17 Unbreakable Rules of Flight Etiquette, According to Lifehacker Readers

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Flights are for movies, books, and music. Flights are not for catching up with old friends:

“Don’t stand in the aisle to talk to your friend sitting a row apart. You two might be friends, but you’re a stranger invading my personal space for the entire conversation.” —Dixie-Flatline

Additionally, it’s okay to be apart from your travel partner for the duration of the flight. Lifehacker readers have some strong opinions about seat arrangements for airlines that do a “cattle call” style of seat selection, including Southwest.

“If you’re on Southwest, an empty seat is an available seat. Period. If you somehow boarded long before the rest of your group, then you run the risk of not sitting with them. If you want to sit with them, either board with them or sit beyond a ton of empty rows to cover those getting on between you and your group, but remember that you still don’t have exclusive rights to the row you’re in even if you sat at the back of the plane. Getting on early doesn’t give you permission to reserve rows for your group. Many people will be nice if you politely ask if they could sit elsewhere since you have someone coming but it is not your right to say ‘this seat is taken,’ let alone require someone to sit elsewhere. If they’re persistent, it’s on you to find another seat with the availability you’re looking for.” —[redacted]

“My Southwest gripe: If I’m alone and seated in an aisle or window seat, don’t ask me to give it up so you can sit with your significant other. I’ll gladly move for parents with children, but you can go for 90 minutes with not being seated next to your boyfriend/girlfriend. Learn to be apart.” —prayformojo98

The comment above touches on the obvious exception to this rule, which is keeping a parent with their child (or someone with whatever type of caretaker they need).

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