Last updated: 12:57 PM ET, Thu August 11 2016

New Airline Etiquette Survey: What Does It Mean for Business Travelers?

Business Travel | Gabe Zaldivar | June 21, 2016

New Airline Etiquette Survey: What Does It Mean for Business Travelers?

Photo courtesy of Thinsktock

It’s time for a crash course in manners – an airline cotillion for the business traveler if you will.

Travel Leaders Group surveyed 3,431 consumers over the course of about a month on what they might do during possible moments that take place in-flight.

The survey examines airplane etiquette over the expanse of some very specific possibilities. Naturally, corporate travelers are among the most prolific travelers in the nation, so we encourage you to play along from home.

The survey is more than a bunch of numbers but an unspoken rulebook in the realm of seat usage, mobile devices and in-flight fisticuffs.

The study is particularly helpful to the business traveler, because it gives the many road warriors that log so many miles a sense of what travelers in general are thinking.

The moment you step on the plane your immediate attention is drawn to the flight’s Wi-Fi offering and the amount of leg room you can work with at your seat.

But perhaps there are actual moments you should consider before they happen as an ambassador for your respective brand or company.

It’s easy to let cynicism set in when one flight blends into another. With the latest TLG findings, we all get a sense of what passengers would do if, say, a couple of knuckleheads get into a heated argument.

According to the survey, over 73 percent are more than willing to take a pacified approach and let the attendants do their job. Only 7.8 percent are willing to be John Q. Hero.

Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko explained that nearly 800 million Americans flew last year. And, as Chacko puts it, this number led to countless missteps: “That means there are plenty of opportunities for travelers, perhaps unknowingly, to commit a gaffe – from the constant tapping on the seatback monitor to reclining so much that it's uncomfortable for the passenger behind you.”

And for you the importance is crucial, because it’s not like Vegas at 35,000 for you. What happens on that plane doesn’t stay there. In fact, it can come back to haunt or hurt you with your employers.

And according to a recent study, your myriad trips are take a physical toll on your body. So learn to relax and invest in noise-canceling headphones.

Sometimes it pays to let things play out with the officials who are paid to monitor the flight bearing the majority of the responsibility.

As you see in the survey, many are content to simply grin and bear whatever the flight gives them. Presumably, this means grimacing in absolute frustration at other people being boisterous or rude, including children (Nearly 55 percent would let an attendant handle a rude child).

Chacko continues: “Not surprisingly, a vast majority would let the flight crew handle any in-flight disagreements – and there have been a few as of late. But in many other instances, there aren't clearly defined right and wrong answers on how to handle particular situations. Patience, civility, common sense, self-awareness and courtesy toward others all contribute dramatically toward in making any travel experience better, all around.”

When it comes to reclining seats, there is far more reason to let your voice be heard, it seems. The survey illustrates that a healthy majority would most certainly speak up if the seat in front of you caused you discomfort.

The same goes for loud music, video games and movies. People are far more inclined to negate the call button and just ask for their neighbor to be politer themselves.

It makes sense when you consider it looks rather foolish to call an attendant only to tell that attendant to speak to the person that is right next to you.

The study means it’s absolutely fine to let your comfort be at the center of your packed business itinerary.

Don’t feel that you need to shy away from confrontation, especially when you have the seatback down and your laptop powered on.

As the survey shows, it’s what can be expected from other travelers. When it comes to fights, it’s better to leave that to the professionals.  


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