Two Upright Tray Tables


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How To Stop Being A Huge Jerk On A Plane

I don’t want to be that guy that complains about being able to travel so much, but airline travel can be the worst. We are fortunate that we get to visit so many different parts of the world, but flying in coach is continually becoming a more and more dehumanizing process. For the most part, everyone on a plane just wants to safely and quietly arrive at their destination without overly inconveniencing anyone else. But on every flight, there are at least a few people who can’t help but increase the shared suffering of others. We know none of our readers do any the following things, but if you know someone who does, forward this article so they can please stop being huge jerks.

1. Stop Leaning Your Seat Back

Unless you’re on a long overnight flight and everyone is sleeping, there is no reason to ever lay your seat back. Ever. We’re all contending with about 3 inches of free personal space, and you think your situation would be significantly improved by leaning your seat back a mere 15 degrees? Sure you have the right to do it but you shouldn’t. Your headrest is now in my lap, and my tray table is unusable. Maybe the person in front of you laid there’s back too, and you think your only recourse is to gain it back by lowering yours. Don’t sink to their level. Just keep your seat vertical, and I’ll do the same. We’ll all deal with the limited space the airlines allow us and try and get to our destination without blood clots in our legs and cramps in our thighs.

Thanks for lowering your seat back. This is all the room I had left.

2. Stop Hogging The Armrests

There are unwritten rules about armrests. The person in the middle has the worst seat, so they get both armrests. The person in the aisle gets the aisle rest, and the window seat passenger gets that armrest. It’s only fair. Don’t hog the armrests by trying to take over too much space.

3. Stop Using The Wrong Overhead Bin

I know your upset about having to sit in row 3483 at the back of the plane by the toilets. But that doesn’t mean you should stow your bags above someone else’s row in the front. All you’ve done is take someone else’s storage space and increase the time of our deboarding. Now if all the bins are full, sure store it wherever you can. But you should be trying your best to use your own bin.

4. Stop Bringing Stinky Food On The Plane

I know airplane food is horrible. But you know what's worse? The smell of that tuna salad on rye you just unwrapped beside me with extra pickles. You should definitely bring some food on the plane. Airplane food is tasteless, and if you want a good meal, you’re on your own. But that doesn’t mean I appreciate the extra garlic and anchovies on your slice of pizza. We’re sitting in a pressurized tube at 30,000 feet; there’s no place for that curry or onion smell to go. Please be considerate with your food choices. There's nothing wrong with bringing food with you but leave the pungent fare back at the terminal.

5. Stop Trying To Get Off The Plane Before Your Turn

When the plane first begins to unload, if you're in row 38, where do you think you're going? You're not getting off the plane until everyone in front of your exits. I know you want to stretch. I know you want to get off the plane. I know you have a connecting flight. Most of us do. Stop fighting for aisle space only to wait. Everyone in front of you has to get off the plane before you can leave, so calm down. Also, the little old lady in the row in front of you can't get her bags down. Give her a hand and then wait like the rest of us.

You’re not going anywhere, so calm down.

6. Stop Berating The Flight Attendants

I’m sorry you didn’t sleep well last night, and that security was a horrible slog. I hate that you had to rush to your plane and then had to check your carry-on because there was no overhead space. But no matter what goes wrong on the flight, I’m 99% sure it isn't the flight attendants fault. They can’t free up the runway or de-ice the plane, so stop being a huge jerk to them. Try following directions and listen to what they tell you. Their job is to hopefully corral a bunch of already irritated people onto a plane safely and quickly. Oh, and then they serve you drinks and clean up your mess. Don’t yell at them or talk back sarcastically. Try and be a human being and politely comply. Thank them for their help and be considerate. I can’t believe this is even a topic for discussion, but almost every flight we see someone being completely and totally rude to the flight attendants. You're better than that. Stop it.


I’m sure there are things not on this list that I’ve done to annoy other passengers, and I’m deeply sorry for that. But if we could all do our best not to be huge jerks on the plane, we’d all enjoy the process more and not just look at it as something to endure before our vacations. What do you think about our list? Do you agree? Did we leave anything off? Answer below in the comments.

Let’s all relax and get to our destinations.

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