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Auto Club Tips For Summer Air Etiquette

baggage claim sign in airport

The height of summer vacation season brings veteran and novice travelers together in a potential stress-inducing mixture that can make for a challenging start to a leisure or business trip. Travel specialists at Automobile Club of Southern California have some tips for new air travelers – and reminders for experienced flyers – on how to create a smoother flight for everyone.


“The key for air travelers to enjoy the start of their vacation is attitude,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services. “Yes, there may be delays or other annoyances, but they will be temporary. A bad mood or rudeness will not help and creates a negative situation for other passengers as well.”


The Auto Club offers the following reminders to air passengers about proper “air etiquette”:  


  • Get to the airport early. This will reduce your stress if you find yourself waiting in long lines. Arriving at least two hours before your domestic flight time or three hours before an international flight time is recommended, but you may want to leave even earlier for busy, urban airports to account for traffic delays.
  • Remember security checks. Think ahead. Before you get to the x-ray machine, take everything out of your pockets and your carry-ons that may activate the sensors, such as electronic devices and metal items such as watches and belts.
  • Don’t hog the overhead bin. If you have two carry-on bags, keep the smaller one at your feet
  • Hold your tongue. If you have an issue with a passenger, it's best to take it up with the flight attendant first versus taking matters into your own hands
  • Be a good parent. Parents, make an extra effort to keep your kids in check. They’re your responsibility. For passengers with complaints: talk to the parents, don’t reprimand the child
  • Who gets the armrest? It’s only fair to give the passengers in the middle seat the armrest. Unlike the passengers in the aisle or window seats, they have limited stretching space
  • Choose appropriate times to get up. Think ahead when planning your bathroom breaks. If you see a flight attendant with a cart in the aisle, wait until he or she clears
  • Allow those in front of you to exit first. You’ve already endured a long flight. Take a couple of extra minutes to let the person sitting in front of you leave the aircraft first.
  • Leave Liquids Behind. 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons: Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less per container. These items are required to be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip top bag, one per passenger to be placed in a screening bin.
  • Gifts. You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but they are subject to additional screening. While you can bring wrapped gifts through the checkpoint, TSA officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside
  • ID Me. Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.  Some acceptable IDs for traveling include a U.S. passport, passport card, DHS trusted traveler cards, U.S. Military ID, driver’s license, or permanent resident card.
  • Global Entry/Trusted Traveler. If you travel frequently you may wish to apply for the Trusted Traveler ID. This will expedite your airport screening by granting you access to the TSA Pre-Check lines. Your arrival from international destinations will also be greatly expedited as you will not need to stand in line at passport control.



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The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.