If You Break Any Of These Rules During A Flight, You Are Probably An As*hole

by Samantha Angoletta
izusek / iStock

Let’s talk about airplane etiquette for a minute, shall we?

One might assume this is self-explanatory, but that person likely doesn’t have the internet and/or has never traveled on an airplane.

Because, damn, it’s like we need to file a petition that demands that airlines include a pamphlet in the seat pocket, just like the oxygen mask instructions. A flight attendant will direct you toward it before takeoff, with a quick mention like “Please remember to keep your feet off the armrest, and try to hold in your Chipotle gas until you make into the nearest bathroom, and if you have any additional questions, please see the ‘Code of Conduct’ pamphlet located in your seat pocket.”

I mean, there are times where we obviously have to have some grace. Kids cry, and we can’t blame parents for a child’s unpredictable emotions. People have gastrointestinal issues that may prevent them from making it to the confines of the bathroom stall before releasing the Kraken. I get it. We are humans, we are flawed, and sometimes shit (literally and figuratively) happens.

But I think we can all agree that we should try to follow these simple guidelines while in the air:

1. Keep Your Damn Feet on the Floor

How many times are folks going to go viral for lamenting their horror at having to travel with someone’s bare feet propped up on their armrest? There is a reason people are so quick to share these stories, because they keep happening and they gross everyone the fuck out. Socks or no socks, we are not that close, and you are in major violation of someone else’s personal space. Feet. on. the. floor.

2. No Clipping Toenails and Fingernails

This can wait, folks! This can certainly wait. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to be sprinkled with your nail clippings and cuticle niblets. Are you kidding me? How is this a thing that happens on planes? Knock it off.

3. No Manspreading

No, sir, not today. We each paid for a designated space, and while that space may be tiny and crowded, you don’t get to encroach on everyone else to make yourself more comfortable. Stay in your lane. Knees together.

4. Limit Farting

Now listen, as previously stated, I realize that this isn’t always a possibility for a variety of reasons. But if you can help it, then you should at least make a valid attempt at relaxing that sphincter in the bathroom. There is no way for people to escape the smell. We are literally trapped. And when it’s rapid fire and the air doesn’t even have the time to be properly recycled before you blast us all again, it can make life hell for everyone else. Give it the ol’ college try before letting it loose among the general population, please.

5. Headphones Are a Must

This is not your bedroom. You can’t just blast your music and videos and TV shows and force everyone else to listen to your selections. That’s not how this works. You bring headphones, or you pay a few bucks and snag some from the flight attendant, or you find something else to do with your time. Don’t be ridiculous.

6. Ask Before Reclining Your Seat

And also accept when your fellow passenger politely tells you “no” because their knees are already touching the back of your seat, and they literally have no room to move. Or they may be enjoying a snack. Or have a hot beverage resting on their tray. You don’t get to just recline back into someone else’s lap so you can snooze. They paid for their space; you paid for yours. Bring a neck pillow next time.

7. Don’t Talk Rudely to the Flight Attendant

Just don’t. I know you have probably had a long day, and you’re tired, and maybe something bad has happened in your life and you haven’t come to terms with it yet, but that’s not the flight attendant’s fault. So reel it in, and treat them with respect.

8. Cover Your Cough

Does this actually need to be said? Unfortunately, yes, it does. Coughs linger, and sometimes your virus is well past its contagious stages, but the hacking cough has yet to clear up. Doesn’t matter. Hook an elbow and cough into that little fold in your arm. Contagious or not, nobody around you wants to be misted with your spittle and germs because that is nasty as hell. We have no idea what you’ve got going on, so cover your mouth like a civilized human being.

9. Don’t Get Pissed Off Because Babies Exist

Babies and young children are people too. They have the right to fly and be human on the flight. Part of being human for young children is having emotional outbursts at times. Kids do not come with an on/off switch, so we don’t get to decide when they are happy, sad, angry, or tired. Do not stare down the parent who is struggling or make snide comments. You will simply look like an out-of-touch, uncaring asshole. I’ve seen plenty of adults acting foolish, rude, and obnoxious on flights, so maybe you should take your feet off the armrest, put in some headphones, and CTFD, bro.

Like so many things in this world, most of these can be boiled down to the universal rule: Don’t be a dick. Act right. If you see someone struggling, help them. If you can lend a hand, go for it. If you can keep your dirty feet off the back of my arm while flying? Even better.