How to Avoid Annoying Your Neighbour on Your Next Flight

You’re on an airplane heading to Toronto for a business meeting. The kid behind you has been kicking the back of your seat since takeoff. Your neighbour has her leg resting against yours; her purse wedged in the tiny gap between your seats; and is taking up the entire armrest. And the passenger in front of you tilted his seat back all the way into your lap just as you were picking up your glass to have a sip.

Sound familiar?
Small seats, minimal leg room and limited space between you and the seat in front can make airplane travel physically uncomfortable at the best of times. Unfortunately, when travelling many of us tend to think of our own discomfort but forget those around us. Although many of us don’t often think about airplane etiquette, it is just as important as it is in any other close quarters situation to be polite and show consideration to others. Here are five things you can do you make your next flight more bearable for yourself, and those around you:

1. Allow the person in the middle to use the armrest – Recently, in the middle seat I experienced sitting next to someone who not only used the entire armrest, he also had his elbow hanging over my seat. I spent most of the flight leaning the opposite way to avoid him. Luckily I was travelling with the person on my other side. Anyone else would have likely have thought I was getting a little too close.

2. Keep your feet and legs to yourself – Most airlines today have limited legroom. Since most of us don’t enjoy playing Footsie or rubbing legs with strangers, make sure you’re not invading the space of the person sitting next to you.

3. Check behind you before reclining your seatback – With limited space, reclining your seat can have a big impact on the space of the person behind you; which can make it difficult for them to reach something on the floor, eat a meal or even get out of their seat.Before reclining, be considerate by letting the passenger know that you wish to recline. This will give them time to prepare. Avoid reclining during a meal to avoid accidents. The best time to recline is when the lights go out.

4. Don’t grope your neighbours – When leaving your seat, if you must hold onto something, use your own arm rests. Grabbing onto the seat in front of you will jerk the seat, and you risk invading the personal space of the person in front of you.

5. Seatbacks are not children’s play areas – When travelling with children, be aware of your children’s actions and be considerate of those around you. Bring quiet activities to keep them entertained. Nobody likes to have the back of their seat kicked, pushed or punched… even by little feet and hands.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, airline travel can take its toll. By showing consideration for the personal space of other passengers, you can make your flight and their flight more endurable.

Kimberly Law AICI, CIP

Association of Image Consultants International (AICI)

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Founding Director of

Institute of Image Training & Testing International (IITTI)

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