The debate over airplane etiquette continues to rumble, but a commercial pilot is out to set things right once and for all.
Speaking anonymously to DailyMail.com, the flight expert, who has been a pilot for 10 years and currently works for one of the world’s largest airlines, touches on some of the most hotly debated passenger fears.
From ceding seats to other passengers to the most appropriate flight footwear to packing luggage in a baggage locker, the frequent flyer gives their verdict on a host of hot topics.
Take a flight down to see how you can change your onboarding habits for a smoother ride with less stress.
Sit with your feet down and arms in front of you
An old commercial pilot tells passengers to respect those around them and sit upright with their feet on the ground and their arms in front of their bodies (stock image)
The chair is designed for a single sitting style. This means feet on the floor, not in the air and resting on the chair in front, and arms in front of the body. The seat is designed to keep you safe in the worst turbulence and in the unlikely event of an incident. If you can’t get your seat belt across your lap, you’re in the wrong position.
ALWAYS wear shoes on the plane
The floor in the main cabin has been vacuumed but not mopped. People vomited about these materials on a daily basis, so it’s a good idea to wear shoes. For extra comfort, you can put on slippers or slippers. Always wear footwear to the bathroom, as the liquid on the floor is most likely not water. Treat it like you’re in a hostel, and a dirty one.
When the crew is resting, they always have at least flip flops or disposable slippers to walk around the aircraft.
Visit the galley instead of ringing the bell
Just stop being lazy, get up and go to the galley to request items from the cabin crew. This benefits both parties. If you ring the doorbell and ask something from your seat, there is a good chance that someone around you will also make a request. This will make your order take longer.
The first time it is always best to go to the galley. The crew may tell you to ring the bell next time to avoid crowding in that area, but at least then you’ll know and have built up a rapport.
If you paid for your seat, DO NOT give it up
In the age of the internet, that’s a tough one. Most people who are organized and know where they want to sit choose their seats weeks or months before a flight. If people want to make sure they sit together, they should pay the extra money to make that happen instead of expecting others to move.
Passengers should also never ask to swap aisle seats for center seats, because that’s just ridiculous. My top tip is to stock up on some duty-free chocolate to sweeten the deals if needed.
“Always wear footwear to the bathroom because the liquid on the floor is most likely not water,” says the flight expert (stock image)
About touchscreen TVs, the pilot says ‘you should use as little power as possible’
Request a special meal as soon as you board if you have not pre-ordered
If you’re looking for a special meal that you didn’t order, just ask the crew as soon as you’re airborne. Just go to the galley and explain your situation and most of the time they can help you. They often make veggie meals so there should always be something left over.
If you’re traveling long distances and have dietary requirements, it’s worth stocking up on treats at the airport. If you ask nicely, the crew is more than willing to keep the food in the fridge and warm it up!
Store bags in the overhead bins with the wheels facing the window
Overground trash cans are a pain in the age of cheap flights because no one wants to check in their luggage and pay the premium. If you can, store your bag in the cargo area with the wheels facing the window. This way you make optimal use of the space and you can usually store two to three weekend suitcases in this way.
If you’re one of the last to board the plane, look for places to store your bag right away. This is because 95 percent of the time there will be no room near your seat. Just because there’s an overhead bin above your seat doesn’t mean it’s reserved for you. It’s first come, first served.
Use as little force as possible with the touchscreen TVs
With touchscreen TVs you should use as little power as possible. The last thing you want is to break the screen and have no entertainment for the rest of the flight. If the person in front of you feels you’re pressing on the screen, you’re pressing way too hard! As soon as you get a disgruntled look from the person in front of you, calm down your taps.
If you can, the flying pro says it’s best to stow your bag in the overhead compartment with the wheels facing the window, as this maximizes space
“If you’re looking for a special meal that you didn’t order, ask the crew as soon as you’re airborne,” says the pilot
DO NOT get up as soon as the plane lands
Just wait your turn when the plane lands. If you’re in a hurry, the one or two minutes won’t help you. Running through the airport will do. Be patient and kind. If you disembark row by row in an orderly manner, the plane empties much faster.
Use a neck pillow to avoid leaning on others
Invest in a neck pillow. This allows you to stay in your personal space as much as possible. Also try to sleep with your limbs under a blanket, this prevents you from moving too much. If you’re sleeping in an aisle seat, give the poor soul in the middle seat the armrest because they’re already running out of space.
The cabin crew appreciates good manners
Saying “please” and “thank you” goes a long way. The crew usually has to deal with hundreds of rude passengers. Be the one who has manners and ask them how their day is going. You’ll be amazed at the extra freebies that come with manners or lighthearted conversation.
Pre-download TV shows for kids and reserve front row seats for infants
The front rows of cabins have cribs so if you have a baby try to book these seats even if you have to pay an extra cost – they are worth it! For toddlers and young children, please bring their car seats on board. The child is used to sitting in this and it will be more comfortable for them to sleep in.
Tablets and smartphones with pre-downloads of their favorite shows are perfect for keeping the little ones entertained. The crew is also always willing to help as long as you use your manners. Most cabin crew will happily entertain your child for hours as it also makes their shift go faster!