Tips from a former flight attendant:

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Don’t let an unpleasant flight ruin your summer vacation. Flying today can be very unpleasant due to overcrowded planes. Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach and a former flight attendant, offers these tips to help make flying a little more pleasant:


Image: “Stilles Mineralwasser” by W.J.Pilsak


Check in online and arrive early: Most airlines allow you to check in online within 24 hours of departure.  This will save time at the airport. Give yourself plenty of extra time in case you encounter airport parking difficulties, long lines at security checkpoints, or an oversold flight situation.  Arrive at the gate at least 30 minutes prior to departure to avoid getting bumped.  Prior planning helps relieve stress. 


Book your travel during off-peak times: You’ll avoid the crowds and save money if you travel during late-night or early-morning hours. You may have to give up an extra hour or two of sleep, but you can always rest on the plane.


Don’t pack more than you can lift:  The number one pet peeve of flight attendants is passengers who bring carry-on luggage too heavy for them to lift. Don’t expect the flight attendant to lift your bag into the overhead bin. If you pack it, you stack it. Otherwise, flight attendants will be happy to check it for you. Be mindful that some airlines also charge for checked luggage.


Check before you recline: Airline seats recline to allow passengers to sleep and relax, but it may cause discomfort for the person behind you. If you intend to recline your seat, do it gently or better yet, turn around and make sure you don’t inconvenience the person behind you. Raise your seat during mealtime so the person behind you can enjoy his or her meal.


Be respectful of those around you: Airplane seating is tight and interaction with your seatmates is inevitable. Keep the volume of your headphones at an appropriate level and lower the light on your electronic devices so you don’t disturb or distract the person next to you.


Bring your own food:  Don’t depend on the airline to offer food for sale. Many don’t offer more than peanuts or pretzels. Bring some snacks from home or buy something in the airport to hold you over until you reach your destination. Stay hydrated with plenty of bottled water. Steer clear of packing pungent foods that contain garlic and onions.


Pack the Pepto: To be on the safe side, tuck some Pepto-Bismol into your suitcase, especially when you travel overseas. Foreign food and water may cause an upset stomach, which can ruin a holiday. 


DolceDolce Tip: Do not drink or use any water that is not bottled. Water on planes is notorious for being dirty. Carry wipes for personal needs. Ask for bottled water. If you are on a very inexpensive and crowded flight, buy a bottle or two after you clear security to make sure you have an adequate personal supply. Also keep all medications you might need, such as headache pills, etc., handy.


Allow those in front of you to disembark first:  Rather than grab your luggage and make a run for the door, follow protocol. If you need to make a connection or know you’ll be in a rush, try to arrange to be seated near the front of the plane.


Hold your tongue:  If you have a complaint about another passenger, don’t take matters into your own hands and don’t demand that the plane land at the nearest airport. Alert the flight attendant. 


Be prepared for crying: When babies cry uncontrollably in flight it’s probably because their ears hurt from the air pressure. It’s a good idea for parents to be prepared with a bottle or a pacifier or something to make their children swallow and relieve ear pressure.  And remember, smell travels.  Parents should not wait until the plane takes off to change their baby’s diaper. Change your child’s diaper in the lavatory, not on the seat beside you.



The dos and don’ts of regifting

Click on the topmost title top open Jacqueline Whitmore


Thursday is National Regifting Day.

Some people gasp at the idea of a regift and others like mega-celebrity Tyra Banks, are all for it. I think it is fine under certain conditions. I can’t imagine giving away any gift from a close friend. I also think it is important to make sure all gifts are something the recipient will love. Some of the best gifts I have received have been regifts – and I knew it because I was told. I really didn’t care at all. The gifts were fabulous – jewelry, designer clothes, gadgets, furs, and even a trip. They were all given with love and things I adored. Some were passed on as a legacy and others were swag from very lavish events. In all cases I just felt like a lucky lady.

