In 1992, I had the good fortune to be hired as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. It was one of the best experiences of my life but it was far from glamorous. On the one hand, it gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons, meet some very interesting people, and travel all over the world. In just one year I went to London, Paris, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dhahran, Cairo, Cayman Islands, and all over the U.S.
The worst part about my job, however, was dealing with rude and unruly passengers. Traveling can be stressful especially during these tough economic times, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave your manners at home. Here are my top ten business etiquette travel tips:
1. Dress well. You never know who might meet at the airport, in the car rental line, or on the airplane. A stranger may turn out to be your next client or customer.
2. Keep your voice low and wear headphones when watching movies or listening to music on your electronic device.
3. Respect your seat mate’s personal space. Keep your bags, laptop, newspaper, e-reader, arms, legs, and elbows in your immediate area.
4. Be prepared. Have your i.d. and boarding pass ready when you approach security.
5. Check your bulky bags. Don’t hold up the boarding process by trying to cram your oversize roller board into an overhead bin the size of a glove compartment.
6. Be kind to your flight attendants and others who serve you. You can tell a person’s true character by the way he or she treats someone in a service position.
7. Be courteous and allow passengers in the seats in front of you deplane first.
8. If you see someone struggling to get their bag in or out of the overhead bin, offer to help.
9. Open the overhead bin carefully and slowly. Items may have shifted during flight and may fall and injure someone.
10. Be careful not to recline your seat all the way if you know the person behind you is trying to work on his or her laptop or eat a meal.
Bonus tip: And please…when the flight attendant tells you to turn off your cell phone, do so immediately. Don’t keep talking and risk delaying the flight for yourself and the other passengers.
Do you have any tips to add? If so, I’d love to read your comments.