You’re sitting on a long flight when all that bottled water finally catches up with you. (After all, there’s a gross reason you shouldn’t drink the tap water.) When you turn around to ask your neighbor if you can get out, though, you realize the passenger is fast asleep. What’s a bathroom-bound traveler to do?
As long as you figure the logistics out, you should feel free to shimmy past without interrupting your neighbor’s nap, etiquette expert Jo Bryant tells The Telegraph. “You need to be confident there is enough room to get past comfortably, without using the headrest in front as a lever,” she says. “If you decide to go for it, then always face forward and keep physical contact to a minimum.” Falling asleep on a plane is hard enough after all, so as long as you don’t bump your aisle partner, there’s no harm done. (Once you’re back in your seat, steal these 14 tips for sleeping on plane so you arrive refreshed.)
But if you’re considering that risky move, you have to be absolutely sure you can make it, Bryant stresses. If you think there’s a chance you’ll wake the sleeping passenger up, you’re better off waking the person up and asking to get out. (Here are 18 more things you should never do on a plane.) Don’t worry, as much as no one hates being lurched awake, your neighbor will most likely understand. About 80 percent of travelers say it’s OK to wake someone up to get to the bathroom, according to a British Airways survey of 1,500 people.
The best course of action, though, would be to figure it out before the plane even takes off. If it’s a night flight and you expect your neighbor might want to get some shuteye, ask how the person with the aisle seat if they’d mind being woken up. Checking beforehand “perhaps is the most sensible and least embarrassing option of all,” Bryant says. And if you’re the lucky one with the outermost seat, feel free to tell your aisle mates what you’d prefer, too, so they don’t have to have that same awkward inner debate.
Looking for more? Learn the genius trick flight attendants use to deal with smelly bathrooms.
[Source: The Telegraph]