Air travel etiquette and cultural values

Back in March, I wrote an article titled “Why must that seat recline?” and my further travels have prompted me to rethink my views on the matter. This time I won’t be going on a rant like last time but more so I will talk about how this problem is viewed differently in a couple of other cultures.

Shortly after writing that article I went on my travels once more, this time opting for travel with a group tour on my adventures across Vietnam. Many of my companions in this tour group were American and Australian so this article will come based on the discussions that I have had with them. Now I’m not saying that all Americans and Australians will have this opinion but equally, I’m not saying that they don’t all have this opinion. I’d love to know your opinion on this matter related to air-travel etiquette, whether you feel strongly in one side other the other, it would be great to hear your thoughts.

Now let us get back on track.

In the previous post, I spoke about how there are a small number of people who like to recline their seats, causing inconvenience to the people behind. This is not just my opinion, although I do agree with this, the opinion is that of numerous different individuals. One thing that I did not take into account at that stage is that all of the individuals that I had spoken to were British. Could it be that the aversion to seat recliners is a view that is associated with British culture?

On speaking with my travel companions on this matter, I soon came to know that their views greatly differed to that of my own. The view that I had been given by some of those that I had been travelling with was essentially that of a domino effect – “If the person in front of you reclines their seat then you recline yours, and the person behind you will recline theirs”. This statement is all good in theory, but my response to this domino effect theory is that it assumes everyone is willing to recline their seat, and at a time that is convenient to the person who starts this chain reaction.

Picture this, You are asleep you could wake up to find the seat in front of you too close for comfort or even, you have food/drink on your table the items on your table may spill when the seat in front of you reclines. Would you like if this happened to you?

I guess there are two different viewpoints here

  1. Try not to inconvenience those behind you, which is the dominant view of those I had previously spoken to.
  2. If someone has taken an action, in order for you not to be inconvenienced, you should take that same action, and people behind you will have to make that same choice themselves.

Both views have their own merits and I guess there may not be one overall correct answer.

Heres some food for thought, go business/first class 😉 then you wont need to worry about any of this.

Ok ok, before you all shoot me for making you spend more money, let us bring this post to a close, see you all next time.

Before you go, don’t forget to send me your thoughts; do you think this is a view that is shaped by a person’s culture, or is just something that is based on personal opininon.

Flights Part 2… How to book???

You’re sat there, scratching your head, making your decisions with the following results:

  • Destination… Check
  • Dates… Check
  • Budget… Check
  • Comfort… Check
  • Airline… Check… Sort of… You’ll have an inkling…

Now I’m sure you want to get the deed done, you want to find flights to your next adventure, ok we are getting to that bit now…

Tell me something, how do you normally book your flights? I have a few ways that you can find a flight… keep reading…

1 – The “old fashioned” way via a Travel Agent – You may already be aware of this method, you go to a travel agent on your local high street, tell them where, when, for how long, and you’ll be given the cheapest flight for those dates. In this scenario you can either accept this flight or ask further questions, sometimes this really is the best option as travel agents sometimes have special deals with some airlines so make sure you at least enquiry through this route. 

2 – The “modern” way, in other words using a price comparison website – This is similar to what a travel agents do for you but the “power” is now in your hands. When you go to such websites, you need to enter your travel destination(s) and dates, and you are shown a long list of airlines, departure/arrival dates, and most importantly for some, a range of prices. There are a couple of advantages to this method as follows:

  • As with travel agents price comparison websites sometimes have special deals.
  • You can choose multiple destinations, flying in and out from different places.
  • You can select only airlines that you are willing to use and screen out those that you don’t line.

Here are a few price comparison websites that I use and that you may find useful:

3 – “Go direct” to the airline(s) of your choice – Sometimes it really is about going direct. Your next option is go to your airline of choice’s website site and compare these separately to the price comparison websites. I find this varies from region to region, for example, for travelling to Asia, I prefer using Qatar or Emirates, this is just me, you may have different preferences, but I would always check their websites separately as well as going through price comparison websites. Of course if your preference is budget airlines, Easyjet to many destinations and are worth looking at as well.

Finding flights is not the easiest of tasks but I hope the information that I have given you helps to find your perfect set of flights.

On a final note, food for thought, if you are going travelling and will be going to multiple destinations, you don’t have to book a muti-destination flight. I feel your eye opening wider and your attention peaking. Yes you don’t have to do this multi-destination business, why not try to book multiple individual single flights, you may find this a cheaper option giving you exactly the same flight as you would have via the multi-destination option. Think about it, try it, book it, and let me know how your booking experience was….

Today’s traveller, signing out….

Flights Part 1… What to do???

Having decided on where to go on your next adventure, are you going to fly like an eagle??? Well maybe not like an eagle, hopefully inside a plane? 

If you do then your next challenge will be getting the best value for money on your flight as there are a near infinite number of flights that you can choose from… Where on earth do you begin??? I don’t mean where on earth literally, that would be your home city, you know what I mean…

Now as always, I am going to ask you to make a decision. There are four questions that I am now going to throw at you:

1 – How much are you willing to spend on your flights? If you have a money tree growing in your back garden, then by all means, first class will give you the most luxurious time in flight. If however you feel more like you have a black hole in your pockets and your money doesn’t seem to hang around for very long, then you are more likely to vote for the economy cabin. Ok, we’ll say you’ve chosen economy, you still need to set yourself a budget for how much you are willing to spend. Do you know this figure?

2 – Are you taking a long haul or short haul flight? In other words is it going to be a 200 hour (yes I know a slight exaggeration) marathon flight, or a two hour flight to that place just down there.

3 – Are you more concerned with price or comfort? Is it value for money that you are looking for ? i.e. the cheapest flight available to your destination of choice, or are you looking for a journey where the economy cabin will give you a good nights sleep, FOOOOD, and a tonne of entertainment?

4 – How much baggage do you want to take – Are you a backpacker? Are you a fan of the traditional suitcase, or are you the extreme minimalist. This makes a big difference as if you are a budget flyer you often will only be able to take a small backpack/bag in the cabin without an extra charge, meanwhile. Backpack or suitcase makes a big difference as well with suitcases often being heavier than backpacks (because you can take more) and baggage allowance in general often being 20-30kg, varying between airlines, this is something you will need to consider.

It is essential for you to answer these four questions before booking your flight. All four questions don’t have a fixed answer but there is in fact a spectrum, how much money do you want to spend on travel? How far do you want to go? How important is the cost of the flight to you? How important is comfort to you in-flight? How many “essentials” do you want to take with you?

If you really want to do detailed research then I would suggest going to a website that I have recommended once before. This website will show you data on the airlines, seats, and feedback on various elements of these airlines…

No before you as I am not sponsored by this website, I just feel it gives you good information to help make your journey as comfortable as possible, yes comfort is something that I value…