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Travel etiquette: From splashy kids to overhead bins

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Q: Someone yelled at my kids recently for splashing too much in a hotel pool. They were using a volleyball net that was set up at the pool when we got there, so I think it was OK for them to play instead of swimming laps. Plus, I think a little splashing is normal — if you don’t want to get wet, you shouldn’t be at the pool! What do you think?

A: I think it depends on exactly how much splashing, how close the kids are to other people and how big the pool is. Obviously, if someone is just sitting on the edge dipping her toes in, she’s not going to be terribly happy if someone does a massive cannonball right in front of her. And kids should never deliberately splash a stranger. But if there’s a volleyball net set up, no one should fault you for using it. You do, however, have to share the pool. And it goes without saying that if it’s labeled an “adult” pool or “quiet” pool, the kids shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Q: Could you remind people to please sit in their assigned seats on the plane? On several recent flights, I’ve found someone else in my seat. Sometimes it’s a whole family in the wrong row, and it’s annoying to wait while they gather up their stuff and move.

A: I’d try to be somewhat understanding about this. Everyone makes mistakes, and if it’s your third flight of the day, it’s easy to forget you’re in 7A instead of 6A. But this would be easily preventable if everyone kept his or her boarding pass out. If you hold it in your hand instead of shoving it in your bag as soon as the gate agent scans it, it’s a lot harder to sit in the wrong place.

Q: If a flight attendant specifically says not to put coats in the overhead, but there’s one up there, can you move it to make your bag fit? Or do you have to wait for the flight attendant?

A: I wouldn’t move it without first asking, loudly, “Whose coat is this?” If someone owns up, say something like, “Mind if I hand it back to you? There’s no room for my bag and they just asked people not to put coats up there.” That should do the trick. If the other passenger gets ticked off, or no one claims the coat, I’d get a flight attendant to sort it out.

E-mail travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at

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