When it comes to flying with several hundred people on an airplane, we have all been exposed to really rude fellow travelers.  It seems certain individuals are in their own little worlds and “to heck” with everyone around them.

Here are some tips to keep you calm and stress-free so you can fly the skies with an air of civility.

Be Prepared

  • Arrive early at the airport whenever possible, and anticipate the hassles that inevitably arise with air travel.  Bring along items and activities that keep you happy, whether it’s a favorite book, game or playlist, load up that iPod or notebook and don’t forget that back-up charger. This will help keep your stress levels down and your behavior on the up-and-up.
Waiting for his flight – will it be stress-free?

Engage in Conversation

  • Strike up a conversation with fellow passengers – but keep it casual and volume down. You never know you may meet a new friend. However, if you see tell-tale signs that the person is not interested in spending the entire flight in conversation; like fidgeting, looking away from you, opening a magazine, etc., back off – it’s time for you to look at a magazine or pull out your notebook.
Pleasant Passengers

Be Considerate

  • Remember you are a part of a community of passengers when you fly so please:
    • NO bare or stinky feet (giving yourself a pedicure at 39,000 feet is not OK!  And…just think what you may be stepping on – YUCK!) Try these travel socks for men and women instead. They’re lightweight and easy to put in your carry-on bag.
    • NO armrest straddling (the seats are small enough – try to stay in your own space).
    • NO pulling on the seat in front of you when you get up from your seat – the person in front of you may have been asleep.
    • recline your seat with consideration of the person behind you; that person may be trying to eat their meal.
    • NO rushing the exits – WHY? (Everyone will get off eventually and why get up, stand, drape yourself over the seat next to you and wait until your row exits? And…It’s almost impossible to retrieve carry-on bags from the overhead when everyone is jamming the aisles – so just be patient.)
What NOT to do on an airplane
courtesy of

NOTE: Be mindful of your behavior, you never know when someone may take a picture of you in a bad situation and put it on Facebook or Instagram. PassengerShaming is everywhere.


Babies cry – that is a fact of life. But you will find most mothers will try to calm their infant with a bottle, pacifier, or other means. An infant can’t tell Mama if the pressure is hurting their ears, so they get fussy. There are items specially made to comfort babies such as special design pacifiers, blankets, and how about toys for first-time flyers.

Toddlers and Older Children

Remember, I’m a Grandmother and a Great-grandmother and I have a pretty high tolerance level for fussy children, however, it bothers me when parents allow their children to continue with their bad behavior to the annoyance of fellow travelers.

What’s wrong with this picture? Courtesy of Shutterstock

This child looks scared without a thing to distract him – look in his lap – nothing there! Hey, Mom, get a clue. Provide children with their own carry-on that has several of their favorite items to keep them busy. Or, a day or two before your flight, take them to a Dollar Store to select their own activity items then ask them to pack them in their own bag, it makes them feel important. There are amazing toy sets made especially to keep children entertained while traveling and what about drawing and stencil sets for that “artist in training”. You can always keep these as a surprise gift to give to the child as a perfect treat after you are on the plane. A zip-lock baggy can also be a wonderful “treasure trove” of items to keep the child happy. Don’t forget snacks and drinks in a box.

I remember giving a little crying boy, about four years old, a small notepad and pen I had in my purse and asked him to write where he was going on his trip. He looked at me strangely then started to scribble on each page until he got bored and fell asleep. It stopped his fussing and his mother thanked me!

An item I recently found that is perfect for traveling children that love to listen to story-telling or music is this iClever headband earphones for boys and girls. No problem if they fall asleep with this on – it will even keep their ears warm on a cold airplane. Don’t forget a small, comfortable blanket.

Pre-teens and Restless Teenagers

A carefree young girl annoying the passenger in front by pushing his seat.

Maybe this young lady acts like this at home, but she should be told and taught how to act in public without bothering others around her. (At least she kept her shoes on.) I don’t think it wrong to ask the young lady to stop kicking the seat and singing out loud. She should first be told by her parents, then by the person in front of her, and finally by a flight attendant. If that doesn’t work, ask the flight attendant if you can change your seat; they are very accommodating if seats are available. All of this isn’t going to change how this kid acts, but at least if you are able to change your seat or the seat of the disrupting “teeny bopper”, then you can ride the rest of the flight in peace.

Oh, No! Someone Has Been Drinking

A passenger arrives, staggering down the aisle and plops down in the seat next to you. You can tell this person has been drinking and has had a few too many. Maybe they have had a very rough day or has a fear of flying and must drink to even get on the plane – that is NOT your problem. The best thing you can do is put on your headphones and put your nose into your notepad to read a book or watch a movie. Hopefully, this person will pass out soon, then you can enjoy the rest of your flight. Assuming they don’t slouch over and lean on your shoulder – YIKES! Of course, if the person gets loud, belligerent and obnoxious, let the flight attendant know and perhaps the person will be asked to move or they will move you to another seat.

A Word About Flight Attendants

Keep in mind that flight attendants must care for the well-being of everyone on an airplane. Give each of them a nice smile and “hello” when you board. If you have a question or request during the flight, be courteous. When disembarking, smile again and say “thank you”. It will go a long way!!

Give Them A Smile Back

Handicapped or Disabled Travelers

When you see a handicapped or disabled traveler, use a little kindness and ask if you can help in any way. My son-in-law is a double amputee and in a wheelchair and I know how difficult it is for him to maneuver from his wheelchair into the wheelchair made to fit the aisle of an airplane, then swing himself into his seat and hopefully he wouldn’t have to get up again until it is time to disembark. He never travels without my daughter, but there are times they could use an extra hand. He never wants pity, but they appreciate the offer of help.

If We Work Together and Be Kind To Each Other, We Can Have A Happy and Safe Flight

Here’s to “A World of Joy“.

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