to work right up until the last minute and would end up boarding my flight too exhausted to sleep. Then I would be stressing about not getting to sleep, which in turn kept me awake.

Now I bank sleep in the week leading up to my flight. Even catching an extra 15 to 20 minutes sleep per night can make all the difference in the world, and believe it or not actually help you to drift off during the flight.

2. Go Easy On The Booze…

Alcohol can dehydrate you during a flight and stop you from falling into a decent sleep. Ideally don’t drink any alcohol on a flight you want to sleep on, but if you have to have a glass of wine with dinner, stop at one. Sleep specialists disagree with the concept that a few drinks will lull you into sleep, arguing instead that they will keep you awake.

Your body starts to dehydrate while you are flying anyway, but compounding it with alcohol can really make you feel hellish when you land, even if you have drunk yourself into a slumber.

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3. Avoid Salty Snacks

Choose your snacks wisely. Salty snacks like chips and nuts and sugary snacks like cookies, candies and sweetened food bars can also prevent you from sleeping and cause your body to dehydrate and swell up. Your best bet is to pack healthy snacks that are easy to digest and that are low sodium/salt and low sugar, and ignore the salty snacks on the beverage cart.

4. Be Very Careful With Sleeping Pills

Plenty of doctors will write you a prescription for a sleep aid, but proceed with caution. Make sure you take any sleep medication for a test run prior to flying. Some sleep medications can leave you feeling drowsy and lethargic when you land, others don’t end up putting you to sleep and just leave you feeling drugged and foggy.

Be very, very careful not to combine alcohol and sleeping pills as things can really go sideways at 35,000 feet. Be especially careful taking Ambien when you fly. If you have ever witnessed someone get crazy on Ambien you will know what I mean here. Google Ambien Zombies and you will see what I mean. There are endless stories of passengers getting naked, climbing on other passengers, wandering around planes in a drug stupor. And they have zero recollection of it once the drug wears off.

Last summer I had a house sitter go crazy on vodka and Ambien while I was in Italy. She has zero recollection of it, but during a 36 hour rampage wrecked tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage on my house. I had to take out massive loans to get my house fixed. I cannot imagine what would happen if that kind of crazy occurred at 35,000 feet! Technically the flight crew could put the passenger in restraints, but the screaming and carry on would continue throughout the flight. Don’t let that be you.

5. Dress For Comfort

I’m a big believer in looking stylish or at least decent when I fly (always channeling the business class upgrade!) but at the same time dressing comfortably. I avoid flying in jeans or anything too fitted or restricting. Most people swell when they fly, so jeans that are totally comfy on the ground can become torture devices during the flight.

angelina jolie always has perfect travel wardrobe
Angelina Jolie always looks good at the airport, while still dressing for comfort during her flight

If you are flying in the main cabin you have very limited space to get comfortable in so it is important that you aren’t overly constricted by your clothing. Wear layers that you can add on or take off accordingly, and be aware that planes can get very cold. It doesn’t hurt to have a soft sweatshirt or hoodie that you can roll into a pillow. I have yet to find a neck pillow that actually is even remotely comfortable…

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6. Time Your Slumber

This is more of a jet-lag /travel fatigue avoiding measure, but having a plan in place seems to help with actually getting to sleep too.

As soon as your flight takes off change your watch to the local time at your destination, and try to adjust your sleep time accordingly. Try to time your sleep for nighttime at your destination. That can mean trying to sleep during the first half of a flight going east or the second half of a flight going west.

So if you are flying Los Angeles to Singapore, sleep the first half of your flight, and if you are flying Los Angeles to Rome sleep the second half of your flight.

7. Choose Your Seat Wisely

It is definitely worthwhile paying a little extra to choose your seat, and as most travelers are already clued in to this that means booking your seat when you book your flight.

economy cabin boeing 777

Window seats give you a wall to lean against, aisle seats mean you have to get up each time the middle or window seat people want to walk or go to the bathroom.

Exit row seating tends to have more legroom but there is nowhere to store a bag during takeoff and landing.

I use an app called Seat Guru to find the best seat on the plane. Some are too close to the toilets so get both noisy and smelly. Others don’t have full recline or have entertainment units under the seat in front, cancelling out your legroom and ability to stretch.

8. Explore Your Seat

I always see other passengers not using and not knowing about the features their seats offer.

Some planes have seats with more features. Check to see if your headrest bends to hold your head (saving you neck pain). Some seats don’t just recline, but the bottom slides forward, giving you even more comfort. Premium Economy typically has a bar that drops down below the seat in front of you, allowing you to raise your feet. Having your feet raised even a few inches changes not only comfort, but swelling, and can help avoid the dreaded DVT – this is huge. Make sure you are not front row Premium with no seat in front!

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There are lots of features on newer plane seats that can make a huge difference in your comfort level, which in turn can help you to sleep. Every little detail counts!

9. Accessorize.

There are a variety of accessories you can bring along to help you get to sleep.

Ear plugs or even better, noise cancelling headphones, not only tune out neighbors conversation but also the incredibly annoying, sleep preventing, engine hum.

