November 26, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Airplane Etiquette

Check in early. Stay hydrated. Bring hand sanitizer. Consolidate credit card and hotel points. Thanks Points Guy or USA Today; should I be taking notes?

Simply put, there’s nothing glamorous or exciting about commercial air travel, especially domestically in the US. Although sitting between a Lager Lout and a ginger Scouse on an EasyJet flight from Luton Airport to Barcelona is hardly any better — except that you end up in Barcelona, instead of in Cleveland.

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So I thought I’d share with you the accumulated wisdom of my years spent traversing the globe — a definitive guide to making air travel palatable for you and those around you:

  1. Don’t fly an airline where your checked bags might cost more than your seat.
  2. No first-class selfies.
  3. Only use Frequent Flyer miles for upgrades or international flights.
  4. Wear TSA-friendly shoes. If you show up to airport security in Converse high tops, you’re an asshole.
  5. If they have Wi-Fi, don’t use it. You’ll end up doing exactly what you do at your desk. Watch a movie. Read a book. Tune out and shut off.
  6. If you have checked baggage, when you land, stop at a bar and have a drink on your way to baggage claim.
  7. Unless you are flying first class internationally, never eat the food, period.
  8. If the flight is less than four hours and you have to take a dump, you’re an idiot.
  9. If you get stuck with a middle seat, take the next flight.
  10. If you are afraid of flying, listen to Britney Spears on takeoff. No one is destined to die like that.
  11. If you bring a favorite pillow from home, I’m assuming you had an abortion in high school.
  12. Pre-gaming with Bloody Mary’s sounds awesome, but the sodium is a killer at high altitude.
  13. Be nice to the stewardess; she got drunk and passed out at the Midway Hotel in Newark last night.
  14. Take advantage of the #1 rule of air travel: no matter what time it is, it’s always acceptable to drink.
  15. If there is a male steward, always keep your seat belt buckled. You don’t want him with his hands in your lap when you are passed out before landing.
  16. I already have enough friends, don’t talk to me. And I don’t want your business card either.
  17. Unless it’s to a remote island, the word “Connection” should not appear on your itinerary.
  18. Have the stewardess fill up the water glass with wine too, or just ask her for two glasses. You’ll be doing her a favor.
  19. Never drive yourself to the airport when your flight is over two hours. Odds are, you’ll be getting off the return flight smashed.
  20. When flying internationally, befriend one of the male stewards. They know the best clubs and how to get drugs.
  21. When you squeeze by me, don’t give me “the ass” or “the crouch”; just don’t get up. If you must, allow me time to move into the aisle to make way for you.
  22. Louis Vuitton in Economy class. No matter how you look at it, your priorities are screwed up.
  23. The easiest way to figure out if a girl is marriage material is if she brings a hairdryer in her suitcase. You know she’s never seen the inside of a Four Seasons.
  24. Don’t Facebook check-in at the American Express Centurion lounge. Willy Loman gets lounge access today.
  25. Sorry HTO, ACK, and MVY, if it’s got propellers, it doesn’t count as a private plane.
  26. Spare change should never be the reason for holding up the security line. Just don’t keep change, period.
  27. The exit row is first-class for poor people.
  28. Don’t ask me to switch seats with you, unless you are offering me a better seat.
  29. Don’t leave home without Ciprofloxacin… and Ambien, Xanax, and Klonopin.

John LeFevre is the creator of @GSElevator, the founder of a fashion line that hates statement socks, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Straight To Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, And Billion-Dollar Deals, currently in development as a major motion picture.

John LeFevre

John LeFevre

Former banker (NYC, London, HK), social media character (GSElevator), and bestselling author (Straight To Hell)

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