Etiquette for flying airs issues

A travel agency is one-upping its service by providing plane etiquette for travellers.

Flight Centre's unofficial list of rules covers inflight issues ranging from toilet trips to arm rest infringements.

"In compiling this guide, we have looked at the issues that have been aired from time to time and have suggested ways that these issues can be avoided," spokeswoman Marie Pilkington said.

- Boarding and disembarking

Join the queue when invited, carry luggage in front or behind to avoid causing headaches for aisle seat dwellers.

When disembarking, don't try to beat passenger 1A to the door if you're seated in row 50. The passengers in rows 2 to 49 just won't let it happen.

- The overhead locker

As travellers cram more into hand luggage to avoid checked baggage charges and to reduce the risk of lost luggage, the humble storage unit has now become prime real estate.

Ensure your (single) bag is within the required dimensions, and, wherever possible, stow it in the locker directly above you.

- The arm rest

Let's face it - the middle seat doesn't have a lot going for it. If you, as an aisle or window seat passenger, have established early elbow dominance on shared armrests, spare a thought for the middle seat passenger who faces an uncomfortable journey without arm support.

- Chair reclining

On short flights reclining should be kept to a minimum and avoided completely during meal times.

On longer flights, the one-in, all-in rule should apply.

- Border crossings

Space is a precious commodity in the economy cabin. Don't attempt to cross your neighbour's border by stretching legs or extending arms to read the newspaper.

Changing your neighbour's entertainment screen channel, stealing peanuts and reading over the shoulder are also frowned upon.

- Footwear

If there is any suggestion of odour issues, footwear should remain on.

- Mindless chatter

Before engaging in mid-flight banter with your fellow fliers, look for obvious clues that point to a reluctant chatter. Headphones on or face buried in a book mean "I don't want to talk".

- Knees in the back

You're in a confined space, so the occasional bump to the seat in front is inevitable. Regular knees in the back are, however, almost a declaration of war.

- The headrest

Like knees in the back, hands on the headrest are not appreciated. Avoid the temptation to pull on the headrest in front for extra leverage when standing. The consequences of a poorly timed headrest shake can range from mild whiplash to severe red wine spillage.

- The bathroom

If you're likely to be a regular bathroom visitor, request an aisle seat and empty the tanks before boarding.

On arrival at the bathroom, "fast and clean" are the rules. Toilet-based readers take note - the complementary newspaper should remain in the seat pocket.

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