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7 rules for flying like a modern gentleman

Tech Insider logo Tech Insider 5/12/2016 Dennis Green

© Provided by Business Insider Inc You can't check your responsibility for proper travel etiquette at the gate.

From who gets the armrest to flying's unofficial dress code, there are a few rules every guy should know when he travels on an airplane.

These aren't laws — no one's going to put you in jail for violating armrest etiquette. But if every guy followed them, the airplane would be a much happier place.

You can drink, but don't go overboard.

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Sure, plenty of people imbibe in the airport and on the plane, but this is not a night out on the town. You're traveling — there's absolutely no reason to overdo it.

Plus, flying already dehydrates you. Have a glass of water in between cocktails.

Try not to use the plane's bathroom if you can help it.

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Unless you have some kind of medical issue, a flight under three hours shouldn't require a trip to the lavatory — yet another reason to drink lightly. Leave it open for those who really need it, like the elderly or parents with small children.

Plus, think of how dirty the airplane bathroom is. Best avoided.

Don't recline your seat.

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The fact that your seat can recline doesn't mean that it should. Reclining only makes your seat slightly more comfortable while making the passenger behind you so much more uncomfortable. Not only that, but the people affected by your seat recline often end up reclining their own seats, starting a pointless chain of recline.

Those in the back row as well as the emergency exit row have it the worst, as their seats don't go back at all. 

Respect armrest etiquette.

There's an unofficial code governing armrest ownership on airplanes — and it's not always first-come, first-serve. In a row of three seats, the middle seat gets ownership of both adjacent rests. Those in aisle and window seats can lean to the left or right.

In rows of two or five, all bets are off. These middle armrests are usually for whoever is faster, larger, or more tenacious.

Don't stuff your entire life into a carry-on.

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There's a lot to be said for packing light, but it's never wise to overstuff a piece of luggage that's too small just to fit the minimum carry-on requirements.

Spend the extra $25 and make your life easier by checking a suitcase that actually fits all of your stuff. You won't be taking up a ton of space in the overhead compartment, and the entire plane will appreciate it.

Don't dress like a slob.

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Resist the urge to wear sweatpants for your 7 a.m. flight. You'll look better and feel more refreshed if you dress respectably for your excursion. No one is asking you to wear a full suit — this isn't the 1950s — but a pair of nice pants, button-up shirt, or a blazer can go a long way.

Always move as quickly as possible.

When moving through the airport, boarding your plane, grabbing your luggage, and deplaning, always make haste. Little things like carrying your suitcase in the aisle instead of rolling it, putting it in the overhead with the handle facing out, continuing to walk on moving sidewalks, and moving through security as quickly as possible can all add up to potential relief for your fellow travelers.

Though you might not be rushing to a tight connection, you can bet someone behind you is. Be polite and don't dawdle.

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