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Air Etiquette

Welcome to the (un)friendly skies

We’ve all been there. On a flight from here to there, the very large person next to you hogs the armrest (or, worse yet, puts it up so they can spread out). Or the woman right next to you is wearing overpowering perfume. Or the young man across the aisle has his music so loud, everyone within two rows can hear its thump-thump-thump.

Air travel is often uncomfortable at best, infuriating at worst. No wonder people lose their tempers. 

Recent air rage incidents have actually caused pilots to land planes and kick off passengers. 

So how can we all make air travel more tolerable?

We consulted Miss Manners and the experts at CheapOair to compile some of their best tips:

• For some travelers, a flight provides some alone time. That is, until your neighbor strikes up a conversation and just won’t stop. Start by introducing yourself when you sit down. If your seatmate doesn’t seem inclined to chat, shut up. 

• Don’t invade another’s space. Don’t bring a broadsheet newspaper to read on the plane. Consider a magazine or a book.

• How is it possible for three adults to share four armrests and still be comfy?  Play nice. If you get an armrest, make sure you don’t spill over into someone else’s space. Or take turns using it.

• If you visit the bathroom often, book an aisle seat.  When you gotta go, you gotta go. But you don’t gotta disturb everyone else in the process. 

•  If you’re going to listen to music on your personal player, keep the volume down. It might be louder than you think, especially if the headset is not an ear bud. 

• Some people enjoy a drink during the flight. But if you’re seated next to someone who’s had too much to drink and it’s making you uncomfortable, ask the flight attendant to find another seat for you. 

• When traveling with children, keep them as quiet as possible and in their seats. Bring snacks and enough entertainment to get them through the flight. Don’t let them kick the seat in front of them!

• When the plane lands, be patient with unloading. If a passenger in front of you is a little slow pulling down luggage, instead of squeezing past them, consider assisting them. 

• If a passenger near you is obviously sick, you may bring home a cold or flu as a souvenir. This is particularly problematic during winter months. If you really cannot tolerate the situation, stock a cotton breathing mask in your carry-on. And don’t forget the hand sanitizer or wipes. 

• If a fellow passenger is truly obnoxious, you need to speak with a flight attendant. 

We contacted several airlines, but none would comment on the topic except Allegiant, which flies out of Colorado Springs.

“In the case of a … rude passenger, flight crews will alert them that they are being a disruption,” says Brandon Myers, a spokesman for Allegiant Airlines. ”If the passenger’s behavior continues, they will then be given a written notification that they may be in violation of federal offenses and can be removed from the flight if they continue to not comply. 

“It is up to the discretion of the flight crew how to handle each situation, keeping in mind their number one concern is the safety of all passengers.

And if all else fails, just remind yourself: It’s only a few hours out of your life.