Ever had a bad experience with a airplane seatmate? Maybe you sat down for your flight, ready to relax, and your neighbor decided to talk your ear off nonstop for the next six hours, steal your armrest, take off their shoes, or perform some other egregious offense. (C’mon, I know this hasn’t only happened to me.) But who exactly is in the wrong? Well, it depends on your nationality, a new survey says.
About 83 percent of travelers reported sharing a quick hello and a smile is appropriate, but 42 percent of U.S. travelers felt personal stories to be out of the question.
British Airways asked 1,500 travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy about what’s appropriate in terms of in-flight etiquette—and the results varied from country to country. About 83 percent of travelers reported that sharing a quick hello and a smile is appropriate, but 42 percent of U.S. travelers felt personal stories to be out of the question. The majority of Italians (80 percent) and the French (50 percent), on the other hand, didn’t mind small talk and thought it to be totally appropriate (and even a great way to meet a new friend).
When it comes to getting out of a conversation though, that’s a whole different story: U.S. travelers believed the most polite method is thanking the person and then putting in headphones, while U.K. travelers claimed a bathroom break is the way to go, in hopes that their neighbor gets the hint that they don’t want to chat. (Hey, why not just head to the toilet and return with your headphones in? That should do the trick, right?)
The survey also looked into some other in-flight faux pas. In terms of the all-too-common stinky-feet situation, 87 percent of people didn’t think it was appropriate to remove socks during the flight, but 59 percent said it’s okay to take off shoes. And when it comes to the armrest, 67 percent of travelers agreed you should only take one and leave the other.
Last but certainly not least, let’s circle back to bathroom use: If you really need to go, 80 percent of people said waking up your neighbor is fine—but just stick to one time, if possible, because 40 percent claimed that to be the limit.
Now, if only everyone would jot down these tips and keep them in mind during their next flight, right? Or maybe British Airways should just do all fliers a solid include the list with the safety card on its planes.
The next time you travel, try the in-flight skin-care routine celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas swears by. Or, make this in-flight adjustment to help curb jet lag.
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