August 26, 2019

The 6 Rules of Business Traveler Etiquette

Let’s face it — business travel can and will be stressful. But following proper travel etiquette can make the experience far better for you and those around you.

TripActions Chief Travel Officer Nancy Atkinson recently offered up some tips on business traveler etiquette to Real Simple magazine alongside other business travel leaders. We’ve highlighted Nancy’s top tips for business travel etiquette to ensure everyone’s trip is less turbulent. While you can’t control other travelers, these recommendations will help you never be that person:

Be nice to the gate agent

Being nice should be a given, but let’s reiterate. Gate agents have a huge job, making sure everyone gets on the airplane safely and the flight departs on time. When they’re dealing with irregular operational issues it only makes matters worse if you’re the one yelling in line “Don’t you know who I am?!”

Board the plane bag-forward

When boarding, carry your purse or bag in front of you and (especially!) watch your backpacks. Other passengers’ heads, shoulders, and arms are unsuspecting targets as you and your belongings make your way down the aisle. It’ll also speed up boarding if you’re not apologizing for each bonk along the way.

Use the overhead space associated with your row

Passengers should not place their bags in a row toward the front of the aircraft for fear of not having a space near their seat. This move utilizes the space designated for a passenger seated in that row. On the same token, unless your flight is abnormally underbooked, limit one item to the overhead bin. While stowing all your belongings above may get you some extra inches of legroom, it’s rude to the other passengers looking for space to stow at least one of their bags.

Not the room to groom

Does this even need an explanation? Personal grooming should never, ever happen on an airplane. Clipping toenails, flossing, and/or nail filing are especially egregious. Airplanes are shared spaces and potential petri dishes for germs. Do your best to keep your genetic materials to yourself. If you absolutely must, take your grooming needs to the lavatory.

Don’t cut the line

When the seatbelt sign turns off and it’s time to deboard the plane, don’t rush for the front — unless the cabin crew has offered that for individuals with tight connections. Everyone has somewhere to be and the process works better and more efficiently if we all merge into the aisle, row by row. If you bolt to the front, you just create a traffic jam and slow down the entire deboarding process for everyone.

Do your global citizen homework

When it comes to traveling international, especially for a professional engagement, it is of the utmost importance to remember that you are a visitor. Take it upon yourself ahead of time to research the customs, culture, and other details of the new country you’re visiting ahead of time. You want to positively represent yourself, your organization, and road warriors everywhere.

Wherever your business travel may take you, TripActions hopes these business traveler etiquette tips will ease some of the aches and pains that can come with regular travel.