11 things you shouldn’t do on a plane


When we board a plane, the goal is simple: to get to our destination as safely and pleasantly as possible. But sometimes we get in our own way. To be a safer and more courteous traveler, don’t make the following 11 airplane mistakes.

Avoiding some of these behaviors will keep you from getting on your fellow flyers’ nerves; avoiding others could even save your life.

1. Try a new medication for the first time

Where would you rather be when you discover that Ambien makes you hallucinate or that you’re allergic to your new iron supplement – at home, with easy access to your doctor and a local hospital, or in a metal tube hurtling 35,000 feet above the Pacific? Never take a medicine in flight that you haven’t already taken for a test run at home.

2. Tune out the safety briefing

I know – the briefing is boring, you’ve heard it a million times, and you already know how to buckle a seat belt. As tedious as it seems, though, the information could save your life one day. At the very least, take a few seconds to figure out where the nearest emergency exit is and how many rows away it is from your seat.

3. Joke about bombs

No one is going to laugh at your one-liner about guns, weapons or anything else that could be taken as threatening – particularly not the flight attendants, who have the power to remove you from a flight if they think there’s even the slightest chance you might pose a security risk.

4. Recline your seat during mealtimes

One of the biggest debates in the travel world is whether it’s okay to recline your seat. Whichever side of the issue you take, I think all of us can agree that once the food and drink carts start rolling down the aisles, it’s only courteous to make sure your seat is upright so the person behind you can have full access to his or her tray.

5. Drink too much

No one will complain if you have a glass of wine with dinner, but overindulging in alcohol can have consequences ranging from dehydration to even getting kicked off the plane for disorderly behavior. Remember: No one wants to sit next to the guy who reeks of alcohol, passes out on your shoulder or throws up on your shoes.

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