Sleep masks will help block the blue light from other passengers’ TV screens.

Fitglam Natural Silk Sleep Mask

Essential oils can help you fall asleep and also knock out any unpleasant smells wafting around. If you suffer from allergies the pressurized air in the cabin can wreck havoc on your sinuses. A little eucalyptus oil on a cotton pad can work wonders to keep you breathing clearly and alleviate sinus pressure, in turn helping you sleep.

BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanket airline blankets can be totally sketchy, so you always want to have a scarf/shawl/pashmina that you can use as a blanket or bundle up in to keep you warm.

10. Download Sleep Apps.

Download a sleep assisting app prior to departing.

From yoga nidra to binaural beats to apps like Sleep Pillow that allow you to create white noise playlists of different water and rain sounds, there are tons of sleep enhancing apps to put on your smartphone.

I have dozed off on plenty of flights listening to the sound of rain pattering away on a tent on my Sleep Pillow app!

Hopefully these tips will help you get some shuteye on your next long haul or overnight flight! If you think of any others please leave them in the comments section below.

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10 Fantastic Travel Tips You Need To Know Before You Fly

Have you ever noticed how business travelers and people who fly frequently seem to move through airports easily, not even slightly flustered, keeping their cool and looking chic, while you are juggling your carry-on, your handbag, your boarding pass, your I.D and your coat, trying to remember if there are liquids in your bag, hoping you didn’t just drop your iPhone, and getting totally stressed out?

There is an art to air travel. Simple tricks that make everything work seamlessly, get you early boarding and upgrades, make navigating airports easy and have you arriving to your destination looking cool, calm and collected. Business travelers know these tricks. People who fly often know these tricks. And now you are going to know them too!

10 Travel Tricks Every Business Traveler Knows

1. Choose One Airline and Stick With It

Business travelers know whenever possible you should stick with one airline.

Sometimes you can save a few dollars by flying with a cheapie airline or by using a competitor airline but often its just not worth it

Sticking with one airline is beneficial not only for accumulating free flights but also for getting upgrades. Loyal customers tend to get more opportunity to board early and to be upgraded to better seats, and are less likely to be kicked off the flight if it is oversold. Airlines want to build loyalty (hence the frequent flier programs) and understand there is value in taking care of good repeat customers. Also there is a huge benefit to you as a traveler already being familiar with the airline and the way they operate.

2. Choose Your Seat When You Make Your Booking

Business travelers and frequent flyers seldom get stuck in the middle seat.

One of the ways that airlines are making more money is by charging you to choose your seat and staggering the costs depending where on the plane that seat is. You seldom find half empty flights anymore, and most flights are full, even the red eye flights that used to be mostly empty in the good old days. You can safely assume that if you don’t choose your seat ahead of time you will in fact get the dreaded middle seat and be squashed in between two overweight, itchy passengers!

For a short flight it doesn’t matter so much, but for a long flight or for an international flight this can be very important.

Use an app like Seat Guru and evaluate the pros and cons of a seat before committing to it. For example avoid being next to the toilets, look to see if that seat has limited recline or no recline, look to see if the seat has a shorter pitch than others and also see if there is an entertainment system under the seat in front of you taking up both your leg space and your space to put your extra bag. I have been saved countless times by using the Seat Guru app.

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3. Never Check In At The Airport

Business travelers don’t wait til they get to the airport to check in.

Most airlines will offer you the opportunity to check in online 24 hours prior to your flight. Even if you are checking bags always take this option. Apart from it being a time saver, especially if the ticketing area at the airport is busy, it lowers the chance that you will be kicked off your flight if the flight is oversold.

With most airlines this enables you to either choose your seat or at least get a better seat assignment. Your boarding pass can either be printed ahead of time or even sent to your phone. Every step you take to streamline the travel process is worthwhile.

4. Be Ready For TSA Security Checks

Business travelers sail through the TSA security check points quickly and effortlessly.

This is huge. You can tell who are the business travelers and frequent travelers just by watching them move through the TSA check points at the airport. And you can learn a lot from them too.

man being searched at tsa checkpoint in busy airport
image courtesy of Daily Mail

The travel pros are ready for the security X-Ray machines. Jewelry and belts are removed before getting to the conveyor belt, often not put on in the first place until they have cleared the screening point. Keys and coins are removed from pockets and either stored inside their bag or put into a small tray. They know that if they don’t have TSA Pre Check they will have to remove their shoes, so they wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.

Their cabin baggage is organized, with laptops and properly sized, properly packaged liquids at the top, easy to access and put in the trays. Frequent travelers don’t hold up the line and don’t waste time fossicking around in their bags to find the items that set off the x-rays machines. Surplus clothing – coats, hats and scarves are already removed and folded. They have their boarding pass and ID in hand, they are ready.

Frequent travelers will scan the lines at TSA and avoid the ones filled with children and disorganized people. Why get stuck behind someone who is taking up too much space and time?

