Jet-iquette: how NOT to be an annoying plane passenger

No-one wants to hear your iPad, or touch your elbows, or smell your feet during a flight, writes Anna Hart

02 December 2018 - 00:03 By Anna Hart

Last week I was seated between a passenger who flossed his teeth after the meal service and a passenger blaring loud video clips on his phone. Please provide a set of rules for in-flight manners, which I can pass out to the rest of my row next time I fly.
I understand your despair. In the century since the first commercial flight, flights have become less like glamorous high-society parties in the sky, and now resemble shabby student flats on a hung-over Sunday. We've lost the dinner jackets and clinks of martini glasses; they've been replaced by stray grubby sports socks and dog-eared copies of Heat magazine. And when we lose glamour, we lose good manners and decorum, too.
Glamour, in essence, is a visual cue to behave a little bit better, to bring the best versions of ourselves into the arena. Alas, there is little glamour to be found in economy class these days, and that's where firm, fixed rules of etiquette come into play. Jet-iquette, if you like.
For long-haul flights, comfortable sportswear is permissible but if you're going to dress like a slob, you need to ensure you don't smell like a slob, talk like a slob, or eat like a slob. Bare feet aren't acceptable and neither are shabby socks; if you remove your shoes, have a dapper pair of flight socks to hand.
Treat airline staff like hosts, not staff. They have invited you to this peculiar party in the sky, and the more enthusiasm and gratitude you can muster, the more miniature bottles of merlot they'll bestow upon you.
Smile and politely greet the passengers in the same row as you as you take your seat. Despite the indignities of security, you are not entering prison and making eye-contact will not get you shivved in the shower.
In a utopian society, we'd all politely ask the passenger behind us beforehand if they object to us reclining our seat, to which they would respond, "Not a jot, thanks for asking, comrade."
But in these savage times, there's a chance they actually will object. I settle for reclining the seat gently and slowly, and never during meal times.
Treat armrests as seat-dividers and if you place your elbow on it, ensure there's space for your neighbour to do the same.
It is never acceptable to subject your fellow passengers to sounds from your phone or iPad; parents, this applies to kids' games, too. Keep it muted or wear headphones.
Yes, you might have just slept in alarming proximity to your fellow passengers, but they are not your university roommates. Accordingly, any grooming rituals beyond that of a swift comb of your hair or smearing of face cream should be conducted behind the closed doors of the lavatory. - The Sunday Telegraph

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