7 Unspoken Rules To Follow On A Plane For The Best Flight Experience

by Kristin Corpuz

I fly at least eight times a month and still find the overall process stressful. (Don't even get me started on going through security, dealing with the long lines, and boarding the plane.) But even though I don't necessarily like flying, I've found some tricks to help make the whole process a little bit easier. These also include a few unspoken rules to follow on a plane — both for myself and for other passengers — that'll very well make for the best flight possible.

From giving the person in the middle seat both armrests, to only boarding with your group, if everyone on a flight followed these seven tips, I believe the whole process would be much less stressful. Frequent flyers might know these rules are kind of a given, but it's definitely difficult to make sure everyone follows them. Speaking from experience, I never want to be the person who tells other people what to do on flights, but I do know that these few unspoken rules really make a difference when they're followed.

So, the next time you're headed out on a flight, keep these few things in mind. I promise, following these rules will make a huge difference for everyone on the plane with you.

The Middle Seat Should Have Dibs On Both Armrests

This one might be a controversial one, but I'm someone who strongly believes the person in the middle seat should have dibs on both armrests. The aisle and window seats have more room than the middle seat, so in my opinion, the middle should be able to spread out a little bit with the armrests.

I fully acknowledge that not everyone is a fan of this rule (some people may believe each person should get one armrest), so it's not an expectation, but I will always give the middle seat the armrest they share with me.

If Your Luggage Doesn't Fit In The Overhead Bin, Check It

When you're boarding a plane, there's probably nothing worse than being held up by someone in front of you who can't fit their carry-on into the overhead bin. To avoid the awkward struggle of forcing your big luggage into the bin — then either having to put it in sideways or make the uncomfortable shuffle up to the front of the plane to gate-check your bag — just make sure your carry-on is already properly sized.

Board Only When It's Your Group's Time

For me, the most stressful parts of flying are boarding and deplaning, but there are ways to make sure both go as seamlessly as possible. When you're boarding, make sure you only board when your group is called. It'll likely keep things organized and less stressful for everyone involved.

Don't Try To Rush To The Front Of The Plane When You Land
ACALU Studio/Stocksy

When a plane lands, it's entirely understandable you'd want to get off as soon as possible. You're excited to get to your destination, after all. But rushing to the front of the plane right away may very well make the deplaning process more stressful for everyone.

In my opinion, the one exception to this rule is if you have a really quick layover. In that case, consider letting a flight attendant know, and they'll help clear the way for you. (Take it from someone who has had to do this before.)

If You Have To Use The Restroom A Lot, Don't Sit In The Window Seat

I'm partial to a window seat. I love that you can see the incredible #views below, and you get your own little corner of the plane all to yourself. Plus, because I love to sleep on planes, being against the plane wall gives me an extra place to rest my head.

But one habit I've adopted when I pick a window seat is that I usually don't use the restroom during the flight unless I absolutely have to. I don't like having to ask two people to move out of the way for me to get out into the aisle. My best advice for someone who thinks they'll need to get up to use the bathroom a lot? Opt for the aisle seat instead so you can easily get up and go.

Don't Open Your Window Shade When The Lights Are Off In The Cabin

On long international flights, it's normal for the lights to be turned off so people can catch some Zs. When this is the case, it's an unspoken rule that no one in a window seat should open up their window shades, especially when it's still light outside.

Wear Your Shoes To The Restroom

I know that it's totally normal to want to relax and take your shoes off when you're on a long flight, but I think it should be an unspoken rule that you put your shoes back on to go to the restroom. It's not just good for you and your own cleanliness, but it keeps any extra germs away from the seat areas.