3:22 p.m. ET, November 22, 2023
It starts with hello: Here are etiquette tips for a smoother flight this Thanksgiving
Travelers wheel luggage toward Spirit Airlines check-in desk at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, on November 21, in Houston.
Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle/Getty Images
Planes are going to be packed. Patience will be tried. Some level of aggravation is all but inevitable. Throw in a seat-kicker, a tipsy stranger and someone who’s blissfully barefoot in November and the Thanksgiving odyssey becomes a little more challenging.
And this year is poised to be a record-setter for air travel
. The Transportation Security Administration expects to screen more people on the Sunday after the holiday (November 26) than any day in its more than 20-year history, and some airlines are expecting their busiest Thanksgiving travel season ever.
It’ll all go more smoothly if every passenger brings some common courtesy along for the ride, so CNN Travel spoke with experts about the best approaches to airplane etiquette.
The missing ingredient, in many cases, is self-awareness. People tend to get wrapped up in their own journey and forget that there’s a whole planeload of other passengers.
“It’s always kind of mind-blowing to see that because it’s my bag, and my overhead bin, and my seat, and my flight, my connection and, you know, my drink, and it’s very me me me when it comes to just how people behave on an airplane.
“And it’s like, there’s hundreds of you,” said Rich Henderson, who’s been a flight attendant for a decade. “You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings, you’ve got to be respectful of the people around you.”
It starts with ‘hello’
Be polite to the flight crew greeting you. “It goes a long way when you’re pleasant to the first person you see on the plane,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas
Andrew Henderson, a flight attendant with 20 years of experience, seconds that notion.
“A simple ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ or acknowledgment of our existence is polite. I think that’s some of the etiquette that’s being lost these days with all the noise-canceling headphones and devices we’re on. We’re all so busy that we forget that humans exist in the world,” said Andrew Henderson.
He is married to Rich Henderson and together they run the website and social media accounts Two Guys on a Plane
, where “the sass is complimentary.”