Etiquette: Best practices at high altitude
To gauge how passengers perceive and handle delicate flight scenarios, British Airways surveyed 1,500 travellers from the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy. The responses do not necessarily represent the gold standard of politesse, so Lizzie Post, co-host of the podcast Awesome Etiquette, shares some tips.
Some 67 per cent of respondents said that passengers should commandeer only one side and leave the other for their neighbour. More than 40 per cent of British and American passengers occupying the middle seat said they were most likely to monopolise both armrests. Travellers from Italy, France and Germany were more courteous: Nearly half said the armrest should go to the first person who asks.
Lizzie says: “Don’t try to stake a claim on the armrest. Share it.” She recommends sharing the physical space (for instance, you take the front section and your seatmate claims the back portion) or take turns using it.
- Shoes off or on
Shoes off is okay (59 per cent); sockless is not okay (87 per cent).
Lizzie says: “Out of consideration for other passengers we advise you to keep your shoes on.”
- Trip to the bathroom
If the person in the aisle seat is snoozing and you need to go to the lavatory, do you wake them up? Yes, according to 80 per cent of surveyed subjects, but only once per trip, added 40 per cent. A third said that they would steeplechase over the slumbering body.
Lizzie says: “Wake the person up. The aisle person has an etiquette obligation to make it easy for the other people.”
According to more than 80 per cent of travellers. seatmates should exchange a quick hello and a smile, then zip the lip. Americans (42 per cent) disapprove of sharing personal tales and will slip on headphones. Brits use the skip-to-the-loo excuse. Italian and French travellers are more magnanimous: 80 per cent of Italians consider small talk appropriate, and half the French respondents consider flying a friendshipforging opportunity.
Lizzie says: “Brief chitchat is nice, but not obligatory.” Lizzie suggests telling the person you are going to tuck into your book or listen to your music now and pop in your ear buds. - Washington Post