Travel Etiquette: Tips for a Smoother Trip

Here’s how to avoid being one of those annoying travellers who drives fellow passengers crazy?

Credit: Flickr/Mark Blevis

Following travel etiquette can help avoid crankiness in long airport lineups

Don’t be that traveller. You know, the annoying one who holds up the boarding line or blocks the escalator. Heed these travel etiquette tips for a smoother trip all around

It’s a fact of life that when travelling, we’ve all been annoyed by someone else. But what if we’re the one making those annoying travel faux pas?

Air Travel Etiquette Tips

Busy airports, with typically long lineups, inevitably lead to cranky people. We’ve probably all been guilty of bugging someone at some point in our travels, but here are a few pointers to make life easier for your fellow travellers and the flight crew:


Start by thinking ahead when you’re packing and planning to board your flight. Help speed things up through the security checkpoint by placing all your metal and electronic gadgets in a coat pocket or carry-on pouch that can be easily removed for inspection. Remove your laptop from its case, have your liquids, gels and toiletries stored in a TSA-approved quart-sized plastic zip-lock bag, and have your shoes ready to toss in the tray. Organize yourself ahead of time so you can keep the line moving.


Keep walking when you’re using moving sidewalks or escalators. Or, if you don’t want to walk, stand to the right-hand side so people can get around on the left. And don’t forget to move those bags out of the way too — anything not moving must stay on the right. 


Now this should be a given, but go easy on the food smells in a confined space. You wouldn’t want your seatmate blowing cigarette smoke in your face, so how is that greasy burger or those pungent onion rings any different? Pick a less odorous snack option like trail mix or a muffin. And this isn’t solely a food-related offense. Remember, people can be sensitive to other scents, including beauty products, so don’t spray perfume, paint your nails or use smelly lotions or hairspray.


On the plane, turn off your electronic devices when required. The crew tells you to turn them off, so why not do it? Even though studies have shown it may not cause any actual disruption with the plane’s electronics, you could be terrifying the person next to you by not cooperating. Whatever call or text you’re missing, it can wait. 
Also, make sure your headphones aren’t too loud. You may think only you can hear it, but the noise can be irritating to those around you.


If your airplane row has three seats, remember that the person sitting in the middle seat gets access to both armrests. Before slamming your seat back as far as it can go, take a moment to check behind you to ensure you won’t be disturbing anyone. Then slowly push your seat backwards, giving your fellow passenger time to adjust. 


Stay seated until the aircraft has reached the gate. Even if by some chance you’ve collected your things from the overhead bins, the moment the wheels touch the ground, where exactly do you plan on going? The door is still closed and there are about 60 people seated in the rows before you, all of whom are just as eager to deplane.

Hopefully, following these tips will make your trip much more enjoyable, not just for you, but for those around you too.

Watch Claire Newell on Global BC News: Final (Mon.), Early (Wed.), Morning & Noon (Thur.), Noon (Sat.). Or catch her Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m. on Shore 104 FM.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.