What does an 8:30 AM Tequila Sunrise and hardcore people watching for 4 hours have in common? They are both 100% acceptable things to do in airport culture. From that first step through the doors at the departing terminal until the moment you get home, you might as well be in a parallel universe where chugging Tequila first thing in the morning is not only accepted, but welcome… and needed.
There’s nothing that makes a seasoned traveler want to grab a drink more than having to deal with inexperienced people who are oblivious to the rules of airport and airplane etiquette. From social habits – staring at complete strangers, sitting at a bar and drinking in complete silence while being surrounded by strangers, running like a lunatic with giant suitcases trailing behind you – to language (gate but not the kind around your yard, terminal but not referring to an illness, TSA, first class, etc.) the culture inside any airport is very different than the outside world. If you want to fit in and make it appear like you are a regular at your local airport, follow the below traveling bible.
The 10 pillars of airport/airplane religion:
Thou shall arrive at the airport 2 hours before your plane departs
Thou shall not wear excessive amounts of jewelry, accessories, belts, or hard-to-remove shoes
Thou shall pack your carry-on and personal items strategically with TSA and security checks in mind
Thou shall leave empty seats and spaces between yourself and others when waiting for your flight
Thou shall not wear heavy perfume/cologne/lotion/soap so as not to spread your scent to others
Thou shall not mouth breathe or fart on the plane
Thou shall not disturb those around you – to include listening to movies/videos loudly on your phone/tablet, talking loudly, and/or playing music openly without headphones
Thou shall move over if there are empty seats in your row on the airplane and someone is sitting next to you
Thou shall get out of everyone’s goddamn way if you are not rushing and can afford the luxury of walking slow
Thou shall respect the rules of airplane etiquette
RESPECT THE RULES OF AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE. Let’s dive a little deeper into this one.
Airplane etiquette… The bane of my fucking existence. For everyone’s sanity, please don’t be that person who –
Is in row 22, standing in the middle of the aisle as if it will make the people in first class move faster. Sit down and give the people in front of you the space they need to get their belongings and start moving.
Splays out and takes up your neighbors’ leg room, the arm rests, and precious inches of the seats next to you. Unless you are squished in the middle seat, you don’t need two arm rests. You get the arm rest that is on the outsides of the row, either the window side or the aisle side. Let the poor soul in the middle have two arm rests. If you have long legs, switch with the people in your row if possible and try to sit in the aisle so you can stretch your legs out that way.
Needs to use the bathroom as soon as they board or as soon as we land. Do not wait until you get on the plane to go to the bathroom because you will hold up the ENTIRE boarding process when you try to return to your seat. Don’t wait the entire plane ride to use the bathroom and then argue with the flight attendants when they tell you to sit down because we are about to land.
Uses the overhead space to store a jacket, instead of putting it under the seat in front of them. We all know the overhead space is limited. We all know that having to check bags is a pain in the ass, expensive, could potentially result in lost luggage, and creates extra wait time at the end of your journey when you get to the baggage claim carrousel.
With these things in mind, we all know that people are going to try their damndest to fit whatever they possibly can into the overhead bins. Don’t be the person who takes up precious cargo space just because you don’t want to maximize the storage space available to you on an airplane.
Be a clean, respectful and quiet human being that stays out of peoples way and appreciates the value of space and time when traveling.