Air travel has its own charm for desi travellers who have grown up watching planes in the sky to actually boarding one. Flights have become more accessible to Indians and the number of Indians travelling by air is increasing every year. However, accessibility to premium travel does not ensure that travel etiquettes too are learnt quickly. Sad as it may sound, politeness, courtesy and patience are some words that are not synonymous with Indian fliers. If you do not identify yourself as such a traveller, please re-check if you have ever engaged in any of these activities that have the potential to invite trouble for you:
1. Carried alcohol in that small cold drink bottle
Alcohol is not allowed in hand baggage on domestic flights. You may carry up to 5 litres of alcohol in your check-in baggage, but certainly cannot take it with you inside the plane. Clearly, you are prohibited from drinking in flight. Even if you are not drinking after boarding, but thought that it was a good idea to get intoxicated and have some kind of fun in flight, It would be advisable to keep the fun limited to yourself and not let other passengers know that you are up to no go good. Why? Because Ministry of Civil Aviation recognises it as a Level 1 offence, and you can be banned from flying for up to three months.
2. Expressed your desires to a pretty air hostess
A polite conversation is never a problem and neither complementing a pretty person is an offence. But be careful of how you express your emotions. If the attendant is not comfortable with your remark stop at once. Lewd remarks, physical gestures and describing your friend an attendant's body parts inappropriately, are Level 1 offences that can keep you away from seeing any air hostesses for the next three months.
3. Abused another passenger
It is quite understandable that it is not easy to share close personal space with people who are different from you. Their statements, choice of food and clothes may disturb you. If they do, tolerate your lack of consideration for others for a few hours in the flight, exactly the same way others have been tolerating you. Do not abuse them or use a derogatory slang, unless you wish to share your personal space with a larger group of people travelling along with you on any other mode of transport. Verbal harassment is a Level 1 offence.
4. Touched other passengers
A physical touch may have different connotations in different cultures. It is not a good idea to touch people without their permission, in whatever way you mean it. And of course, if you are slapping or punching someone on a flight, you shouldn't be surprised if you are banned from flying for six months. Physically abusive behaviour is a Level II offence, punishable with a ban of up to six months.
5. Announced that there is a bomb in the flight
Unless there is an actual bomb in the flight, you cannot raise an alarm that can lead to panic and confusion. Any action that threatens the life of a passenger is a Level III offence which may lead to even a lifetime ban from flying.
6. Opened the exit door instead of the lavatory door
This may sound funny, but this incidence has happened quite a few times that an innocent passenger opened an exit door looking for the toilet. If you are not sure about how things function on a flight, don't shy away from asking the help of other passengers or the crew. It might be embarrassing for once, but it certainly won't be life threatening. Threatening the life of fellow passengers is a Level III offence that can put you away from flying forever or even land you in a jail.
7. Physically damaged the aircraft
Chipping, scratching, thumping are natural hand movements when you are bored. While these are involuntary acts which shouldn't be harmless, you never know what damage it may cause to the flight. Minor acts of wear and tear are usually ignorable but if you intentionally or unintentionally damage any part of the aircraft, you may be banned from flying for lifetime, as it is a Level III offence.
8. Carried a power bank in the check-in luggage
If you forget that you are carrying a power bank in your check-in luggage, and go ahead to board your flight, you are up for some minor trouble. You will either be called back to identify your luggage and take the power bank out of your luggage or your luggage will be held at the airport and not be carried to your destination. When you realise that your luggage has not arrive at the destination airport, you will have to retrace it. You will need to give a confirmation to the airport staff to open your luggage, take out that power bank and send your luggage in the next flight. Convenient isn't it? That process follows for any other object that is not permitted in the check-in luggage.
So, now that you know all this, you can happily jump over to board that flight, push fellow passengers in the queue, take their overhead space for the larger than life suitcase that you are carrying as hand-luggage, and tell them everything about your musical taste and personal life. Because that is not punishable at all. But do not feel bad the next time someone says that you lack travel etiquettes.