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Travel etiquette mistakes

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Travelling soon? Here are some travel tips to help you and your fellow travellers have a more enjoyable flight!

This is a popular time of year for travelling. With spring break underway, and Canadians aching for some fun in the sun, the worst part of the whole experience seems to be the time it takes to reach the destination.

For lots of people, flying can be a stressful and sometimes aggravating experience—especially when others recline their seats too far back or steal your arm rest. But another reason for potential stress and anger from passengers may be due to the increase in the number of people travelling.

According to Stats Canada, Canadian residents made a record 12.8 million trips to overseas destinations (countries other than the United States) in 2017, which was 7.2% more than in 2016. In fact, the number of Canadians travelling overseas has increased yearly since 2003.

However, there are some small adjustments to consider that may enhance your flying experience as well as others. Don’t make these common travel eti- quette mistakes:

1. The armrest dilemma

It is obvious that in terms of the window armrest and the aisle armrest, those armrests belong to those who

sit in those seats, but what about the middle armrests? According to The Washington Post, the consensus is that the middle person has ownership over these armrests. If you’re sitting in a window or an aisle seat, the middle seat passenger gets to put their arms down first. If they’re not using one of the armrests and there’s room, great. But try not to hog it—it belongs to the middle passenger.

2. Reclining your seat

No. Just, no. Even though you can lean your seat back, that leaves little-to-no leg room for the person behind you—especially if they have longer legs. Also, your seat is almost certain to collide with their knee, or their laptop, and if you do it quickly, could end up spilling their drinks or their food all over them. Talk about awkward confrontation. If you really feel the need to recline, maybe ask them politely to see if it’s okay, and then do it slowly if they agree.

3. The window shade

If you are sitting in the window seat, that means you have control over the window shade. Regardless if you plan on taking a snooze the entire flight with the shade closed—it’s important to note that your aisle mates may not want to spend the flight in the dark. The people in your aisle may want to peer out the window every now and again to enjoy the view. If you do prefer the shade closed, ask your seatmates if they’re okay with it. If they aren’t, see if they’re interested in switching seats with you.

Additional travel etiquette tips:

If someone needs to get up in your row, stand up, and step out in the aisle to let them out. Don’t half stand up and expect them to awkwardly walk past your legs.

Don’t grab the back of the seat in front of you when you’re getting up. The person in front of you doesn’t need the unpleasant surprise of being yanked backward.

If you’re wearing a backpack while boarding, take it off and carry it by your side. You don’t want to turn around and accidentally hit someone in the face with it.

More travel tips: Check out this cool article about posture when you travel to stop neck and back pain.


Author: Charmaine Millaire is a former editor of our sister magazine, Optimyz and a graduate of King’s School of Journalism in Nova Scotia.

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