Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Business Etiquette on Land and in the Air

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 16, 2012

By Roshini Rajkumar
Speaker, Roshini Performance Group

Roshini Rajkumar, speaker, Roshini Performance Group

Roshini Rajkumar, speaker, Roshini Performance Group

Photo: Roshini Performance Group

Leave Things As You Found Them

If the overhead compartment was closed before you used it, re-secure it after you’re done stowing your carry-on items. This also applies when you attend business functions or meetings. Do you find some people don’t even clean up after themselves when they eat or take a coffee break? Leave shared business spaces as you found them; bonus points for leaving those spaces in better shape than how you found them.

Put The Seat Down

Women commonly joke about men not putting the toilet lid down after using the restroom. This simple act of closure is doubly important on an airplane. Back down at sea level, it’s also important to respect common courtesies dictated by gender. If you bother to make your restrooms open to visitors or the public, then make sure the men’s and women’s areas are clean, well-stocked, and by all means, well lit. Your clients and prospects will be impressed with these gestures because they showcase the quality of your brand and should make people even more thrilled about working with you.

Get Out Of The Way If Someone’s In A Rush

Ever seen someone racing through the plane or terminal to make sure they get on this plane or make it to another flight? I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have too. When in an airport or on an airplane, stay alert to your surroundings. Move over if you’re ahead of schedule or running on time so others may get to where they need to go. Fellow passengers will appreciate it. You also put positive vibes out there for yourself. When back on the ground, remember small courtesies on the job and in public places. Try holding the elevator door for someone who might not make it; what about keeping the conference room door open for a colleague whose arms are full? Common courtesies sometimes go out the window as people become more self-focused. When you are able to think of the needs of others, you become valued as a team player.


Smiling seems so simple, but I’m amazed at how many frowns and furrows I see when traveling. A smile will get you a long way. Along with that grin, add polite words and gratitude when the gate agent is able to move you from your center seat to the aisle. Just because you took the Super Shuttle to your hotel from the airport doesn’t mean you neglect the driver. Even if you only tip him a buck or two, this good energy will come back to you when you’re least expecting.

Remember Your Brand

The moral of this runway story is simple. A great attitude attached to professionalism and courtesy will showcase you and your brand. Protecting this positive brand identity is worth it on so many levels, and it does affect your bottom line. Business etiquette on land or in the air should never be left in cargo.

Roshini Rajkumar, executive communication coach and author of Communicate That!, shares insider tips for dynamic communication and authentic presentations. Learn more at