Be it a one-hour domestic flight or 16 hours to the other side of the world, traveling always entails a certain level of stress. So in an attempt to make your next flight a little more convenient for you, here’s a rundown of basic dos and don'ts, coming from one of your friendly cabin crew members.
While it is true that you need to be in something that will make you comfortable for the next couple of hours, do remember that the aircraft is not your bedroom. The maximum passenger load of a small aircraft is around 199, big ones at 370—give or take. That said, not everyone’s going to be forgiving of the idea of you wearing anything that should only be worn in the comforts of your own home. But don't worry, it's entirely possible to be both comfortable and stylish at the same time.
While it's understandable that you want to be ready for anything, struggling to bring around two or more bags as your carry-on is honestly just not practical. Imagine carrying those around the airport—think about those X-rays and other security checks—and the hassle of having to look for available spaces in the overhead bins. Not worth it!
Save yourself the torture and bring everything you need in one carry-on bag, and then have the rest of your things checked in.
Respect personal space
Whether you’re seated in business or economy class, you're going to be stuck with the same people in a relatively small space for the next couple of hours. Do yourself a favor and put the niceties on max for the duration of the flight; in other words, be mindful of the other passengers. Their needs matter just as much as yours—whether its hours of uninterrupted sleep, being able to comfortably go to the lavatory without the judgmental looks, or being able to watch a movie or read a book in peace. That said, please don't put your feet up in the unoccupied seats or in between the seats in front of you—that's just gross and disrespectful.
Additionally, if you're seated apart from your friends, please don't talk over the other passenger stuck between you two. Save your personal conversations for later or say excuse me to the other person if it's an urgent matter you need to discuss with your peers.
The aircraft will technically serve as your home for the next few hours, so why not treat it as one? If it ticks you off when you see a filthy toilet, be conscious enough to wipe it after you’ve finished your business. If you hate stepping on crumbs of food or spills of liquid, or even small pieces of garbage on the floor, why not be more careful with the way you eat or dispose of your trash? While a part (emphasis on the word ‘part’) of your cabin crew’s job is to keep the cabin and lavatories clean, they are going up against hundreds of passengers using all the facilities with such limited time to do all of their responsibilities. Keeping a well-maintained house requires team effort; the same can be said about the plane that's housing you until you get to your destination.
Be nice to the cabin crew
We’re not exactly asking you to put them up on a pedestal for keeping you safe from the time you board until the time you leave the plane, but treating them with respect goes a long way. They're there to help you in any way they can, which sometimes includes going the extra mile, but understand that there are just some things that are beyond their control i.e. flight delays, or if your dietary requirements aren’t met, or if there happens to be something wrong with your seat. It takes months of rigorous training (mixed with blood, sweat, and tears) to ensure that they are qualified to get you out of an aircraft within a matter of seconds in case of an emergency, to give you first aid in case something happens to you mid-flight, or to simply get you from point A to point B in one piece—treating them like your personal assistants isn’t exactly what they signed up for. Respect begets respect, after all.
Bonus: Be mindful of what you can and cannot take home
You can take the magazines and the overnight kits home, even the jetsetter kits that are given out to kids, if available. Other things like blankets, amenities from the lavatories, and food containers aren’t allowed, though—it's considered pilferage (A.K.A. stealing), which is punishable by law.
Have a safe flight and happy travels!