The etiquette for economy seats on a plane

It’s that time of the year again, everyone is planning their holiday. Going for a trip by car, or like many people nowadays jumping on that plane and heading to far away places. And here in the expat world it’s more jumping on a plane going back home to the motherland {Phuket’s roads are getting less crowded, which is a welcoming change for me!}.

It’s also that time of year where people are getting stressed, due to packing, getting all the kids in line and making sure everyone arrives on the final destination in one piece {nobody wants to recreate the scenes from ‘Home Alone’!}. This stress can result into very cranky travellers. Everyone has a short leash while travelling {unless, of course, you’re in Business or First Class, where there is plenty of space}. So be mindful about how to use your space to avoid confrontation!

Want to respect everyone’s personal space? A couple of tips that might help you out:

  • Do not use the knee defender: A knee defender is a lock that can be put on an airplane chair to prevent the person in front of you for reclining. It sounds like a great way to keep your own space, but its very rude for the person sitting in front of you. Just imagine that that person is locked between her chair and the person in front of her bringing down the chair. It can bring plenty of irritation – A United Airlines plane had to be diverted when a man put a knee defender stopping a woman in front from reclining, leading to argument and both being kicked off the flight. Don’t think that is worth the trouble…
  • Look before you recline: In this way you can take a look and see whether the person is not having anything breakable {like a laptop}, or a glass of red wine on their tray. It also warns the person behind you that something is about to happen {if they don’t see you’re looking, maybe highlight it by saying ‘excuse me’}. And last but not least, you can see whether the person behind you is super tall – if so maybe you can show some mercy… You can make his life more or less miserable…
  • Sit up straight during mealtime: Even if you’re not that hungry, put your seat up, so that the person behind you will be able to enjoy a nice meal, without doing any acrobatic tricks.

And then you have the things that are out of control, such as seat kickers or over enthusiastic kids on a plane. For the kids, it depends on the age. Most of the time the younger ones fall asleep and you don’t really bothered by them, their legs are too short to kick your back and really do any harm. However, I once had a little boy who enjoyed playing a game on the back of my chair a little too much. He kept on tapping the screen hard and kept bouncing my head up and down for a good 30mins already. I asked his mom in a friendly way to make him stop, and luckily this worked out well.

And then you have the seat kickers or grabbers. You know those people that are turning and twisting on their chair kicking your spine every so many minutes. Again the best way to stop this from happening is by asking the person behind you nicely to stop kicking the chair. It might work, and if not at least you tried. As for the seat grabber, this might be the most annoying one. You know the person who needs the chair in front of him to get up and sit down, making you feel like you’re in an earthquake? That might be the most difficult problem in my eyes to stop, as most of the people do not realise they are doing it… I still have to find a solution for that one!

A little consideration goes a long way – and might make your 12hr flight a lot more relaxing! Love to hear your ideas for having a more comfortable flight!

xxx Frei

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