Santa on Airplane
Credit: Stewart Cohen/Getty Images

Nothing unites people like a common enemy. And when everybody is trapped in a metal tube flying through the sky, it’s not uncommon for more than a few passengers to bond over the horrid behavior of a fellow traveler.

In the spirit of holiday goodwill, the British outlet Gentleman’s Journal conducted a survey of 2,000 people to discover what marks a gentleman — or gentlewoman — when flying on a plane. And the results are a great guide for how to avoid becoming the person that everybody hates.

According to the survey, the worst thing that a person can do to invoke the wrath of fellow passengers is drink too much and act the drunk fool on the plane.

Numerous headlines about drunk passengers causing emergency diversions (and fellow passengers applauding when the offending party is removed from the aircraft) only support the claim.

For those looking to go above and beyond, there’s one surefire way to stand out as the most mannerly person in the cabin: “Any gentleman worth his salt should lend a hand to a fellow passenger when needed, particularly when they’re struggling to fit their luggage in the overhead lockers,” said Harry Jarman, Gentleman’s Journal’s editor-in-chief. “Sixty-seven percent of respondents in our survey believe this to be the defining mark of a gentleman when travelling.”

A polite plane passenger will also inform the person seated behind them that they are about to recline their seat, according to 60 percent of survey respondents. And a gentleman never hogs both armrests, almost 55 percent responded.

Of course, one of the top causes of impolite behavior is stress. So set yourself up for a good-tempered flight by following T+L's guide to keeping your sanity at the airport this holiday season.