Travel Etiquettes: Keeping those friendly skies, friendly!

by Mindy Lockard on March 9, 2011

Airplane flight - view from the seat

Today we are joined by the fantastic Diane Gottsman of The Protocol School of Texas!  Diane is sharing some of her favorite tips to helping all of us stay friendly as we take to the skies!  Happy travel Gracious Girls!  To hear more from Ms. Gottsman on this fantastic issue, watch her in action here.  Tomorrow I will be over at her blog talking about tricks and tips for Spring Break road trips!


Spring break and summer fun is just around the corner and travelling has never been more “exciting” (and by that I mean everything from fun for the kids to nerve-racking for professionals trying to get from point A to point B unscathed, de-frazzled and headache-free). Here are a few simple etiquette tips to get you where you are going with minimal hair loss and emotional trauma.

1.  Purchase your ticket using the same name that is on your driver’s license or personal identification. Showing up with a drivers license donning a different hair cut and color and your maiden name on the drivers license is going to cause a delay for your and those waiting in line behind you.

2.  Arrive early and plan to wait. It’s a very real possibility that you will encounter hiccups along the way. Anticipate.

3.  Invest in zip lock bags and use them for all your liquid containers. You’ll spare yourself any messes in your suitcase and you’ll make it easy on yourself and others if you need to pull them from your carry-on luggage.

4.  Be ready to disrobe: belts, jewelry, coats and shoes. Don’t even think of challenging security if they ask you to “step to the right.”

5.  Alert your credit card company that you will be travelling, unless you want to run the risk of having your card suspended until they investigate whether your card has been stolen.

6.  Turn your cell phone off on the plane at the appropriate time. It is terribly rude to keep talking on the phone after the flight attendant has requested you turn your cell phone off.

7.  Don’t move other passengers’ luggage to another storage bin, even if you have a talent for making everything “fit.” Find a vacant space for your overhead bag.

8.  Be polite to parents travelling with small kids. Refrain from rolling your eyes and crossing your fingers as a lively family of five passes your aisle.

9.  Be considerate of fellow passengers. It’s important to keep your child’s feet away from the back of the seat in front of her. Also, refrain from reading over your neighbors shoulder and trying to start a conversation with someone who is clearly not interested in socializing (hint: headphones mean “please leave me alone”).

9.  If someone asks to trade seat to be next to a family member, oblige them, especially if it is the same seat (aisle or window) on another row.

10.  Frequent bathroom flyer? Always ask for an aisle seat! And remember to stop by the restroom before you get on the plane.

11.  It’s not your job to wake your neighbor up when the drink cart arrives. Leave it up to the discretion of the flight attendant to decide who gets the nudge.

12.  Don’t carry on strong smelling foods. Tuna and salmon salad are not great traveling companions.

13.  Wait your turn to depart from the plane. Bolting from the back of the plane to get out first is absolutely unnecessary and may result in someone offering you a disparaging remark.

14.  Thank the flight attendants. Manners still matter.

15.  Check the nametag on your luggage before leaving the terminal. Black bags look eerily familiar so make sure you have tagged yours with a unique ID. Tie on a colorful ribbon or distinct tag to easily identify yours. This is also a good idea for carry-on luggage, especially the black wheeled bags that everyone seems to have. Grabbing the wrong bag is a sure way to complicate a trip.

Happy travels and enjoy your vacation.

diane-gottsman-2Diane Gottsman is a nationally recognized etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in corporate etiquette training. Diane is also the author of Pearls of Polish, an etiquette guide for today’s busy woman. Diane is a sought after industry expert regularly featured on several morning television shows and has been quoted in national publications such as The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Glamour, NPR and the Chicago Tribune.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Diane Gottsman 03.16.11 at 12:16 pm

Mindy, thank you so much for being such a gracious host. It was my pleasure to partner with you and I look forward to future projects. Best, Diane

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