The Most Disrespectful Actions to Avoid on a Train

The summer travel season is in full swing, and with it comes an increase in train travel. While some parts of the U.S. have excellent train infrastructure, many Americans are not accustomed to taking trains regularly. This lack of familiarity can lead to stress, confusion, and a multitude of etiquette mistakes.

Diane Gottsman, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, explains, “Train etiquette, like any other form of public transportation, has a set of standards that make everyone’s ride easier and more enjoyable.” To help all passengers have a pleasant experience, HuffPost sought advice from Gottsman and other etiquette experts on common rude behaviors observed on trains and how to avoid them.

1. Allow Passengers to Exit Before Boarding
Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, emphasizes the importance of letting passengers off the train before attempting to board. Step aside and wait until others have exited before you enter the train. Once on board, move away from the doors to allow others to enter or exit. Practice the same courtesy when it’s your turn to disembark. Jackie Vernon-Thompson, founder of From the Inside-Out School of Etiquette, adds, “When exiting the train, be patient and respectful. Allow those closest to the door to exit, and then follow suit based on your location.” If you’re unsure, observe experienced passengers for guidance. “If you don’t ride this train often, watch what others are doing,” advises Smith. “Stations can vary even on the same line. Some people board based on who arrived first, while other stops are more chaotic.”

2. Maintain a Lower Volume
“Keep your volume down,” says Gottsman. “If you’re on an actual train, there may be a designated quiet car that requires silence. Respect the rule. When traveling on other modes of public transportation, continue to keep your volume down so as not to disturb others.” If you need to communicate, opt for texting rather than calling. “If you must speak with someone,” Vernon-Thompson says, “keep in mind that it’s improper to put your phone on speaker mode in public. Others shouldn’t be subjected to your conversation.” If you need to make a call, keep it brief and step outside the quiet car. Be mindful of the content of your conversation within earshot of others. Vernon-Thompson adds, “Using profanity consistently in your conversation is a major no-no. Pay attention to your choice of words so as not to offend those around you.”

3. Use Headphones
Just as you should be mindful of your volume when speaking, be aware of others when listening to music or watching videos. Luckily, modern technology allows us to keep our personal entertainment private. “Wear your headphones or any device that allows you to hear music alone, without subjecting others to your music,” advises Vernon-Thompson.

4. Keep Belongings Off Seats
Resist the urge to take up more than one seat by placing your bags or personal items next to you or spreading out across multiple seats. “Don’t block others from sitting by placing your belongings, like a wet umbrella, on the seat beside you,” warns Smith. “Don’t put your feet on the opposite seat. When the train starts to fill up, move your belongings so others can sit down.” If the train is mostly empty and the doors have already closed, you can spread out a bit. However, be aware of additional passengers who may board at the next stop and adjust accordingly.

5. Avoid Strong-Smelling Food
“Steer clear of smelly foods,” advises Gottsman. “Your favorite snack might be a plastic container filled with hard-boiled eggs, but these should be enjoyed in the privacy of your own kitchen. Fish and other strong-smelling foods should also be avoided.” If you plan to eat on the train, choose foods that are self-contained and have minimal fragrance, suggests Smith. It’s also advisable to avoid consuming common allergens like peanuts. Additionally, be mindful of wearing strong-smelling perfumes or colognes.

6. Respect Your Neighbor’s Privacy
“Pay attention to the cues of your fellow passengers,” says Smith. “If they make eye contact and engage in conversation, feel free to join in. However, if they respond with short answers, respect their privacy. Your journey shouldn’t infringe on anyone else’s.” Unless your seatmate seems open to conversation, keep interactions to a minimum. Likewise, if you prefer not to engage, wearing earbuds indicates that you’re occupied with personal entertainment, work, or listening to a podcast. “Friendly conversation is fine,” advises Gottsman, “but avoid oversharing with strangers.”

7. Don’t Block Aisles or Personal Space
“It’s crucial to find a seat as quickly as possible to avoid blocking the aisles while deciding where to sit,” cautions Vernon-Thompson. “If other passengers are boarding while you’re sitting or standing, make room for them to find a secure spot to stand or sit. Keep your belongings close to you and accommodate others as best as you can.” Show consideration for the space you occupy throughout the train journey. “One of the most inconsiderate acts,” adds Vernon-Thompson, “is when a person extends their legs into the aisle, forcing others to step over them or say ‘excuse me’ for them to draw their leg back into their space.”

8. Be Mindful of Others’ Needs
“Switching seats on a train is similar to switching seats on an airplane,” explains Gottsman. “If you were seated in the back and want to move to a seat in the front, be prepared for a polite refusal. Don’t take it personally.” When asking to switch seats or inquiring about an available seat next to someone, be courteous and use a pleasant tone of voice. “Be kind to your fellow passengers,” urges Vernon-Thompson. “Use words like ‘please,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘thank you so much,’ ‘you’re welcome,’ ‘my pleasure,’ and ‘I’m sorry’ when necessary. Extend courtesy and humility.” If you’re physically able and all seats are occupied, it’s considerate to offer your seat to pregnant women, elderly individuals, or those with disabilities. “If you see a pregnant woman, elderly person, or someone with a disability standing while you’re sitting,” advises Vernon-Thompson, “don’t hesitate to offer them your seat as a sign of respect and humility.”

9. Handle Bags with Care
“Be careful when stowing and retrieving your bags,” says Smith. Pay attention to avoid accidentally hitting someone. If you’re standing with a backpack, try to move it to your front, secure it, or place it at your feet. “It’s impolite to leave your backpack on, hitting other passengers,” adds Claytor.

10. Respect Personal Space and Hygiene
“It’s inappropriate to invade someone’s personal space,” emphasizes Vernon-Thompson. “Make an effort to give the person next to you their personal space. Touching and breathing in someone’s face is too close for comfort.” Take care to respect personal boundaries and hygiene.

By following these etiquette guidelines, you can help create a more pleasant and respectful environment for all passengers on the train. Remember to be mindful, courteous, and considerate of others, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable train journey for everyone.


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Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
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