By Colleen Harding
If you have traveled by airplane lately, you have probably noticed a significant change to how we travel today. The experience is not what it uses to be, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
The last time I traveled on an airplane, I felt like one of the people in the movie “Titanic” in steerage class. There was a time when it was a prestigious experience to fly. People dressed up, had a lovely meal on the plane, and were treated well by everyone they encountered. People were civilized and considerate in their dress code and in their manners. Regardless of how things have changed, there is still proper protocol for flying today. If everyone paid a little more attention to being polite, perhaps there would be less focus on the other frustrations and irritations that are out of our control.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Wait your turn.
- Please don’t take over the overhead compartment because you don’t feel like paying for a bag.
- Arrive early enough to be civilized even if a disruption or change or unexpected traffic jam presents itself. Torturing the people around you because you didn’t leave enough time for an unexpected situation is rude.
- Be polite. Remember the basic manners that apply to everyday life.
- If you are sitting with someone who has been split from their significant other, offer the switch with them.
- If you are sitting on the isle and someone is uncomfortable next to you and crammed in a center or window seat, offer to switch. It may not be their fault that they got the wrong seat.
- Turn off your cell phones and computers when you are asked.
- If you are traveling with small children, do your best to keep them occupied. No one wants to hear screaming children when they cannot get away, especially if this is the beginning of a much-needed vacation.
- Do not bring strong smelling food on the plane. Smells are funny in closed-in areas and can make people sick.
- Watch your alcohol consumption. You may be starting your crazy vacation but the man or woman next to you may be preparing for a very important presentation and may find your loud, vulgar conversation to be obnoxious.
- Be considerate of those around you. Ask before you drop your seat back, listen to what the flight attendant says, use “please and thank you,” and offer to let someone go ahead of you when disembarking, if they are late for a connection.
Flying can be a very pleasant experience if we plan and if we are polite. Flying is a terrific way to get from point A to point B in the least amount of time. The experience itself is up to us and how we choose to respond to the circumstances both expected and unanticipated.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. She can be reached at (216) 970-5889 and email@example.com.