5 Rudest Things You Can Do On an Airplane

Few people enjoy spending time in a tight place with strangers. Unfortunately, that’s often what happens every time we board an airplane.

These uncomfortable and awkward situations can be miserable, especially if the passenger behaves rudely. The last thing we want is for you to be the inconsiderate one.

Today, we’re sharing five of the rudest things you can do on an airplane.

Let’s take off!

Don’t Be Rude on an Airplane

You need to be on your best behavior when you step into the confined space of an airplane cabin. Doing so helps ensure you and your fellow passengers have an enjoyable experience.

Sadly, some people fail to get this memo and aren’t mindful of those around them.

We’ve seen our fair share of rude behavior on domestic and international flights. As a result, we encourage you and those traveling with you to behave appropriately and respect others.

Doing so can help ensure everyone has a pleasant flight and arrives at their destination in good spirits.

What Happens if You Are Rude on an Airplane?

Being rude on an airplane can be a significant mistake and cost you dearly. Depending on your behavior, the crew could request that the pilot make an emergency landing. If they do, you’ll likely have a welcoming committee from the local police department. As you might expect, they won’t be throwing you a party, but you’ll likely end up behind bars.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigates these situations seriously. Rude passengers can face jail time and fines.

FAA officials recently reported to CNN that passengers can face penalties of up to $37,000 per incident. However, these are extreme instances and are relatively rare occurrences.

On the other hand, your rude behavior doesn’t always have to require law enforcement to land you in hot water. The flight crew can report you to the airline’s corporate officials, who could land you on their no-fly list.

This could create issues if you have a return flight with the same airline and prevent you from traveling on certain airlines in the future.

5 Rudest Things You Can Do On an Airplane

Whether on a short or long flight, you don’t want to behave yourself. Here are five rude things you should avoid while on an airplane.

Reclining Your Seat

It’s no secret that most airlines try to squeeze every inch of space out of their aircraft. This means that it’s typically a tight fit for most passengers once they take their seats. As a result, one of the rudest things you can do is to recline your seat.

While this may help you to get a bit more comfortable, it takes away space from the person behind you. Generally, a good rule is to not recline your seat on flights shorter than two hours. However, it’s fair game if you notice the person behind you has reclined their seat.

A close up shot of the recline button of an airplane seat.

Hogging Armrests

Like at the movie theater, some passengers get territorial over the armrests. This may not be a big deal if you’re sitting next to a friend or other loved one. However, it can be somewhat uncomfortable if a stranger is occupying them.

Just like reclining your seat, there’s a general rule of thumb that applies to these types of situations. Typically, the person sitting in the middle seat gets to use both armrests.

It’s one of the only benefits of the middle seat, especially if you’re stuffed between strangers. If they’re not using the armrest, you can politely ask if they mind you using it.

End the Debate: Who Gets the Armrests on a Flight?

Being the Stinky Passenger 

Another rude behavior that you want to avoid is being the stinky passenger. Nobody wants to smell your obnoxious shoes, food, or body odor.

Keep your shoes on, be careful what you eat on the plane, and practice good hygiene. Being stuck in a flying metal tube with a noxious-smelling passenger will ruin the experience for everyone.

A person eating a sandwich on a plane while watching TV.

Being Excessively Loud

The next rude behavior you want to avoid is being excessively loud while on the plane. The effects of the pressurized cabin and high altitude can do some funny things to your ears.

This can cause you to talk, laugh, or listen to your electronics much louder than intended. While you may not realize it, those sitting around you certainly will.

Pack your headphones for the flight if you plan to listen to music or use portable electronics. While you may be a Swiftie, nobody wants to hear Shake It Off or Bad Blood on repeat. If they did, they would likely have brought their headphones.

A person listening to their phone on an airplane without headphones. A really rude behavior to do.

Asking To Switch Seats When It’s Not Beneficial to the Other Person

Our final rude behavior that you should avoid is requesting other passengers to switch seats, especially if it’s not beneficial to them.

It is your responsibility to book the seats you need for your party. However, we will give some grace to those flying on Southwest Airlines as they have open seating based on when you check in for your flight.

If you need to ask someone to switch seats, ensure you offer them an equal or better seat. You can’t expect anyone to want to trade their window seat up front for your middle seat in the back.

Additionally, don’t get mad if someone rejects your offer. They’re under no obligation to accept your request.

Be Friendly in the Friendly Skies

Rude behavior on a flight can make a short flight feel like a long one. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of it, you know what we’re talking about.

The entire experience can be miserable, and you’ll be counting the minutes until you arrive at your destination.

While you can’t control others’ behavior, you can control yours. So make sure you’re as friendly as possible.

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