Travel Guide: Air Travel Etiquette

Travel Guide Air Travel Etiquette Title Card

It’s not the destination but the journey. This is what we are told most when it comes to travelling. When we travel we meet people from different cultures and ways of life. This is why, we must keep to something that we all know, that we should always be polite when travelling. No man is an island, and if you want to have a good time, make sure to keep these points handy.

Children bring joy to our lives, and little ones only add to our happiness. However, when you are travelling, kids may be a tad tricky. The difference with air travel is that a lot of people are put in a very small amount of space, and this may sometimes cause friction, especially on long haul flights. If you can afford it, try to get some earplugs for the two rows sitting in front, around and behind you. Also, if your kids are old enough, provide them with some candy to counter the air pressure.

Late night or early morning flights can always be tiresome, where people are mostly trying to save the time and money. Most of the time, when people get on these flights, all they really want is to get to their destination in the quickest way possible, and that way really is… sleeping. This is where a little courtesy goes a long way. Try not to have loud conversations while people around you are trying to nap, especially if they look tired. If you have to talk, try lowering the tone of your voice, we’re not saying you should just be quiet for the whole trip, but just try to be considerate. I’m sure you would appreciate it too if you were in their position.

What goes in must go out, and this is why we can never avoid toilet breaks. The thing about nature is that when it calls, you have no choice but to answer, so maybe you can take some steps to prevent this. If you know that you have a small bladder, try booking aisle seats when purchasing a ticket. This will save you a lot of inconvenience when flying. And if you forgot when buying a ticket, try to negotiate your way into getting an aisle seat explaining the situation. You might just get your way, and save the hassle of the person assigned with the aisle seat.

As people, we are not used to being put in small confined spaces, so we should make the best of a tricky situation. Try to talk to the person beside you if you’re on a long haul flight and flying alone, but know when to back down if they are reluctant. Every person has a story, and sometimes they just could be genuinely tired, or maybe just an introvert. Always remember, a little patience goes a long way.

Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic and drinks writer and is the editor of independent publication Food For Thought. He has been a freelance journalist for the 15 years and has previously worked as a lawyer and in digital marketing. He currently is the Principal Consultant of A Thought Full Consultancy, a food and beverage marketing consultancy.


  1. There are many inconsiderate passenger. I could say selfish just for their comfort and forget about others too pay the same amount of money to board this plane. I experienced on my recent trip back from Japan on ANA. Bear in mine it was on Dreamliner plane. No matter how big or good the plane is all about people who board the plane.

    • Yeah, sometimes just a small gesture goes a long way. It’s just about being a little bit more considerate to those around you.

  2. Best way, give the child a small sip of whiskey mixed in their orange juice and they’ll knock off for the whole trip. :p *might not be recommended to most family unless you have super hyperactive monsters like mine*

    • Haha. Giving children whiskey, hmmmm, different folks, different strokes. I’ve heard of this before but I’ve never seen anyone do it. Interesting.

  3. yeah… same feeling. some passenger really need to read ur sharing – air travel etiquette . so that, they know how to be better while travelling too.

    • Share it to people you know would benefit from this. I think some first time parents will be able to take something away from this.

  4. Hope everyone read this and apply the travel etiquette. Then there will be a pleasant journey for all.

  5. Totally agree with you. We just wish to take a nap. Hope everyone be a considerate passenger.

  6. hahaha .. I remember chatting with a passenger who sat next to me. we chatted while eating until reach the destination. full stomach and useful info from her

    • That why sometimes its good to have a friendly chat, especially if some of the flights are a little longer.

  7. Ah, if only everyone is so considerate. I have met bad Chinaman travellers speak with loud noise and watch TV on iPad without plug in earphone! So annoying :S

    • Haha. Well, I think there are all sorts of noisy people, just have to bear with it! 🙂

  8. agree travel with kids not easy. Once my toddler opening his own seat belt. Ahh… panic for parents!

    • That sounds like it can be a bit of a scare. Toddlers at that age are the most difficult to control.

  9. Sorry to say, I do find children can get pretty annoying. Parents need to play a huge role on this though. Hehehe…..

  10. Thanks for sharing. I do know that travelling with kids not easy. And for first time parents they usually have trouble to calm their children. I was hoping parents could be more well prepared and other travelers could be little bit more considerate.

    • Yeah, I have had instances where I see first time parents having trouble keeping their children calm, especially during lift off and they don’t know how to deal with the change in air pressure. I find candy and chewing gum helps. 🙂

  11. Thanks for sharing this information and tips. I have encountered bad etiquette person on flight before just cant do much and hope that they will changed.

  12. Patience is a great etiquette to have on the plane Nicholas. I do have to agree on how sometimes some people can be rather inconsiderate of this fact. Cheers to the share though, it was very well written 🙂

    • Thanks Shivani. Just wanted to make it easier for people who might not realise these things. Hope it helps!

  13. Somehow I don’t have a problem getting a nap on the flight, so I am ok with all these tricky situation, except for the crying kids lol. Anyway, thanks for your info. Learn something 🙂

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