Air Travel Etiquette

I love to travel but it can be stressful. Air travel, in particular, can be fraught with challenges. But, if we all follow a few dos and don’ts of air travel etiquette, we can peacefully coexist while hurtling through the air at 30,000 feet.

Air Travel Etiquette

Do know the TSA rules: Liquids in 3-ounce or smaller containers all packed into one quart sized zipper bag and placed on the conveyor belt. Computer out of your bag and on the belt. Shoes and coat off; nothing in your pockets.

Don’t steal all of the bins and bowls. Being considerate in the security line means sharing and not dawdling.

TSA Precheck

Transportation Security Administration

Do consider signing up for TSA PreCheck. At $85 for five years, it’s a pretty good deal. And, you can keep all of your goodies in your bag and your shoes on your feet.

Do feel free to pack concisely into the allowed number and size of carry-on luggage.

Don’t think that anyone is amused by you carrying on a suitcase and a backpack and a giant purse and a giant shopping bag and a bag full of magazines and snacks and a banjo.

Each of us is allowed one carry-on bag and one small personal item. This means you, too, Barbie.

Mocadeaux - Carry-on luggage etiquette

Do take advantage of the loophole that airlines provide which allows passengers to avoid a checked bag fee.

If your suitcase is small enough to meet the carry-on standards, you can “gate check” your bag with the agents at your gate for free. This is a good idea if you just don’t want to be bothered stowing your bag in the overhead bin, are in one of the later boarding groups or have legendarily poor arm strength like me.

Do line up and board the aircraft with your assigned boarding group. Please have your boarding pass out and available for scanning or have your mobile boarding pass pulled up on your telephone and the screen lit up.

Don’t hold up the boarding process by standing in the aisle unloading every last item you think you might want for the flight before stashing your bag in the overhead bin.

Do be compassionate toward your fellow passengers. If asked by a frantic mom or dad if you can switch seats so that their family can be seated together, consider doing so. In my opinion, this act of kindness brings more good karma than almost anything else.

Mocadeaux - Bank of Karma

Don’t fall asleep on other passengers. My shoulders are reserved for my loved ones and not for perfect strangers who keep nodding off and slumping over toward me in my seat. (Seriously, guy in 11B? How many times do I have to elbow you in the ribs before you get the message?)

Do peruse the menu of “buy on board” food and drink items so that you are ready to order when the flight attendants reach your row.

Don’t order wine in a can. Trust me on this one.

Wine in a can

Do remember to use headphones while listening to music or movies. Just as you have the right to listen to heavy metal music or to watch Mad Max Fury Road, I have the right peaceful quiet.

Don’t judge your seatmates for the in-flight entertainment they choose to watch. Just because someone streams hours of Real Housewives on a coast to coast flight, doesn’t mean that they don’t also watch hours of the History Channel at home.

Do strike up a conversation with your seat mate if the spirit moves you. Take the opportunity to meet new people and hear their stories.

Don’t make a nuisance of yourself. If your seatmate pretends that they are completely engrossed in their reading, are asleep or don’t speak English, it might be a subtle hint that they are not interested in chatting.

And finally, when you have reached your destination…

Do retrieve your carry-on luggage as quickly as possible without trampling your fellow passengers and exit the airplane in an orderly manner.

Don’t do what these flight attendants did. It is rude, will likely get you arrested and will cost you thousands of dollars in fines. A high price to pay to be the first one off of the plane.

By the way, the reenactment animation in this video is priceless.

What are your pet peeves about flying? What would you add to the air travel etiquette dos and don’ts?

Wishing you all happy and safe travels, always!

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Nap On A Plane

Half past midnight and I’m still awake. A cab is arriving at 4:30am to take me to the airport for my 6:15am flight.

As my ridiculously adorable grand sons would say,


It’s going to be a very long day.


Insomnia is never fun but insomnia and travel are a really bad combo.

Fortunately I’m pretty good at taking a nap on a plane. Sometimes I think I sleep better in an airline seat than in a bed. You know how some kids have beds that look like a race car? I’m thinking I need a bed that looks like seat 11C.

I have my routine down to a science.

I plop in my seat, stash my backpack under the seat in front of me, and put on my headphones. If there is on board music I’ll dial up the classical music channel or, my new favorite, the spa music channel and close my eyes.

Even if there is no music, I still wear my headphones to discourage chatty seat neighbors.

Zip – minutes later I’m snoozing away.

Sure, I occasionally wake myself up with a snort. When that happens, I cough a lot so people think that I coughed and did not snort. I’m pretty sure I fool them every time.

