Dos and Don’ts on Your Next Flight

Dos and Don’ts on Your Next Flight

Mr. Faultier has already started planning flights for Christmas, which has got me thinking about air travel. Over the past several years, I’ve been flying a lot more, and I think I’ve been able to put together a tidy list of Dos and Don’ts (without apostrophes, don’t use apostrophes for pluralization) for making your trip go a bit smoother.

Do stay hydrated

I’ve given this tip before, it’s that important. Headaches and nosebleeds are not fun when you’re stuck in a pressurized, metal tube hurtling thousands of meters over the ocean. Trust me, I’ve experienced both. Hoarding the tiny water bottles and bringing your own large bottle to refill after security are both solid options. Just remember to empty out any bottles you want to keep if you have to go through security for a connecting flight. You are allowed to bring bottles, just not liquids – at least at all the airports I’ve been through.

Water Hoarding
I drank a lot of water on our KLM flight.

Don’t demand crazy things from your flight attendant

Flight attendants are wonderful. They bring you food and drinks, do what they can to keep you comfortable, and will try to save your life in an emergency. However, they are not somehow simultaneously your servant and all-powerful.

Things flight attendants can do:

  • Provide you with snacks and drinks – sometimes complimentary, sometimes not. That depends on your airline, not the flight attendant.
  • Provide you with headphones on flights with in-flight entertainment.
  • Provide you with paracetamol/acetaminophen when you’re a dummy and don’t follow the first rule. This may depend on the airline.

Things flight attendants cannot do:

  • Make that baby stop crying.
  • Make the plane fly faster.
  • Delay your connecting flight so that you don’t miss it.

Do be polite

Everyone has a better time when people are nice. People are nicer when they’re having a better time. It’s a happy, positive feedback loop. Try to start one.

Don’t leave your trash all over the place

Remember when I said the flight attendants are not your servants. Yes part of their job is keeping the plane clean, but you’re a jerk if you make that more difficult. On all the flights I’ve been on, an attendant has come through after each meal and before landing to collect trash. Give it to them then, when they have their gloves and bag ready! Also, there is a this thing called a trash can helpfully located in the bathroom. If you follow the first rule, which you should, you will likely have to use the bathroom at some point. Why don’t you take your trash with you then?

I get a little ragey whenever I leave a plane and walk past a row of seats that has magazines and tissues and crumbs and food wrappers strewn all over the seats and floor. You had multiple opportunities to clean up after yourself.

Airplane Bathroom Trash Can
You can put your trash here!
Source: Jason Lander, Cropped by me

Do always choose the pasta

You might think that the chicken, beef, or (god forbid) fish option actually sounds quite good on some particular flight. It’s not better than the pasta. It’s never better than pasta. You will regret it. The absolute worst the pasta can be is bland, but it is always, at the very least, more filling than your other options. If you are really concerned about plane food, you can check out a review I wrote about the food I ate during my worst travel experience.

The Pasta
Bonus Tip: If you’re polite and ask for a full can, the flight attendant will likely give you one.

Don’t take up more than your share of overhead space

I’ve figured out how to make the following rant collapsible, for your convenience. If you somehow don’t understand my problem, please open the rant and read. If you are a reasonable person, feel free to continue on to the next point.

Rant Time
For the love of god, stick to your baggage allowance. Mr. Faultier travels quite light, so for our last trip, he could fit all of his things under his seat. We needed just one overhead compartment slot between the two of us for my suitcase, which despite the ever shrinking limits, is appropriately sized for our airline. Like actually appropriately sized, not “appropriately” sized. But was there room for it anywhere near our seat? Nope! Not with all the coats and duty free purchases. Even though we needed one overhead slot – which I wish were divided and numbered to match your seat – I had to go several rows back to find one. This disrupts the flow of leaving the plane! I wasn’t going to fight the crowd back to the compartment (which is rude and counterproductive), so Mr. Faultier and I stood, hunched over in our row until some kind fellow passenger got it down for me on their way out.

Now, I am not without sin. I have tried to bring on a too-big bag before. I was naïve, and the tag called it a cabin bag. Maybe several years ago it was, but not anymore! But Lufthansa doesn’t play, and a gate agent spotted it before I got on the plane and made me gate check it. And because I’m not an [expletive], I paid to check it on the way back rather than trying to sneak it through.

You get one small suitcase-sized spot per person. That is it. If you coat and laptop bag don’t fit on top of your suitcase, they don’t go in the overhead compartment! At least, not until everyone has had a chance to claim their spot. If everyone has boarded, and there is still space – go crazy! Just sit down when the flight attendants tell you to.

If you are one of those people who put your luggage in the first compartment you see, regardless of where you sit because you think you’ll somehow get off of the plane faster, I have some choice words for you. I will not write them here, however, because my mom reads this.

Overhead Bin
Source: Michael Coté, Cropped by me

Do choose an exit row if leg space is important to you

Disclaimer: There are requirements for sitting in the exit row, and you must be willing to perform exit row duties in the case of an emergency. Mr. Faultier and I are relatively healthy, English-speaking adults, which qualifies us for most exit seats. These seats are glorious, because Mr. Faultier can spread out his legs (he’s a giant), and I can easily get in and out of my window seat without disturbing him. Then I can drink even more water and go to the bathroom as much as I want.

Leg Space in JAL Exit Row
We sat in the exit row on our flight back from Japan. It was glorious.

Finally, do what you can to relax or, alternatively, don’t stress out!

Once you are in the air, everything is out of your control. It’s better to channel your energy into keeping yourself occupied and comfortable. See my other post for some entertainment suggestions. Any issues from the ground are now beyond your reach. Flight was delayed and you might not make your connection? Literally nothing you can do about it in the air. Nothing. Save your energy and patience for when you are on the ground, so that you can run to the next gate or schedule a new flight.

And by “on the ground”, I mean out of the plane. Don’t fight to get off. Several other people are also stressed about their next flight, and trying to cut past people is not only incredibly rude, but is just slowing down the whole process for everyone. So just chill, you’ll get there eventually.


If you like reading about travel, check out all my travel posts here.

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