, author, and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach is against regifting. But, she stresses, “the most important thing is to keep organized, as giving an obvious regift to someone can be humiliating”.

Here are her tips to keep regifting in the spirit of giving:

Designate a space for potential regifts. Keep a stockpile of gifts you’ve received throughout the year that you don’t want or haven’t used. You’ll be able to pull one from the pile when you find the perfect recipient or when someone surprises you with a gift. Keep items in plastic bags to avoid dust and fading from sun exposure.

Don’t include any gifts you’ve used or opened. The item you plan to pass along should be in good condition. Ideally you’ll want to give the gift in the original box with the seal intact. If you plan to give a perishable item, check the expiration date to make sure it is still fresh.

Ensure the item is worthy of regifting. Be sure the person will enjoy and appreciate the gift. Promotional items or free swag bags from someone else’s company should not be re-gifted to anyone unless you plan to participate in a gag gift exchange.

Remove the evidence. Before you regift, remove the original card that may be tucked inside the gift.

Rewrap the item. The gift should look brand new. Use fresh wrapping paper and include a personalized card. There’s no need to announce the item is a regift to the recipient.

Don’t regift in the same social circles. Make sure the person receiving the gift doesn’t know the person who originally gave you the gift. To prevent a mistake, jot down when you received it and who gave it to you.

Know when you can’t regift. Ensure the receiver of your present will enjoy the gift. If you have a pile of unwanted fruitcakes and tacky holiday sweaters, it’s probably time to dump them or donate them to your favorite charity.

Don’t feel guilty. If you’ve followed all the guidelines above, you’ll avoid wasting a gift while giving the recipient a present they’ll love. When done correctly, there’s no shame in regifting.

DolceDolce note

Some swag – if you are lucky enough to be on the right lists – includes pricey cellphones, designer bags, and other lovely items. This swag is excellent for re-gifting.



Holiday etiqutte tips


Jacqueline WhitmoreAvoid sticky situations this holiday season with tips from Jacqueline Whitmore. The internationally-recognized etiquette expert and author of the new book, Poised for Success, will give you the low-down on dress codes, E-vites and more!
  • If one of your guests brings a bottle of wine or something special to eat, such as nuts, chocolates, etc., consider it a gift (a hostess gift) to be enjoyed at a later date or on a special occasion. 
  • If you know ahead of time that a guest is a vegetarian, you might want to prepare a couple more vegetable side dishes.  There is no need to make a separate entrée for her.   
  • It is the guest’s responsibility to alert the host ahead of time if you don’t eat certain foods for ethical, medical, or religious reasons. 
  • If you are hosting a last-minute party during the holidays, it’s faster to send invitations via email or Facebook, but don’t expect a huge response.  Remember that the more formal a party is the more formal the invitation must be.  And the most formal invitations are sent via the postal service.  
  • If you have to cancel, do it as soon as your plans change and do it by phone or in person.  It’s considered poor form to cancel via email or to forget to cancel altogether.   
  • It puts the host in an awkward situation if you ask to bring an uninvited guest or worse, your kids.  If you are unable to find a sitter or change pre-existing plans, graciously bow out, and if the host insists that you bring your guest or kids, then you may do so.  
  • It’s always good etiquette to send a handwritten thank-you note within 24-48 hours after attending a party.  At the very least, call the host the next day and say “thank you.” 
  • Great gift ideas include a bottle fine wine (if the person drinks alcohol), a plant or a bouquet of flowers, gourmet chocolates, brownies, or nuts, scented candles, a handmade gift or personalized cocktail napkins with the host’s initials.  
  • Apologize and turn off your cell phone if you hear it ring.  If the call is important and you must take it, excuse yourself, step outside the room, and take the call in private, and remember to keep the call brief. 
  • Dress codes can be tricky (and confusing).  If you’re just not sure what to wear, call the host and say, “What will most people be wearing to your event?”