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Air Travel Etiquette: How to deal with pesky co-passengers


If there is one thing I hate about air travel, it would have to be dealing with rude or insensitive co-passengers. And who wouldn’t? The cramped space, recycled air and turbulence are enough to make anyone cranky much more a nosy old lady who wants to chat when you want to take a nap! When people are cramped together in confined spaces, small things can be blown out of proportion and cause major irritation for others occupying the same space.

Flight attendants will show you how to buckle a seat belt, but unfortunately there’s no in-flight guide on keeping the peace with fellow passengers. So while we are waiting until we can all afford personal jets to take us wherever we fancy, the following tips can hopefully help us deal with “co-passenger trouble” during flights.

Problem: You want to enjoy a little peace and quiet but you are seated beside a chatty neighbor who wants to trade life stories.
Solution: Grab a book or a magazine and she should get the hint. If she continues talking, tell her, “I’m sorry — I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m dying to read this.” Another strong signal that you don’t want to chat? Headphones.

Problem: The child behind you is kicking your seat.
Solution: “Appeal to the parents’ sense of empathy.” Say, “Do you mind asking him to stop kicking my seat? I’d love to take a nap.” If the child doesn’t stop shortly after your initial plea, kindly ask the adult if she would be willing to switch seats with the child.

Problem: You have to go to the bathroom, but your sleeping neighbor is blocking the way.
Solution: It may be tempting to climb over her while she’s snoozing, but you risk awkwardly straddling her as she wakes up. Instead, give her a gentle pat and say, “Excuse me.”

Problem: Your neighbor is hogging the shared the armrest.
Solution: If politely asking that he/she shares the armrest with you doesn’t work, wait for him/her to go to the bathroom and hold your position when he/she returns.

The best solution to avoid any altercation with co-passengers is to be courteous and respectful of other travelers and the flight attendants. Friendly behavior is contagious, so hopefully they will return the favor.


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