Jetiquette Expert Shares Top Travel Faux Pas to Avoid


After Twitter user @Antman0528 posted this photo, things got heated in the comments.

Cornelia Vermaak (@NVerm3) claimed, “This person is selfish. A braid or a bun isn’t that difficult. And honestly, if anyone wants long hair, they need to keep it to themselves… There’s no justification for this.”

Other people on the site voiced their frustrations by talking about what they have done in similar situations or what they would have done in the original poster’s (OP’s) position.

User @LorisBigStory said someone draped their hair over the seat back on a flight she was on, and she rested her elbows on her hair. The person wasn’t bothered by it and left their hair where it was.

Multiple users said that the action warranted the OP to cut this woman’s hair on the plane. One woman (@losthousewife) went as far as to say that there are TSA-approved travel scissors if anyone wants to arm themselves against rogue hair on planes.

Less aggressive commenters said the right move here was to call on the cabin crew to talk to the passenger.

The original post sparked a conversation about overall airplane etiquette and how passengers should respond to those who aren’t practicing their best Jetiquette.

Diane Gottsman, a leading etiquette expert, said that what the passenger did in the picture posted on Twitter was like brushing your hair at a table.

In an interview with, Gottsman outlined a few ways that passengers could handle the situation. (None of them had to do with giving the woman an impromptu haircut.)

She said that passengers who find themselves in this scenario should either talk to the flight attendant or speak to the person calmly. You could say, “Excuse me, would you kindly move your hair away from the back of the seat?” or “I’d appreciate you pulling your hair back because it’s in my space. I’m unable to access my tray table and would like to use it.”

As with many things in life, screaming at others will get you nowhere.

But having hair flung over the back of the seat in front of you is a rarer occurrence on flights. Unfortunately, many other people lose their airplane manners in different ways when they reach cruising altitude.

According to a study by Value Penguin, 54% of American travelers thought the pandemic led to worse overall Jetiquette. Nearly 24% have been on a plane that had to be grounded because of an unruly passenger.

Additionally, Value Penguin had participants state whether they believed specific actions were bad travel etiquette. The top ten offense list created by passengers included:

  1. Being rude to the flight attendant (72% of passengers)

  2. Kicking the seat in front of you (69%)

  3. Getting on the plane while sick (67%)

  4. Getting drunk (65%)

  5. Not using headphones (64%)

  6. Bringing smelly food on the plane (61%)

  7. Bringing an oversized carry-on (61%)

  8. Refusing to wear a mask (58%)

  9. Not being prepared to go through security (56%)

  10. Passing gas (55%)

Surprisingly, taking your shoes off on the plane didn’t make the top ten, as only 34% saw it as a faux pas.

But we think all flight attendants will agree that being rude to the airplane and airport staff is the most significant breach of Jetiquette.

Top Jetiquette Faux Pas to Avoid This Holiday Season

As we gear up for holiday travel, it’s good to refresh your memory on the best ways to help make the skies that much friendlier.

Aside from keeping your hair in your own chair, here are some things you’ll want to steer clear of on your journey.

Before You Travel

  • See a doctor if you’re feeling sick and get tested for COVID if necessary.

  • Weigh your bags before you check-in.

  • Make sure you follow carry-on protocols while you pack.

At the Airport

  • Always wear your face covering unless you’re having a quick bite or drink.

  • Stay six feet away from people not in your group.

  • Have your boarding pass and ID ready at all times.

  • Wear headphones if you want to watch/listen to something on a device.

  • Don’t be too loud at your gate, especially while a flight is trying to board.

  • If you have to take a call, hold your phone to your ear or use headphones. DO NOT use speaker phone!!

On the Plane

  • Always wear your face covering unless you’re having a quick bite or drink. If a flight attendant tells you to put it back on, listen to them.

  • Listen to the flight crew in general. (It also doesn’t hurt to thank them.)

  • Wear headphones if you want to watch/listen to something on a device. (Seriously, bring headphones or buy them at the airport.)

  • Keep your conversation volume to a minimum, as other passengers may be trying to sleep.

  • The person in the middle seat is entitled to both armrests.

  • When it comes to carry-ons, small purses, bags, and jackets should go under the seat in front of you. Carry-ons with wheels should go into the overhead containers wheels-first. Once everyone has boarded, if there’s extra space in the overhead bins, you can put your smaller items next to or on top of your wheeled bag.

  • Don’t move someone’s bag in the overhead bin without permission from the owner. If you need help finding space for your bag, ask a flight attendant.

  • If you choose to remove your shoes during a long flight, be sure to put them back on if you’re going to walk around because airplane floors are often filthy.

  • Listen to the directions given by the flight attendants, even if you find them “inconvenient.”

Check out our complete list of best Jetiquette practices here.

Join us in making travel better for all by taking the Jetiquette Pledge. The best way to contribute to our Jetiquette campaign is to practice your best manners while you’re getting to where you’re going.

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