8 Tips For Putting the Class Back In Economy Class

Etiquette tips for the modern traveler

For many people, travel has become casual and commonplace — a means to an end. As a result, people act and dress accordingly. Sadly, I wasn’t around for the golden years of travel, but I wish flying was still a formal affair: dressing to the nines, sipping champagne out of a crystal flute and eating a 3-course meal with actual silverware. Unfortunately, unless you are flying Singapore Air’s All-Business Class A340, those days are gone, but it doesn’t mean we can’t take cues from a time when etiquette was to air travel as passports are to border crossing — essential.

Lend A Helping Hand

If you’re able, offer to help someone who is struggling to get their bag up or down from the overhead bin. Note: carry-on suitcases fit best wheels out and down. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/missmoney)

Embrace Your Personal Space

Share the armrest with the person beside you. It’s generally accepted the person in the middle seat gets both armrests, since the outside seats have a little more space. As for the seatback in front of you, kickboxing and tray slapping won’t make you any friends.

Potty Breaks

On most flights, you can pre-select seats, so if you like to stay hydrated on the plane, choose an aisle seat for the likelihood of frequent trips to the on-board facilities. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/brendan wilkinson)

Go ‘Sole’ Searching

Your feet might not be stinky to you, but the rest of the plane may disagree. If you must remove your shoes, bring along a pair of washable slippers (like the ones hotels give out) to wear instead.

Talk Time

Sure, check your emails when you land (or in-flight if you’re lucky enough to have Wi-Fi), but don’t call everyone under the sun the second the seat belt sign goes off. Unless you’re JLo, nobody wants to hear about your personal life as they wait like sardines to deplane.

Smells Like Roses

Watch the amount of perfume, cologne, or lotion you apply before boarding. Like the famous “Sex Panther” cologne-gone-bad scene from Anchorman, in close proximity, others could be allergic or impartial to the scent. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/[martin])

In The Still Of The Night

I know, you don’t like being told what to do, but when the flight attendants ask everyone to lower their window shades, the three people who don’t oblige ruin the movie for everyone.


Plane bathrooms are cramped and icky. Try to make a negative into a positive by cleaning and lowering the toilet seat, and draining the sink for the next passenger.


(Photo courtesy of Flickr/lizstless)