They know to go left – most people are right handed and will instinctively veer to the security lines to the right. The lanes to the left typically move more quickly and have both fewer people and fewer disorganized people.

By being prepared you can expedite the security process, avoiding some extra stress in the process as well as lessening the likelihood of losing personal items in the process.

5. They Board ASAP

Business travelers don’t waste time hanging around the gate – they board their flights as quickly as possible.

Although it means a few more minute on the plane vs standing at the terminal gate (and who wants to do that anyway?) frequent travelers know to board their flight asap. Have you ever noticed that first class passengers are seated and comfortable with their bags stored in the overhead bin before anyone else is allowed to board?

The first reason to board immediately is to get your share of valuable overhead bin space before it’s gone. Simple and small things such as being able to fold your coat and put it away neatly (rather than having to hold in throughout the flight or have it crushed while you try to squish it in around other travelers rollaway bags) can make all the difference in any flight, be it a short or a long one.

It is much easier to keep your inflight belongings organized when you have had time to board your plane comfortably. Trying to organize your book or laptop, your phone, your earphones, your sweater or scarf, your water and anything else you need out with you, while trying to climb over other passengers and trying to find overhead bin space is not only really difficult but also raises your chance of losing items. You seldom see business travelers or frequent fliers losing their travel items – they board early and stay organized. Which makes them both look and feel calm.

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6. Don’t Bring Unnecessary Valuables

Business travelers know that bringing unnecessary valuables when you travel is plain stupid. The streamline whatever jewelry they are bringing and use the hotel safe to store anything surplus they do have to bring.

They also know that all laptops/medication/jewelry/cameras/valuables have to go on the plane in their carry-on luggage and never in their checked bags. If it has value, never, ever check it.

7. System Boosting

Frequent long distance flyers know that getting sick during a flight can ruin the best business meetings and the best vacations.

Face it, airplanes are full of germs. Not only are all the surfaces dirty – they are not chloroxed down in between flights, but they are also covered in whatever the previous passengers have been sneezing and coughing up, and you don’t even want to know what else!

On top of that along with everyone else you are breathing in recirculated air that is not fresh or clean. Add to that your defenses being down due to lack of sleep and change in routine and you have a recipe for catching every bug that is floating around.

Before you travel build your personal defense system with extra vitamins. Instead of indulging in airport food, which is typically starchy, fatty, high in sodium and relatively bad for you, pack healthy snacks.  The same applies to airplane food, which is not known for its health benefits.

Business travelers typically don’t drink endless sodas or alcoholic drinks during their flights either. Both break down your body’s defenses and make you more vulnerable to getting sick while traveling.

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8. Avoid or At Least Minimize Jet Lag

Business travelers and people who fly a lot know how important it is to stave off jet lag and travel fatigue, or at least minimize it.

Sometimes you just cannot get away from jet lag, such as when you wake up in Los Angeles and go to bed in Singapore, but you can minimize the effects of it.

The game changers include staying super hydrated before, during and after your flight, banking some extra sleep in the days leading up to your flight and by making really good food choices. In the lead up to a big flight avoid heavy, starchy foods, salty foods and junk foods. Eat lean and clean.

Another great way to help mitigate jet lag and travel fatigue is to get extra exercise in the days leading up to your flight and then getting quality exercise when you land, either from taking a really good, long walk or working out at the hotel gym. Even 20 minutes sweating on a treadmill can help your body to recover by getting the blood pumping and reducing swelling in the feet and ankles.

9. Stick To Your Home Schedule

When moving through different time zones, crossing datelines or just traveling across country one of the best ways to acclimate your body is to maintain your home schedule.

If you don’t drink alcohol during the week at home, avoid drinking during the week while away. Try to get the same number of hours sleep per night as you do at home, keep up your exercise routines and watch for the devil that is sugar. It is easy to start indulging in novelty foods while away but remember sugar is at the root of most evils. A body getting excess sugar is more likely to get sick, feel icky, get bloated and have trouble sleeping, as well as many other negative things.

10. Dress The Part.

Business travelers and frequent flyers know that wearing the right clothing to travel in is a must. You can see them deplaning after a 10 hour flight looking chic and stylish instead of completely crumpled.

Simple pieces made in breathable fabrics that you can layer are the key to easy travel.

angelina jolie and maddox arriving at LAX
Angelina Jolie wearing a perfect travel uniform, arriving at LAX with her son Maddox

Most people will bloat a little during the flight as the cabin air pressure changes, so clothing that is too tight or that doesn’t move with you can make a long flight incredibly uncomfortable.

Look for fabrics that don’t crease and that although thin are nice and warm, such as Modal and merino. Airplanes get cold but heavy bulky clothes aren’t fun to fly in.

Choose shoes that are comfortable and that you can wear with socks, and definitely avoid heels! Add a pashmina or large scarf that you can use either to wrap up in or as a blanket if needed.

Have you read my book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy (Secrets To Glamorous Travel On A Not So Glamorous Budget!) yet? It is available exclusively on Amazon.com, in both paperback and on Kindle.

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