Despite being famed for our manners, KAYAK‘s latest survey reveals that all sense of British etiquette goes out the window as soon as the seat belt signs are switched off.
Our research, a OnePoll survey of over 1000 UK travellers, reveals Brits’ biggest bugbears when flying. Personal space is shown to be an area of irritation, with people reclining without permission annoying more than half of travellers (55%), and armrest hoggers getting under the skin of two in five (40%). Noise is also a nuisance, with pet peeves driving Brits to distraction including overly chatty passengers (51%), crying and misbehaving children (45%), music playing through headphones (33%), and snoring (21%). The research reveals that 16% of people admit to dispensing with pleasantries and ignoring their neighbour during a flight, with 8% pretending to be asleep to avoid any kind of exchange. And in truly un-British fashion, 10% snub our time-honoured love of queuing, and overtake when boarding to get a better seat on the plane.
Loella, our Regional Managing Director UK, Ireland & the Nordics says “The whole in-flight experience is a strange one as you are essentially taking a large number of people who don’t know each other, popping them in a small space, rocketing them up to a few thousand feet, and expecting them all to get along. At KAYAK we’re all about smart travel and when it comes to plane etiquette, forewarned is forearmed. By making people aware of the most common annoyances and providing these tips on manners and decorum, we hope to help savvy travellers navigate through the quagmire of in-flight do’s and don’ts, and land at their destination unscathed.”
Highlighting that UK on-board etiquette leaves a little to be desired, we consulted etiquette expert, William Hanson, to provide travellers with a ‘Jet-iquette’ guide, and developed the below infographic with tips on how to be the perfect plane passenger:
1. The Armrest Hogger
Ah, the age-old armrest dispute. Think of it as a seat divider, rather than an armrest and your irritation will ease. Inch your way across by placing just an elbow on it, leaving plenty of space for your greedy neighbour to use it too – then everyone’s a winner.
2. The Chatterbox
If your neighbour strikes up conversation, engage for a short while – it won’t hurt you; they are only being friendly. We Brits find it difficult to be honest and direct but don’t be afraid to say, “I’m so sorry to be anti-social, but I’m just going to shut my eyes for a while,” or words to similar effect.
3. The Aisle Seat Snoozer
You find yourself needing the toilet during the flight, but are faced with an awkward human obstacle. In the event of this happening, you are left with one option only: gently tap the sleeping offender on the shoulder and ask them to move. Under no circumstances should you attempt to clamber over the person. It’s likely you will disturb them anyway, and be caught in a compromising position.
4. The Snuggler
It’s really quite flattering that the stranger beside you considers you snuggly enough to fall asleep on your shoulder. However, one must respect personal boundaries, especially in confined spaces. Cough repeatedly to jolt them out of their slumber. They won’t cuddle up to you again if they think you’re harbouring germs.
5. The Merry Flyer
Should you have a tipsy passenger in close proximity, heed this warning: avoid eye contact at all costs. Any direct exchanges with the intoxicated individual may land you with an enemy on your hands at 30,000 feet – or worse, a new best friend. It’s much wiser to alert the staff than to intervene yourself.
6. The Surly Cabin Crew Member
Nobody likes a brusque flight attendant, but confrontation before an audience will only make matters worse. If you have an issue, discreetly ask to speak to the cabin manager, or better still, write a firm letter once home.
7. The Snorer
The ultimate solution to deal with a noisy sleeper would be to invest in a good pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. Many of us dream of employing a more direct method: a sharp elbow to the ribs. In reality, the only way to combat the snorer is to block out the sound.
8. The Feral Child (part 1)
Statistically you are bound to come across feral children on almost any given flight. If there’s space, ask the cabin crew if you may change seats to get away from the little rugrats. If not, those earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are proving to be a sound investment indeed.
9. The Feral Child (part 2)
Should the darling youngster behind be incessantly kicking your seat, simply turn around with a nice smile, and very politely ask if they would mind stopping. Resist the temptation to show your distress – children may act up more if they sense vexation in adults.
10. The Chair Recliner
Sadly, the only way to deal with a chair recliner is to be one yourself – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Just make sure you resist reclining your seat until after the meal service has been completed. Also, a glance behind to check they aren’t using the tray table for a laptop or children’s colouring book is also sensible, and gives a subtle yet polite warning to the person behind.
(Preview photo cred: iStock.com/hxdyl)