These Are the Unwritten Rules of Flying—Have You Broken Any?

Updated 06/30/17
Song of Style

Ah, that jet-set life. In our minds, we’re hopping from one stylish destination to the next while casually whipping on our aviators as we totally conquer the security check. But the not-so-glamorous reality of globe-trotting? We’re breaking a sweat while pulling our overstuffed luggage to the gates, only to arrive in a cramped economy section seated next to the flight mate of our nightmares.

But has the revelation ever occurred to you that the bad seat buddy might actually be you? Thankfully, Thrillist has rounded up the unwritten rules of airplane travel. Below, see some of the top dos and don’ts to follow when you’re flying.


  • Be courteous at baggage claim.
  • Show compassion for parents with screaming babies.
  • Remain calm when there’s turbulence.
  • Be polite to the TSA agent or airline attendant, even if they’re rude to you.
  • Offer to switch seats if another passenger needs to sit next to their child, elderly relative, or sick person with whom they’re traveling.
  • Ask the person sitting behind you if it’s okay that you recline your seat, especially if you’re sitting in economy.


  • Beg someone to let you cut in front of them in the security line.
  • Ask a stranger to keep an eye on your stuff.
  • Leave a ton of your belongings unattended on the security check conveyor belt for the person behind you to push forward.
  • Bring luggage that you can’t lift into overhead storage by yourself.
  • Grab the back of seats as you’re walking down the plane aisle.
  • Hog the armrests if you’re not in the middle seat.

What are your top pet peeves when flying? Share them in the comments below.

Related Stories