Travel experts reveal a list of etiquette rules for airline passengers traveling on overnight flights – from exactly what outfits are appropriate to the types of FOOD you should avoid
It’s no secret that the debate over airplane etiquette has been in full swing in recent months.
Fierce clashes over seat changes, reclining and undressing have taken the internet by storm.
And now travel experts have weighed in on the unwritten rules for airline passengers taking overnight flights.
From taking advantage of open seats to ignoring snoring neighbors, the experts have revealed how to be a dreamy passenger on a red-eye.
Travel experts have weighed in on the unwritten rules for airline passengers taking night flights (stock image)
1. Use spare seats respectfully
Many holidaymakers shy away from the prospect of a night flight, which can often mean less crowds.
As a result, some lucky passengers may end up getting an entire line to themselves, but it’s important to act respectfully.
Experts have warned that despite the excitement about free space, passengers should not immediately disperse.
Not only is it important to remain seated during takeoff for safety reasons, but travel blogger Lee Abbamonte, based in New York, told Stuff: ‘After the plane takes off, give it a second and if no one rings, do it.
“Otherwise it’s just a bit annoying.”
Even once you’re in the air, there are some rules you should still follow, including keeping your feet off the furniture and not propping them up on any part of the seat in front of you.
Likewise, if passengers see a vacant seat elsewhere on board, they should avoid driving over it and immediately claim it for themselves.
Instead, it is essential to ask a flight attendant if it is possible to move.
This is because some areas remain empty for specific reasons, such as to allow flight attendants quick access during sudden turbulence or to provide extra space during medical emergencies.
2. Be considerate of those trying to sleep
Even if you don’t want to sleep on your overnight flight, others might – and it’s important that passengers can orient themselves to what’s happening on board.
Midway through the flight, the lights in the cabin are all dimmed to create a darker environment for those hoping to get some shut-eye.
Travel experts urged that you should also take action on this point.
Passengers should turn down the lights on their laptops or built-in entertainment screens and pull down the shades.
Even if you don’t want to sleep on your overnight flight, others might – and it’s important that passengers are guided by what’s happening in the cabin (stock image)
Where possible, they should also switch off their overhead lights.
And instead, those who want to stay illuminated should purchase a clip-on reading lamp if necessary.
Abbie Unger, former flight attendant and founder of the Flight Attendant Career Connection, also recommended investing in earmuff headphones instead of earplugs to limit irritating sound leaks that can disturb neighbors.
Likewise, the experts agreed that you shouldn’t be walking the aisles.
It may be tempting to stretch your legs by taking a walk up and down, but you may want to reconsider.
Instead, if you need some respite from sitting, head to the aft galley area and march in place or do stretching exercises until you feel ready to return.
3. Dress appropriately
Abbie passionately urged passengers to dress appropriately for the flight, adding: ‘It should look like you are wearing outerwear, not innerwear.’
She emphasized that pajamas are not acceptable and that airplane clothes should fall into the loungewear or athleisure categories — think leggings and sweatshirts.
Many also encouraged travelers to bring a hoodie, which can help block some stimuli on board.
Likewise, everyone agrees that going completely barefoot is a definite no-no, but taking off just your shoes seems like a gray area.
Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas, said passengers should not remove their shoes because of the risk of foot odor.
But a suitable solution involves the use of slippers.
4. Avoid eating smelly snacks
One rule that applies to airline passengers both day and night is to avoid eating sharp snacks.
If you have brought your own livelihood, it is important to remain respectful of those around you.
One rule that applies to airline passengers both day and night is to avoid eating sharp snacks (stock image)
Jamie Gibson, the founder of the online community for corporate flight attendants called Flightless, told the outlet, “You may really enjoy your fried pickle sandwich, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will enjoy the smell.”
Popular delicacies to avoid that are notoriously smelly include tuna, sauerkraut and eggs.
5. Don’t spend too long in the toilet
Although some passengers still want to perform their bedtime routine on board before going to sleep, it is important not to overdo it.
Instead of taking up the cubicle while you go through your entire nightly ritual, consider completing the bulk of it while you’re still at the airport.
However, if it cannot be avoided, there are certain rules you should follow.
This includes using unscented products, placing your toiletries within easy reach and keeping them short.
‘You don’t spend forty minutes in that toilet. You take a few minutes to wash your hands and splash water on your face,” Gottsman said.
“Do not use this as an opportunity to bathe.”
6. Ignore the snorers
It can be frustrating when the people around you drift away, leaving you behind to hear their droning snores and nasal whistles.
But unfortunately this is often an essential part of a night flight that is difficult to avoid.
The easiest solution is to use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to muffle the sounds.
It can be frustrating when the people around you drift away, leaving you to tune in to their booming snores and nasal whistles (stock image)
Abbie suggested making small movements, such as flipping up your tray, in an attempt to get your neighbor moving in hopes that he would switch positions.
But otherwise, it’s somewhat unavoidable and should be largely ignored.
Additionally, if the passenger in the aisle seat is sleeping when you need to get out to use the restroom, don’t try to just jump over him or her.
Instead, ask them nicely if you can come out – and remember, don’t feel guilty for asking.