Column: Not looking forward to holiday travel? Here are some tips for peaceful holiday flights


Commentary by Beverly Randolph

We have all been there-jammed in our airplane seat like sardines wanting use of an arm rest while sitting between Chatty Cathies and needing to use the restroom that has been occupied for too long during beverage service.  What to do?  This holiday season, try these suggestions en route to grandmother’s house.


  • Carry and use cleaning wipes, especially during flu season.
  • When traveling with children, bring plenty of books, games, snack to help keep them occupied.  Walking the galley helps.  Change diapers in the restroom.  Imagine being a child; be patient.
  • Pack your own headphones.
  • Take everything out of your pockets, and anything you think will set off the x-ray machine, such as a metal belt, and put contents in a bag or the pocket of a coat.  Then, quickly collect items and move to another area to put on shoes, belt, etc.


  • When embarking, carry your bag in front of you low to the ground.
  • Grab the luggage compartment above your head instead of grabbing the back of the seat.
  • Greet your neighbor and gauge his temperament.  Minimal feedback may indicate lack of interest.  If you strike up quite the conversation and it exceeds 10 minutes, you may wish to go to the back of the plane.
  • As best you can, share the arm rest. Watch elbows spilling over while reading or using a laptop.
  • Keep items close to you.
  • Read your own material.
  • Look behind you before reclining. Warn your neighbor so they can arrange their drink or devices; recline slowly.
  • Avoid strong perfume, etc.
  • Think ahead when planning your bathroom breaks. If you see a flight attendant with a cart in the aisle, stay put.


  • Simply put, be mindful of what you are doing and how it impacts others.

Safe travels!

Do you have any other travel etiquette tips not mentioned above? Share them and any other etiquette questions you have.

Beverly Randolph, MA, is the Founder & Director of The Protocol School of Indianapolis and a certified Business Etiquette, Children’s Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant. Beverly lives in Carmel and is an Adjunct Instructor at Marian University teaching business-related courses.  Have any etiquette dilemmas? For more information, email Beverly at [email protected], call 317-430-5696, and/or visit