A Guide to Coach Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’t’s

A picture of coach seats
Natasha Phang-Lee

Last week Natasha had the pleasure of taking a National Express coach back from London. Not so pleasurably, this mode of transport put her in the vicinity of some individuals who were very uneducated in the medium of coach etiquette. Natasha Phang-Lee gives a guide on how to behave properly when travelling by coach… 

I’ll set the scene for you: 

Imagine…you’re all snug and cosy, you’ve found a comfy position, your head gently resting on your hand. You’re slowly drifting off traversing to a place where the sun gently warms your skin. 

There are waves, calmly lapping the sand, and creatures lamenting in the nearby trees. Pure serenity. 

Suddenly the peace is punctured by the exclamations of a woman complaining that “she hadn’t received anything…send it again…no send it again..”. 

I mean what did the woman expect! Whatever she was trying to receive was obviously struggling with the intermittent service that comes from travelling across the country. (She was clearly not a seasoned coach traveller!) 

For a short period of time, my mind did wonder what she was trying to receive…maybe it was a photo? 

It was definitely not the cute cousin kind – she was way too irate for that. 

Her urgency suggested money…maybe it was money from an illegal deal she had just completed in London…? Ooh that would be juicy! Whatever it was, her frequent exclamations quickly became extremely tiresome. 

Despite my best efforts to drown out her piercing voice with my Spotify non-premium subscription (effectively a playlist of ads with intermittent music) she still prevailed. 

Therefore, in that moment I thought I would make a guide so that you, the potentially novice coach traveller, can avoid becoming the unspoken victim of your fellow coach travellers’ murderous thoughts.  

Hopefully following these suggestions will help you avoid the wrath of your fellow travellers. 

Here are some No-Nos on coach etiquette that frankly you should already know (if you have any form of self-awareness) but will help you avoid becoming the enemy of everyone unfortunate enough to have your company for a prolonged 3-hour journey:

1. A smelly meal deal / smelly food in general. 

Nobody else wants to smell your cheese and onion crisps. Keep it to yourself. 

On a side note even if it isn’t smelly there’s no need to go making others salivate or fuelling their food envy or serving as a reminder that they can’t even afford a cost of living crisis rise in a meal deal because they’ve spent their overdraft on a cost of living crisis rise in pints. 

2. Talking / shouting / whining / throwing a tantrum on the phone – you just sound spoilt!

3. Playing music out loud – reserve your lack of taste in music for your own ears. 

God forbid if you start singing along OUT LOUD. Save your not so angelic voice for the company of those who have to love you for who you are i.e., your friends and family. 

4. Related to above – playing a game on your phone with the sound on. 

No one asked for their silence to be punctuated by a cacophony of torturous sounds alluding to your ineptitude at getting your avatar to jump through hoops or collect coins. 

5. Now I know some people struggle with this (and colds can exacerbate this further) but snoring is especially annoying for those in close proximity to you.

Try to stay awake if you know you’re prone to this. 

6. Feet.

It’s common courtesy to at least attempt to keep bodily odours to yourself. So don’t purposely expose others to your shoeless feet (let alone sockless feet). 

7. Finally, you know those footrests that make a horrendously loud screech every time you lift your foot off, yes those – leave them alone! 

Don’t engage with them. If you are tempted to press your foot down be prepared to sit uncomfortably for the entirety of the journey because there is no way you’re lifting that up without pissing people off.   

Ultimately keep yourself to yourself. 

No one needs to hear you or your bodily functions and we definitely don’t want any free entertainment. Sharing is very much not caring in this situation. 

Hopefully following these suggestions will help you avoid the wrath of your fellow travellers. 

After all you are sharing a confined and enclosed space with them for a significant amount of time, it would be unfortunate (perhaps deserved) if you didn’t end up making it to your destination…..

Natasha Phang-Lee

Featured image courtesy of Redd F via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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