Wednesday, May 15, 2024
6 to 8 words Unspoken Air Travel Rules You're Likely Ignoring

6 to 8 words Unspoken Air Travel Rules You’re Likely Ignoring


Mia Taylor

by Mia Taylor

Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Sat July 1, 2023

Memo to travelers everywhere: Etiquette demands that socks be kept on during a flight.

That’s the overwhelming consensus among travelers who were polled by the search engine KAYAK, which recently took a deep dive into all things plane etiquette-related.

The platform, which can be used to search for flights, hotels, or rental cars, conducted an extensive survey about such pressing flight-related questions as whether it’s best to keep your shoes on or off during a flight? And should you fully recline that seat or no? How about standing at the gate milling about before your boarding zone is called? (Let’s be honest, who isn’t guilty of that pre-boarding tactic?)

The purpose of the survey was to determine what Americans consider socially acceptable versus outright annoying and rude when flying.

“Travel etiquette is one of those things that is universally acknowledged yet frequently debated,”
said Matt Clarke, vice president of North America marketing for KAYAK. “Even within our own team at KAYAK, we couldn’t all agree whether it was or was not OK to recline your seat on a flight. So, we wanted to put an end to the debate once and for all.

KAYAK developed its survey questions after scouring blog posts, social media platforms, news outlets, online forums, and other sources to identify the most hotly debated topics surrounding air travel behavior. After that, the company conducted a formal survey with aytm (Ask Your Target Market).

The results of this effort revealed that 64 percent of travelers have witnessed bad plane etiquette (not shocking.)  This figure, says KAYAK, underscores the urgent need for establishing formal travel etiquette rules, especially as we all head into the busy July Fourth travel weekend.

Read on for a closer look at what Americans deem appropriate plane etiquette.

Do’s and Don’ts of Air Travel Behavior

  • Sit back and Relax. 88% of people say it’s OK to recline your seat. But timing is important to some with 1 in 3 saying it’s only okay to recline your seat on a long or overnight flight.
  • Arm rests are up for grabs. 57% say the middle seat is not entitled to both arm rests
  • Socks stay ON. 76% say you’re NOT allowed to take your socks off
  • Stinky foods stay at home. 92% of people agree that you should not bring any food with strong smells on a plane. That includes the biggest offenders: tinned fish (89%), hard boiled eggs (74%) and a rack of ribs (84%).
  • Keep your feet on the floor. 68% say you are NOT allowed to put your feet up against the back of the seat in front of you.
  • Noise control. 70% say you are not allowed to watch something without headphones. And, headphones on is the equivalent to do not disturb according to 94% of people.
  • Sleeping is not a valid excusefor just about anything. Leaning on a stranger’s shoulder (77%), snoring loudly (66%) and refusing to wake up to let the passenger next to you get up (66%) are not welcome.
  • Hold the phone…call. 69% agree you are NOT allowed to call someone before you get off the plane.
  • Nail care is a no-no. 92% say you are NOT allowed to clip or paint your nails at your seat. Filing your nails is also a no-no, according to 81% of people.
  • Storage wars (overhead bin edition). 73% say you are allowed to store small items or jackets in the overhead bin
  • Shoes ON during flights. 56% of North Americans agree your shoes should stay on during a flight. But, the fact that this was SO close (56% vs 44%) is a bit disturbing…
  • Restroom sans shoes, no problem. 1 in 5 people believe it’s OK to use the restroom without shoes on. That means someone in your row likely did this during your flight… gross!
  • No Babies on Board. 1 in 4 people (26%) say it’s NOT okay to bring a baby on a flight… ever. Wahhh.
  • Who called the fun police? 58% say you are not allowed to laugh loudly at a movie when on a plane.
  • Long Hair, Don’t Care. Over 1 in 4 people (26%) say it’s OK to hang your hair over the headrest/onto the front of the seat behind you.
  • It’s NOT Crunch time. 55% of people say no to eating crunchy food on a plane.

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