Air travel should be comfortable…but not so comfortable that you forget where you are. Think of every airplane as a new friend’s house: warm and welcoming, sure, but also deserving of respect. Here to lay down the house rules? The host himself: International Fly Guy Jay Robert.
The issue: You’ve hauled luggage, traversed terminals, and finally made it onto the plane. Your feet are shot.
Your instinct: As much as you might want to lose the shoes, don’t display your feet for all to see. This passenger faux pas usually tops the list of things that drive flight attendants crazy. There aren't too many feet that are pretty or smell nice, so resist the urge to show them.
Pro move: Copy the crew here. Female flight attendants often pack a pair of comfy slip-on flats that they wear once airborne. In my own carry-on, I always keep a pair of comfy travel socks that keep my feet warm and presentable. Oh, and please remember to always wear your shoes to the lavatory. Trust me on that.
The issue: You’re looking at anywhere from several hours to over a day’s worth of confinement. You want to be as comfortable as possible.
Your instinct: Even if you’ll be spending more time on your flight than you would in a hotel room, please don’t dress as though you’re behind closed doors. I've lost track of how many times I've seen passengers in their undies trying to get comfy. It just makes it awkward for everyone.
Pro move: You can dress appropriately without sacrificing comfort. My advice is to wear clothes made from loose, breathable, lightweight materials that don’t restrict movement. Also: layer up! Cabin temperature is decided by majority vote.
The issue: The baby two aisles back won’t stop screaming and the guy across the way is sawing logs.
Your instinct: Tap the crew for help! That’s what they’re there for—surely they can do something, right?
Pro move: Mm, not really. We generally can’t quiet a child any better than its parents can, so your best bet is to come prepared with ear plugs, a relaxing playlist, and noise canceling headsets to go over the earplugs. That said, if the flight’s not full, we don’t mind helping you find a quieter spot to relax.
The issue: Hotels have maid service. But you’re not at your hotel yet.
Your instinct: Airplane seats don’t come equipped with personal trash receptacles; I’ll give you that. But the thing to always remember about air travel is that you share this small space with others, so pick up after yourself and leave things the way you would like to find them.
Pro move: Travel wipes are always a smart idea. As a result of tight schedules, aircrafts can go several flights—or even days—between cleanings. So wipe down your tray tables, entertainment controls, toilet seat, and anything else you might be touching. Just remember to pass your trash to the crew or take it with you to the lavatory to dispose.
The issue: You didn’t have time for a pre-vacation manicure.
Your instinct: Pull out a bottle of polish and hope for a turbulence-free flight, right? WRONG. Each passenger plays a part in how good or bad an airplane cabin will smell during a journey. Don’t bring down the air quality with smelly snacks, nail polish, stinky shoes, or bad BO. And, uh, think about what you eat before takeoff.
Pro move: Maintain the same personal hygiene routine you do on the ground by packing a personal grooming kit in your carry-on. Items like deodorant, mouthwash, toothbrush and paste, body wipes, and lotion are the basics you should always bring with you.
Have a question or comment for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Top right image by Molly Choma