Eti­quette: Best prac­tices at high alti­tude

The East African - - MAGAZINE -

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.

- Arm­rests

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.”

- Chitchat

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

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