Top Airplane Travel Mistakes
Top mistakes travelers make on airplanes, and what to do instead.
When traveling on an airplane, travelers want their flight to be as easy and smooth as possible. Many passengers, however, are new to flying, and don’t know the social norms on an airplane just yet.
Additionally, other passengers are frequent travelers, and choose to ignore these rules, making the flight much more stressful for other travelers and flight attendants.
This list will give you some of the top airplane travel mistakes, so you are not that guy on the plane making everyone miserable. Some of these might seem like common sense, but you would be surprised what you will find people doing on the plane!
You may also want to read this list of ways to get through long flights!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Taking your time getting on/off the airplane
Top airplane travel mistake number one!
Many passengers like to take their sweet time getting on or off the airplane. Getting passengers seated quickly is key to keeping the flight on time, and getting you to your destination as quickly as possible.
Have your ticket out and available, so you know exactly where your seat is. It should not take you 5 minutes to find your seat. The rows are numbered. Come on people. Find your seat and sit down.
A tip for getting on the plane quickly is to carry your luggage instead of rolling it through the aisles. Suitcases easily get caught on the armrests, or don’t fit perfectly through the aisles.
If it is too heavy and you cannot carry it, roll your suitcase in front of you, instead of dragging it behind you. This way, you will be able to see it get caught or stuck, and fix is quickly!
Here is a list of great carry on items to keep all your things together!
Additionally, the same thing goes when getting off the plane. Have all of your belongings ready to go when it’s time for your row to leave.
You knew the plane landed. You know you are getting off soon. Be ready, and get off. Some people have connecting flights and don’t have time for you to dilly dally!
Cutting the exit line... Unless you have a connecting flight
While it is advised passengers leave the aircraft as soon as possible, please do not cut the line. Typically, when the doors open, travelers will leave the airplane one row at a time, from front to back.
Don’t try to get off quicker, or quickly stand in the row to “claim your space” in the line. This only complicates the process.
However, if you have a connecting flight that is quickly approaching, you can violate this rule. But, kindly tell those around you that you have a flight leaving in X amount of minutes, and you need to get off the plane. Most passengers will understand and let you cut the line.
However, we have found these rules to be different around the world. This rule tends to hold true in the US, but many international flights we have been on as been chaos. Everyone fends for themselves, and runs for the exit. If this happens to you, stay calm. Everyone gets off the plane eventually!
Misusing the overhead bins
Don’t be that guy who puts all their belongings spread out in the overhead bin.
The overhead bins should really be able to hold 3 small suitcases. There is no need to put your jacket, your purse, etc. in there. Those things can go under the seat in front of you.
This is very important because if there is no more room in the overhead bins, some passengers might have to pay extra to check their bags, and that only slows down the boarding process.
Additionally, do not place items in the overhead bin that you will need access to throughout the flight.
No one likes someone getting up 5 times during the flight to get something from the bin. There are exceptions to this, of course, like if you have children.
Also, refrain from closing the overhead bin, even if full. The flight attendants know the best way to pack the bins, so they may do some rearranging. They will close the bins when they are done rearranging.
Using bathroom during boarding/landing/takeoff
I understand maybe you have small children, you got to the airport later than expected, or you had a short layover.
Sometimes you just gotta go! However, try to refrain from using the bathroom during boarding, takeoff, or landing.
Especially during the last two, as it can be dangerous. Boarding is also a poor time to use the bathroom, as you might be trying to push past people going the opposite direction in the aisle to get to the bathroom. This will slow down the boarding process, inevitable making you late to your destination.
Use the bathroom at the airport before you board the airplane. The bathroom will be cleaner, anyway! If you must use the bathroom to freshen up, check out this awesome personal health pouch!
Asking to switch seats
Asking to switch seats is not a huge problem during flights, but it can annoy people. This happened to us once, where we were lucky enough to have a row of 4 seats to ourselves on an international flight- jackpot right?! This mom and her tween bratty daughter kept eyeing us up wanting our seats the ENTIRE flight, and it got to be quite annoying.
