Traveling is always fun and exciting! I love seeing first time travelers and their giddy excitement! They remind me of how I was when I first traveled and it’s quite refreshing to see someone that excited. However, the good feeling immediately disappears when there are people who make the whole ordeal unpleasant and difficult – don’t be one of them!

There are basic rules of traveling on a plane, especially if you’re in coach or economy. To be completely honest, there is no other way to travel but in Business Class. However, not everyone can afford it and even I only have it as a treat or when I’m lucky enough to get bumped up. Coach seats and flying economy can still be a pleasant experience if we all follow some simple proper flying etiquette.

Checking In

If and when possible, I strongly suggest that you should check in online. This saves you a little bit of a hassle when you’re checking in. You can then just proceed to baggage drop off and cut down on queuing time.

If you haven’t checked in online and have to line up, please be mindful of the personal space radius. The general rule is that you should have at least 2 feet of space between you and the person in front of you. This includes you and your luggage trolley or card. Please do not crowd the person in front of you. It will not help the line go any faster and it is plain ass rude. PERSONAL SPACE. Important.

Have all your documents ready. There’s nothing more frustrating to everyone when you have to rummage through your bag for documents at the check in line. Make the most of your time when in the line by having your papers ready on hand. You can also get the exit forms or other forms you need to fill out for immigration while on queue. The check in counters usually have these.

Check in luggage and Carry Ons

It’s a given that sometimes you go a little shopping crazy and your luggage can be overweight. You will be asked to either pay for the excess baggage or repack your luggage to spread the weight out to your other bags. It is best to check your bags’ weight even before you head on over to the airport. It is frustrating for everyone else in line to have to wait for you to finish repacking your luggage right there at the check in counter. It’s quite inconsiderate, really. If you have to, move to the side, repack and then when you’re done, politely ask the person in line if you can have a word with the ground staff to re-weigh your luggage.

Carry on luggage is also regulated for safety reasons. Do not insist on carrying on anything more than what is stated. Limit your carry on to 2 small bags. Trust me, it’s for your convenience too. Carry what is important and fragile – documents, wallets, laptops, tablets, jewelry and other important items. What’s not important? The stuff toys you amassed while playing at a theme park, the pasalubong of dried fish or candies, etc. Check that in.


Great! You’ve made it through immigration and the several security checks. Now you’re just waiting to board. You know how you “listen” to the announcements and how the ground staff says the rules over and over but you just “listen”? LISTEN to them.

Your seat numbers are clearly stated on your boarding pass and the ground staff will board you according to your rows. Don’t try to board the plane until your row numbers are called. There’s a reason for that. If you’re on the back end of the plane, you get to board first – this is assuming that you’re not old, in need of special assistance or have small children. You board first so that you get to fix your luggage and stuff so that you don’t create a bottle neck in the plane. There is nothing more annoying to see a row 20 person wanting to get in with the row 40 people and takes their lovely time in putting away their luggage. Dude, not cool.

There’s a silver lining here for those who board “last”. You get off the plane first. So, don’t try to go in with the rest of the passengers if it’s not yet your turn.

Seating Arrangements

Ah…seats. Unfortunately most airlines scrimp on the leg room and space in economy or coach to make a little bit more profit. If you’re Western sized, this is a pain in the patella. If you’re Eastern sized it’s still uncomfortable but bearable. Here’s the basic idea of the privileges of the seats:

WINDOW SEAT: You get the view. You get the quasi privacy because you’re at the end of the row and don’t get bothered by the people walking up and down the aisle. You may have to limit your bathroom movement so as not to annoy your seat mates.

AISLE SEAT: You get the movement privileges. You get first dibs on the meal tray and drinks. Best seat for those with a small bladder.

MIDDLE SEAT: This seat sucks, but you get both armrests. That is your prize.

Travelers, take note of this very important etiquette rule: If the window seat person needs to go to the bathroom, the middle seat and aisle seat person MUST stand up and get out of the row to let the window seat person out. This will eliminate the need for the window person to try and American ninja his or her ass out of your legs and hold on to the backrest of the people in front for you, thus annoying more than 5 people. Let’s be considerate, eh?


Speaking of being considerate, here are more unspoken rules when it comes to the kingdom of seats.

  1. Check the people behind you before you recline your seat. They could be writing something down or they have food there or whatever. Just be polite and check with them before you ceremoniously drop your backrest.
  2. Remember PERSONAL SPACE is important. Do NOT encroach your seat mate’s space. Not with your arms or feet or head. Do not touch their tray or entertainment monitor or anything. Just don’t.
  3. Footwear should always be on. Please do not take off your shoes especially if you know that you have a history of podiatry odors.
  4. Keep your voice down. Volume control yourself, man. Be considerate to other people. They may be traveling non-stop for 6 days now because of work; they can be going home because someone they love died; there are a LOT of reasons for people to be traveling and it’s not always for a vacation. So, please be considerate. Use your inside voice.
  5. A quick chat and acknowledgement of your seat mate is good. But chatting their ear off is not. Be polite and courteous but don’t start telling them your life story. Most of the time, travelers just want to sleep or nap.

The Food Cart

Like we have stated previously, the aisle seat gets first dibs, no matter what the FA does. The Flight Attendants usually start with window seat person and if this happens, window seat person must graciously direct the FA to the aisle seat person. Middle seat person is next and window seat person gets last choice. Dude, you already have the window, okay?

While drinks are complimentary, let us not abuse this. Remember that the altitude also makes one inebriated (aka drunk, lasheng) much faster. Two glasses of wine is fine, a couple of beers is all clear but no more than that.

Whatever is available are the only things available. Remember that you are 38 thousand feet in the air. You can’t have the chicken with cashew changed for a chicken without cashew because there is no kitchen or cook in the plane. You are also in coach, remember? If you wanted that privilege, then you should have flown business or first class.

The food carts have specific row assignments. If a food cart passes you by, don’t flag it down. Wait for it to come to you.

Although there are no tables per se, table manners should not disappear. Chew with your mouth closed, use the utensils, keep the plastic wrappers in one place and don’t just throw them on the floor or stuff them in the seat pockets and leave them there.

FAs are your friends not slaves

Treat your flight attendant with respect and be pleasant with them. They are not your servants or slaves. They are there to make sure you are comfortable and ultimately, safe.

You know those little rectangular things that are pinned on their chest? Yeah, they’re called name tags. Read it and call them by their names. Smile at them, thank them. Don’t treat them like they’re your yaya. They are not.

Basic rule? Be polite and nice to them. Remember that they have the power to re-seat you (either to a better seat or a worse seat)

Leaving on a jet plane

Congratulations, you’ve landed! Stay in your seats though!

My biggest pet peeve is seeing people immediately standing up to get their stuff in the overhead compartment as soon as the plane hits the ground. Remember the boarding rule? Yeah…So, don’t get all huffy and puffy. It’s for safety reasons. If you try to get up and get your stuff even before the plane has reached the gate, you will have the tendency to either drop your stuff on another person or the plane might move and you may fall. Cthulu may decide to attack the plane, I dunno. The point is, DO NOT STAND UP UNTIL THE PLANE COMES TO A COMPLETE STOP AT THE ASSIGNED GATE.

Last Tips

  1. Dress up properly. You know how some people get bumped up to Business class or first class? They’re dressed up nicely. If you want to travel in your pajamas, that’s your prerogative but you won’t likely find yourself in a full reclining position unless you lie down on the floor.
  2. Don’t be a smart ass, especially in immigration. Being polite goes a long way.
  3. Be considerate.

Talk to me!