How Not to Be Rude on an Airplane

modern plane etiquette

Not long ago, I was on a plane, stuck in the back and anxious to get off.

Nearly everyone on the plane whipped out their cell phones as soon as we landed, myself included, to tell a loved one we had arrived. Perfectly acceptable.

However, one lady continued her conversation about nothing important — I know because the whole plane could hear — as she collected her stuff to go. She went back a few rows to get her bag, all the while cradling her phone between her ear and shoulder and chatting.

Needless to say, balancing the phone while talking and grabbing her bag from the overhead bin wasn’t the speediest process. It struck me as extremely inconsiderate to all the people waiting to deplane. Some people may have had transfers to catch.

That girl would probably say that the plane didn’t deplane any slower because of her. She’d be right. She walked quickly and caught up with the person walking ahead of her at the front of the plane.

But that doesn’t matter. It was still disrespectful to everyone behind her. Whenever we are on the phone, we’re more focused on the person on the phone, who isn’t present, than the actual people surrounding us. In her lack of attention, this girl very well could have, and nearly did, slow the process of exiting for everyone. What she was essentially saying to all of us left on the plane is this: My call is more important than your time.

My advice: Make a quick call when the phone lands if needed, then put up the phone and focus on the task at hand: getting off the plane quickly and efficiently, so others can do the same.

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