Would you do this on a plane?

September 20, 2022 8:56 am in by

As we take to the skies again for our holidays – especially internationally – it’s becoming tricky to know how to behave on a plane. 

One wrong move and you risk being shared and shamed in a TikTok video for the whole world to judge.

I think we can all agree that sticking your shoeless feet on the armrest of the passenger in front of you is a massive no-no, as is flinging your hair between your seat and into the meal of the person sitting behind you.

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But what’s the etiquette when it comes to reclining your seat, sharing your armrest or letting neighbours know you need to get up to go to the toilet?

It seems everyone has a different opinion, as a recent survey from Compare The Market website shows.

Matej Kastelic/

To recline or not to recline, that is the question 

The survey shows that around 54% of us Aussies choose not to recline our seats out of respect for the passenger behind us.

And 29% say they would choose to recline their seat even if there’s someone behind them.

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It’s tricky, because you want to be able to relax but you don’t want to make someone else intentionally uncomfortable either.

How strong is your bladder?

If your flight’s long enough, you’ll likely have to use the toilet at some stage. Which generally means disrupting fellow passengers unless you’re on the aisle.

Most of us (around 57%) will happily ask fellow passengers to stand and let us out to use the loo.

But about a third of us (30%) would rather just squish past our row mates while they’re seated in order to get out. How seriously awkward is that though? You’ll have to put either your groin or your bottom in their face as you do it – first when you get out and again when you come back – and you’re probably going to step on their toes too. No thanks.

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And around 13% of us would rather avoid all conflict and just stay put, cross our legs and hope our bladder can last until we get off the plane. Avoid the drinks cart at all costs!

Plane seats. Thanakorn.P/Shutterstock

The real estate grab exists on planes too

Yes, we’re talking armrests here. Specifically, who gets to use the armrests in the middle?

Most people hate the middle seat. It’s hard not to feel squished with people either side of you, especially when you’re travelling solo and forced to sit next to strangers. No friendly shoulder to rest on.

So it’s good to know most of us have sympathy for the middle seat person – the survey says nearly 68% of us believe the middle passenger deserves to use both armrests. After all, the aisle seat and window seat already have a dedicated armrest.

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What would you do in these situations? Do you think flying has become more stressful?


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