Having taken a couple of plane trips recently, I consider myself an expert on air-travel etiquette. Or at least I have asked myself a few good questions about how people should behave while they fly.

Having taken a couple of plane trips recently, I consider myself an expert on air-travel etiquette. Or at least I have asked myself a few good questions about how people should behave while they fly.

Question 1: Should passengers bathe before flying?

If you sit beside me, and judging from past experiences the chances are incredibly high that you will, there should be something attached to the metal detector in security that hoses you down if you don’t bathe regularly. Brush and floss if you plan to turn and talk to me.

Question 2. Is it appropriate to engage a fellow passenger in conversation?

Certainly if you are going to sit beside someone for a couple of hours or more, it is considerate to make some sort of introduction, such as, “Hi, I’m a journalist, and anything you say or do could be used by me in a column, so be careful what you tell me, or the way you act, or even how you sit, if you think I will believe it is in the least bit funny.” Common courtesy, however, should make you refrain from actually interviewing this person, or seeking out things to write about, especially after this person has sort of turned away, toward the sleeping passenger in the third seat, who politely isn’t saying a single word.

Question 3. Should you turn on a light so you can read on a night flight?

This is a tricky question, since a light is there for each passenger, presumably meaning that passengers are allowed to make individual choices about their personal light. But, if you are sitting on the aisle, your light beam will pass over the third sleeping passenger, as well as the second passenger, who, since you finally got the hint, also is dozing off. Is what you are reading so important that you are willing to deprive two innocent people of their rightful rest or is it, probably, just a Sudoku puzzle, which granted is also important because it’s one marked “hard,” and you’re almost done with it?

Question 4. Should you wake sleeping passengers when the drink cart arrives?

Naturally, hydration is necessary during a long flight. On the other hand, if you wake them, and they drink, for example, an entire can of soda, they will need to use the rest room. They will force you to get up, and make room for them to get by. And then they’ll have to get back into their seat when they’re finished, so you’ll need to make room again. It’s the polite thing to do. Still, it’s a lot of moving. Would it be more courteous to order them both a drink — say, a pair of extra orange juices — and let them sleep? If they’re still dead to the world when you finish your juice, at least you tried and you can start in on theirs, right? The longer they sleep, the larger you live.

Question 5. How much of a goodbye should passengers exchange?

Obviously, a plane flight is not enough time in which to build a strong relationship, so a hug seems to be out of the question. But, a handshake or even just a nod of departure seems appropriate before you each get your carry-on bags from the overhead luggage compartment and separate company. If you really feel you developed a closeness on the flight, it is acceptable to say something, perhaps as the passenger walks down the aisle, such as, “Hope you got enough sleep; I’ll write something about you!”

Reach Gary at 330-580-8303 or on Twitter at @gbrownREP.