The modern gentleman's guide to air travel

Guy in airportShutterstockNext time you take a flight, wear a blazer — you’ll feel and look much better.

You can’t check your responsibility for proper travel etiquette at the gate.

From the laws of the armrest to the unofficial dress code, here are a few things every guy should know before stepping onto a plane.

Drink, but don’t get drunk.

Sure, plenty of people imbibe in the airport and on the plane, but this is not a night on the town. You’re travelling — there’s absolutely no reason to overdo it.

Plus, flying dehydrates you. Have a glass of water in between cocktails.

Don’t use the aeroplane bathroom if you can help it.

Unless you have some kind of medical issue, a flight under four hours shouldn’t require a trip to the lavatory. (Yet another reason to drink lightly.) Leave it open for those who really need it, like the elderly or parents with small children.

Respect armrest etiquette.

There’s an unofficial code governing armrest ownership on aeroplanes. In a row of three seats, the middle seat gets ownership of the two adjacent rests. Those in aisle and window seats can lean to the left or right.

In rows of two or five, all bets are off. These armrests are usually first come, first served.

Don’t recline your seat.

The fact that your seat can recline doesn’t mean that it should recline. Why would you do this? It only makes your seat slightly more comfortable and it makes the seats of those beside and behind you extremely uncomfortable. Not only that, the people affected by your seat recline often end up reclining their own seats and spreading the misery.

Those in the back row have it the worst, as their seats don’t recline. NEVER recline your seat if you’re in the second to last row.

Don’t stuff your entire life into a carry-on.

There’s a lot to be said for packing light, but it’s never wise to pack as much as you can into a piece of luggage that fits the minimum carry-on requirements.

Spend the extra $US25 and make your life way easier by checking a suitcase that actually fits all of your stuff. You won’t be taking up a ton of space in the overhead compartment and the entire plane will appreciate it.

Don’t dress like a slob.

Resist the urge to wear sweatpants for your 7 a.m. flight. You’ll look better and feel more refreshed if you dress up for your excursion. No one is asking you to wear a full suit (this isn’t the 1950s), but a pair of nice pants or a blazer can go a long way.

Always move as quickly as possible.

When moving through the airport, boarding your plane, grabbing your luggage, and deplaning, always make haste. Little things like carrying your suitcase in the aisle instead of rolling it, putting it in the overhead with the handle facing out, keeping to the right on moving footpaths, and moving through security as quickly as possible can all add up to potential relief for your fellow travellers.

Though you might not be rushing to a tight connection, you can bet someone behind you probably is. Be polite and don’t dawdle.

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