The unwritten rule of domestic flights that has a lot of people very angry.

Thanks to our brand partner, Faulding

Ever heard of The Bingham Code?

Named after George Clooney’s character from Up In The Air, Ryan Bingham, the code formalises eleven of the most critical rules of air travel.

Think, everything from ‘Don’t be the d*ckhead who delays the flight’, to ‘Pass swiftly through the X-ray machine’.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team debate the subject of plane etiquette. Post continues after audio. 

Most would agree that the majority of The Bingham Code is fairly straightforward; a set of already-abided-by social rules set in stone simply to prevent lazy naysayers from exercising their free will.

One item, however, has divided first-time travellers and frequent flyers of domestic flights alike.

Article 10 of The Bingham Code reads, and we quote:


Pascoe is, of course, referring to the act of reclining one’s backrest mid-flight.

“It’s the core of the code,” writes BusinessDay editor Michael Pascoe (who, we should point out, translated the list from Hollywood fiction to actual words in a heralded online newspaper).

The Bingham Code is all well and good for business travellers up in first class, where seats don’t need to be reclined because a butler escorts you to a separate den plush with Egyptian linen come sleep time.

But does it really apply to us plebeians flopping over each other’s sweaty bodies back in economy?

Mia Freedman, who’s found herself on several short domestic hops this week, took glee in reclining her seat at every opportunity.

“What’s the point of [the seat] reclining, if you don’t recline it?” Freedman says, on this week’s episode of our Mamamia Out Loud podcast.

Freedman also grasped the podcast opportunity to propose a new article be added to The Bingham Code:

‘Do not remove thy shoes while travelling en air.’ 

While the topic of seat reclining is contentious, the ‘shoes on’ policy is at least one we can all agree on.


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