Tips For Avoiding In-Flight Fisticuffs

Earlier this week, a dispute over a reclined seat on board a United Airlines flight escalated to the point where fighter jets were brought in. But just because you’re trapped inside a flying metal tube along with hundreds of other tense, tired passengers doesn’t mean you have to give in to air rage.

Over at SmartMoney.com, they spoke to travel advocate Christoper Elliott to get tips on how best to make sure your flight doesn’t break out into a Royal Rumble. Here are some of the highlights:

Be polite and respectful
“I recently had a seat recline incident on a 50-minute flight. I reclined my seat 15 minutes into the flight. I did it in increments. He kicked the back of my seat and made some unrepeatable comments. It made me not want to put my seat into an upright position, but I did. Rather than get into a seat war, I knew we were both tired after our flight.”

Always look before you lean
“People might have a laptop computer or a child or they might be very tall… If you are the ‘leanee,’ tap the person on the shoulder, clear your throat and say, ‘I can’t use my computer if you recline, could you bring it up a little bit.'”

Don’t blind-book a seat
“If you are tall, it may be worth spending extra money to upgrade or to sit next in an exit row. Most seats at the back of the cabin don’t recline.”

Protect your personal space
“If you are a sleeper, bring a pair of earphones as your own personal cloak of invisibility — a signal to others that you want to be left alone — and book a window seat so you are not disturbed if the passenger next to you wants to use the toilet or stretch his/her legs.”

Frequent travelers: What tips have you learned when it comes to being polite about your personal space — and that of your fellow passengers?

5 Tips to Avoid Air Rage [SmartMoney.com]