(People LOVE to hear other people coughing on an airplane especially nowadays, right? Doesn’t scare them at all.)

I’ve sometimes needed my Tide To Go pen to clean up a teensy, tiny bit of sleep drool. But really, who hasn’t?

All of this got me to thinking…

I need to invent a new product. A Chin Hammock. Something to support my chin so that my mouth does not droop open in a most unladylike manner during an in-flight nap.

The Chin Hammock (Trademarked, patent not yet pending) would loop over the user’s ears, or maybe over their headphones, and very discretely give their chin some gentle support.



Simple, effective, brilliant!

If I’m lucky, my new product might even be mentioned by my pals at The Dose of Reality who highlight “really special” finds on Pinterest.

At the very least The Chin Hammock seems like just the kind of product that makes the Sky Mall catalog so very intriguing.

This product could go viral!

In the meantime, until I drum up some investors and convince my favorite patent attorney to take up this boondoggle case, I and thousands of others will have to endure the humiliation that comes when one startles awake from a nap on a plane.

Am I alone on this? Any tricks or tips for getting a restful nap at 30,000 feet? Or for covering up the sound of snoring?

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Overdrawn In The Bank Of Karma

Lucky gal

Let me preface this story by saying I know that I am a very, very lucky gal.

A lucky gal who needs to payback some karma – big time.

Last night I flew back to San Diego after three weeks on the road. Annoyed that the flight was not offering any audio or video entertainment (first world problems), I was relieved to have secured an aisle seat for the four-hour flight.

Assigned to seat 11C, I boarded the plane and promptly parked myself in seat 11D. A nice family came along and the dad very politely pointed out that I was in his seat. Fortunately I didn’t get all huffy and insist that I was not, because I was, and THAT would have been pretty embarrassing.

Instead, feeling like a rookie doofus, I collected my belongings and moved across the aisle.

Ahhhhh. All settled in. Until…

A young gal took the middle seat next to me as her husband took the middle seat in front of her.

They chatted and passed things to each other through the space between the seats and I heard them say those dreaded words,

“Maybe someone will trade seats with one of us so we can sit together.”

Oh. No.

Folks, I’m not proud of what I did next.

Donning my headphones and pretending to be oblivious to their dilemma, I avoided eye contact with Young Gal like it was my job.

“Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Don’t ask” was my silent mantra.

Then I saw Young Husband lean over and ask the person in the aisle seat next to him if she would mind trading seats with his wife so that they could sit together.

“Pretty please?”

Aisle Seat Person turned around and gave me a look that said, “Which one of us is going to take the middle seat bullet?” (Another first world problem.)

We had a momentary stand-off but I stared her down. The kind passenger gave up her seat so the loving couple could be together.


Except then I felt like crap. And guilty.

I ALWAYS give up my seat to families with children, hoping that the kindness will be repaid to my children when they are traveling with my grandchildren. Why did I hesitate in showing the same generosity to this adorable young couple?

Once Kind Passenger was settled in to her new middle seat next to me, I noticed that she was an airline employee. I have to admit that I felt a little less guilty knowing that she was flying for free, but I wasn’t sure that the Bank of Karma would consider that a mitigating factor in my selfishness.

Bank of Karma

When the drink cart came along the Kind Passenger ordered a glass of wine. Feverishly trying to right the karma scales, I told the flight attendant that I would like to pay for Kind Passenger’s wine since she gave up her seat so I didn’t have to.

“And while you are at it, I’ll take a glass of wine, too.”

Imagine my surprise when the flight attendant winked and said both glasses of wine were on the house (or I guess on the plane?).

Oh boy. I was benefitting from some seriously undeserved karma.

The flight just kept getting better and better.

Kind Passenger and I struck up a conversation and I learned lots and lots of interesting tidbits about working as a flight attendant and navigating a rocky corporate merger. I won’t mention the companies’ names because I don’t want anyone to get in trouble but let’s say the names rhyme with “New Knighted” and “Non Tee Nental”.

Next thing we knew, the flight attendant brought us each a glass of complimentary wine. From the first class cabin. FIRST CLASS WINE! The good stuff.

Double oh boy.

The rest of the flight was delightful. And no one took my luggage by mistake.

I kept expecting to get my come-uppance, to be put in my cosmic place, to get my due for all the taking without giving.

But nothing bad happened. It was the perfect flight.

So now I’m on an epic quest to repay all the good karma that was afforded to me, even though I did nothing to deserve it.

I’ve got to fix this overdraft before the Bank of Karma starts foreclosure proceedings on me.

How do you feel about giving up your seat on the plane? Have you ever been showered with undeserved good karma?

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