This problem can be easily solved by booking your seat ahead of time- duh!
Most airlines will provide you will a map of the seats, and you can select where you want to sit. However, there is often an upcharge. But, most of the time the airlines try to keep you and your party together, so be sure to check in early for the best possible chances of this.
You can also use this website which gives you airline seat maps for any flight!
This is especially annoying for flight attendants and other passengers during the boarding process.
If you want to switch seats, wait until everyone has settled down, see if there are any empty seats, then move there if you wish.
Abusing the call button
Just a rule of thumb: the flight attendant call button should be used only for emergencies.
Flight attendants are very busy, and do not have time to attend to every passengers tiny needs. Especially during boarding, take off, or landing- do not use this button unless it is an absolute emergency. Your need for a pillow or blanket can wait until a more safe and calm time.
If you really need something, wait until the plane has taken off, and the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign. This doesn’t take too long, and it is a courteous thing to do for your flight crew. Chances are, the flight attendants will come around at some point with whatever it is that you are asking for!
Another rule of thumb, refrain from asking flight crew about the weather or time at your upcoming destination. If you really want to know, just look it up on your phone before or after the flight!
Not putting your phone on airplane mode
Using airplane mode during flights may be becoming a thing of the past, however many planes still have this as a rule. Don’t try to sneak an extra few minutes of phone time.
Chances are what you are doing is not important anyway, like checking in on facebook, or uploading your airplane window wing picture to your instagram.
When you are on an airplane, you need to follow their rules. The flight attendant should not have to come around and tell you 3 times before you comply.
Plus, it is rude and disrespectful to the flight crew! Follow the rules, so you can get to your destination on time!
Walking around with no shoes
I get it, I take my shoes off on the plane too. However, if you need to use the restroom or just get up to stretch- put your shoes on!
There is no reason you cannot put your shoes back on. Plus, it is gross! The airplane floor has probably seen every type of bodily fluid and germ imaginable. If you want to stay comfy and its the middle of the night on a red-eye, at least wear some comfy slippers.
Another note about not wearing shoes: if you can smell your feet, so can the entire plane. Be mindful of your odor and be respectful of those around you. No on wants to sit next to a smelly person on a long flight!
Using the armrest in front of you as a footrest
This might be the first on the list of top airplane travel mistakes.
First of all, gross! Second, this is very disrespectful to the passenger in front of you. The armrests in front of you are NOT yours, and you should not use them for your feet.
Some people think they can put their feet on the back of the armrest, since the passenger isn’t using it anyway. No one was a stranger’s foot next to them. Just don’t do it.
Instead, consider getting one of these airplane foot rests! It fits over the tray table at your seat, and gives your feet a little hammock to rest on. It is small and easily packable, so there is really no excuse for your feet to invade others areas.
If you need some other ideas to make your airplane seat more comfortable, here are some other ideas!
Not wiping your tray table
Airplane tray tables are full of germs, as they rarely get cleaned. In fact, they are the dirtiest place on an airplane, even more than the bathroom!
Flight crews do a quick clean of the plane in between flights, but they do not have the time to sanitize every tray table.
Eating smelly food
This is a top airplane travel mistake. It is very common to bring your own food and snacks onto an airplane, and I am not telling you not to do this. In fact, you SHOULD bring your own food!
However, be mindful of the food you are bringing. Think fish, onions, tuna, eggs, bananas… That will easily stink up the entire plane and create some angry passengers!
Additionally, be mindful of bringing peanut butter on an airplane. If you are eating something with nuts, it might be a good idea to ask those sitting near you if they are allergic!
Speaking of smells, be mindful if you are a smoker as well. Many people do not like this smell, or are allergic. Do a quick wash up before boarding the plane to be respectful of those around you!
Thank you for reading top airplane travel mistakes. By following these unofficial rules, you will make a better neighbor on your flight, and keep those around you happier! Traveling can be stressful as it is, so try not to make it worse by breaking one of these rules! If you have any additional tips, please leave them in the comments section below!