6 etiquette tips for passengers on a flight

Passengers boarding on a flight with some already seated at their assigned seats. Picture: Unsplash

Passengers boarding on a flight with some already seated at their assigned seats. Picture: Unsplash

Published Feb 21, 2024


The internet is flooded with videos of passengers not following proper etiquette or being on their worst behaviour when flying.

This is why it is important to know what is expected of a passenger while also following the rules and instructions provided by the cabin crew.

Respecting guidelines as a passenger and following the proper etiquette when flying will not only keep you safe but also make your journey quicker and stress-free.

So here are a few tips to help you be on your best behaviour when flying for your next trip.


When entering the flight, be sure to carry your bag in front of you and low to the ground as you walk down the aisle in search of your seat. This is to make sure that you don’t knock other passengers when walking down the aisle.

Also, avoid hogging the aisle when putting your bag in the overhead compartment to store it for the flight.

You should take care when retrieving luggage from the overhead compartment. Exercise patience and make sure that you are also swift in your actions.

Be sensitive to your seat mate

When getting seated, try to acknowledge the person seated next to you with a greeting as you’re starting off and then you can read the other person to see whether they want to talk or not.

Most people want some peace and quiet so if a person doesn’t want to engage, let them be. If the other person is chatty, politely excuse yourself.

Keep your chair upright

Space on aircrafts is limited so don’t lean your chair back as the flight takes off. If you do decide to recline your chair when you can, make sure that it is allowed and do it slowly.

Otherwise, you risk bumping the head of the unsuspecting passenger behind you who is getting something from the bag at their feet, or you could knock over the drink on their tray.

Remember to return the seat to the upright position during the meal and drink servings, or if possible, wait until food and beverages are finished being served and cleaned up.

Watch your alcohol consumption

When you get on a flight, you are tempted to relax and kick back with a few drinks but make sure to avoid getting drunk during or before the flight.

You may be having the time of your life but your fellow passengers may not think so (some airlines don't allow any passengers on board suspected of being over the limit on alcohol consumption).

Keep an eye on any children you're travelling with

When travelling with children, try to make sure that you are observant. Children tend to bump, kick or yank the seat in front of them without realising it throughout the flight, which can make the person in front of them very uncomfortable.

It is difficult enough to control some children on a long flight but it is even more difficult to deal with an angry passenger in front of you.

Try to make sure that you have snacks and activities lined up to keep the young ones entertained.

Disembark calmly

When disembarking, follow the lead from your cabin crew on how to disembark. Be courteous of other people’s belongings in the overhead compartment as you reach for your own, and offer to help them get their bags if you can.

And as you leave, take the time to thank your flight attendants, they will appreciate your kindness.