Issue: November 2007 Issue
Etiquette expert Ann Marie Sabath offers tips on business travel.
Noisy laptop golf games. Music blaring from headsets and earbuds. Pornographic images flashing on the screen of a personal DVD player.
They're the latest examples of high-tech annoyances experienced by airline passengers around the globe. Cleveland native Ann Marie Sabath of At Ease, a corporate etiquette training firm, offers the following tips to help keep the peace on your next flight.
Pay attention to volume
Just because people have plugged in their headsets or earbuds doesn't mean those next to them can't hear the music on their iPods or the movie on their DVD players, especially if they've got the volume cranked up. Sabath has heard music from iPods being used in the row behind her. She recommends asking neighboring passengers if the volume is too high after adjusting it to your liking. "If you think it's too loud," she says, "it probably is." She also suggests lowering your voice when using a cell phone in the cabin before takeoff and landing.
A simple "May I ask you to turn down your volume? It's a little overpowering in these close quarters," delivered in a congenial voice, is often enough to lower the din to an acceptable level. If it doesn't, be prepared to ask the attendant for a different seat or, if the flight is full, put up with the noise.
Consider your surroundings
If the person behind you has his or her laptop open on the tray table, let that person know you're going to recline your seat. "If the laptop screen is up, [the act of reclining your seat] often pushes the screen down," Sabath warns.
"Anything that is confidential or considered inappropriate should not be viewed in a public setting," Sabath stresses, regardless of what a carrier's rules may be. That advice especially holds true when children are on board. However, she's also a firm believer in keeping your eyes in your own space, no matter how small. "If you're looking, then shame on you."
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