Expert tips to remember before your next flight

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Make your next flight as smooth as possible with these expert etiquette tips.

Whether you’ve started traveling or planning to travel in the near future, the pandemic has introduced a new set of travel behaviors, rules and restrictions to help respect people’s sense of safety and comfort as we let’s go back to the sky.

To find out if you’re packing all of the correct protocols with your passport, here’s a list of dos and don’ts in the age of post-COVID theft:

Do: be respectful, kind and helpful

This applies to all airline staff – from the person at the check-in counter to flight attendants, other passengers and everyone in between. This industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and it is only slowly coming back to business.

Simple gestures like greeting passengers next to you with a simple “hello” when you sit down can also be very helpful. For many people, this may be their first flight in years, so the slightest help can make the trip even more enjoyable.

Don’ts: Assume everything is the same as it was before 2020

Just because the airport can look the same as it did on your last trip, a lot of things are actually quite different. Go with an open mind and be flexible. It starts from the moment you register and are asked for your vaccine status, COVID test results and more.

In flight, the little things suddenly got big: staying in aisles, overcrowded kitchens, and snuggling in front of bathrooms is a big no-no. Accept these changes and, most importantly, remember that your comfort level doesn’t automatically equal someone else’s.

Young male traveler wearing a prevention mask while flying inside an airplane

Wearing a mask throughout your flight is an easy way to be respectful of your neighbors. (Getty Images)

Do: wear your mask

It bears repeating. Wear your mask throughout the flight when you are not eating, drinking, or taking medication. Always remember that wearing your mask not only protects you, but also those around you can be vulnerable to serious complications.

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Don’ts: judge quickly

If someone’s actions don’t immediately match what you might agree to, use your judgment. Show patience, understanding and sympathy. For example, if it takes your traveling companion a few extra minutes to put on their mask after eating, so be it. If the person sitting next to you doesn’t want to strike up a conversation, accept it and reduce the chatter to a minimum. Don’t take it personally. The proximity of the seats, for many people, can still be intimidating.

Do: Practice Patience

Everyone knows walking through the airport maze is painful, even on a good day. Add to that the COVID protocols and that is enough to make you completely change your mind about travel. However, being patient up front and anticipating wait times and additional protocols can really mean the difference between a positive and a negative experience. Not just for you, but for everyone.

Side view of people traveling by commercial airplane, queuing at airport terminal, holding luggage.

Patience is a must at every step of your journey. (Getty Images)

And most importantly, don’t travel if you’re not ready

If leaving still makes you uncomfortable, consider delaying your trip. There are a lot of new rules and you may or may not be comfortable with the changes. Try to anticipate your needs and act accordingly. For example, if you decide to travel but have some hesitation, perhaps consider upgrading your seat on one of your first post-COVID flights if you need more space and / or accommodation.

The pandemic has rewritten the rules for the way we travel, at least for the foreseeable future. Approaching travel with an open mindset, recognizing the changes that have taken place and respecting them will certainly go a long way in making not only your travels more enjoyable, as well as those around you.

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