Delta Airlines is attempting to educate passengers on airplane etiquette to help them confront tense situations while at 35,000 feet.

Part of the problem is that airlines haven’t properly educated the public on what to expect aboard a plane, said Andrew R. Thomas, an assistant professor of international business at the University of Akron and an author of books on air travel and security. And growth in air travel has meant thousands of new passengers who have never been in the air, he said.

Being courteous to your fellow passengers in the air is no different than being considerate on the ground. There are some basic rules that we can all follow to make the experience of being jammed in a metal cylinder with 100 other people for hours more enjoyable.

  • Basic Hygiene – People on airplanes are paranoid about getting sick and are hyper germ-phobic. Most complaints I’ve heard are about people who don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneezing in the open. A set of tissues should be part of your small travel essentials so you don’t an awkward hand-of-snot to deal with. Add some hand sanitizer and not only will fellow passengers not be scared of you, but you’ll be less likely to get sick as well.

  • Limit The Amount You Chat – It’s a good idea to say “hi” to the person(s) you’ll be sitting next to before your flight takes off, but don’t talk their ears rotten. There are select groups of fliers just waiting to get off the ground before they sleep the entire flight away, those who are scared, and business people who could care less why you’re visiting your uncle Paulie. Of course there are exceptions so use your best judgment. If in doubt, stay quiet.
  • Say Please And Thank You – It always amazes me how so many air passengers treat flight crews. I can guarantee you will get much better service with these two words.
  • If You’re In The Aisle Seat Get Up From Time to Time – Even if you want to sleep from New York to Hong Kong, make sure you get up after meals, or occasionally so that the person sitting next to you can pee. Not only will you be doing their bladder a favor, you won’t get a face full of ass when they get up.
  • Guys, Yes She’s Hot But You’re Not Getting Any On This Flight – Being on the road doesn’t mean that every woman you run across is looking for a romp in first class. You’ll feel better by not being rejected by that cute blond in seat 32B and she’ll think you were that quiet shy romantic type. Let the flight end on that note, it’s better…really.
  • If You’re Obnoxious While Drunk On The Ground, You’ll Be That Way In The Air – Try to take it easy on drinking, but if you must avoid hard liquor. It makes your breath smell, burp (which you can’t easily control while you sleep), and turn red. Sitting by the window? Alcohol will get your bladder going annoying the kind person in the aisle seat who got up before they served dinner.
  • Maximize Your Space – This means not stuffing a huge bag under the seat in front of you, making room in the overhead bins, and not sleeping in the aisle.
  • Keep Your Gas In Check – If you’re lactose intolerant be aware of airplane meals, many of which contain dairy. It’s best to pre-order your meal (which you’ll get faster) and keep your engine from firing up. The same goes for everyone else, if spicy foods bring your butt to life, avoid them until you hit the run way. Make sure you avoid trouble foods in the airport right before your flight as well.
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The general rule to proper airline manners is common sense. Things that are rude on the ground are even ruder in the air, since people are tired and in a generally more agitated state. Being kind and considerate more importantly makes everyone’s flight and travel experience more enjoyable and will reduce your flight stress.

[photo by: Udaho]