The following are Ashley's Rules for Flying, compiled after many trips with various people (and many years haunting travel blogs)
Rule #1: Always Look Nice. I'm not saying dress up like a wedding, but wear clean and nice clothes. Nice jeans (ie no holes) and a top works fine, unless you want to go business-style. Either way, be clean, well put together, no strong deodorants or perfumes, a touch of makeup, and easy-off closed-toe shoes and you're good to go!
There are two reasons for this. The first, because people (including airport staff) will automatically respect you a bit more if you're put together. This opens the door to possible upgrades and quickly resolving any problems that may arise. Second, because of something I heard and adopted into life, "Always look your best when you travel because you never know when you'll meet a handsome stranger or an old enemy."
Rule #2: Be nice. Everyone at the airport is either also trying to get somewhere, or trying to do their jobs. Don't be a bad moment in their day. Show respect to everyone you come in contact with, as much as possible. Don't be a jerk, don't yell to get your way. Be nice.
Rule #3: It's okay to be a little silly when on a long flight. Just don't disturb others. See how much fun I'm having in these two photos? A little cheap entertainment, and no one was disturbed.
Rule #4: Carryon Only! Seriously, this saves so much time and energy. Plus, how much stuff do you really need for a trip? This trip is the only one in three years that I've checked luggage for...and that wasn't even my stuff! It was things like scissors, paint, food for the ministry we'll be doing with the kids. All of my stuff is safe and snug in my little purple carryon.
Rule #5: Peanut Butter is not allowed carryon, no matter what the Jet Blue guy says at check-in.
I may have just learned this lesson this trip. Our checked bag was a few pounds too heavy, so we were shifting things to our carryon. I didn't think peanut butter was allowed, since it's the same consistency as other non-carryon-approved items, but the man at the counter assured us, "you can definitely bring it carry on". Cue TSA agents searching our bags and swiping hands with that bomb-detecting machine thingy. We begged. We played the hungry kids card (which was the truth; we were bringing peanut butter to feed the kids in school who get no snack/lunch). The boss dude made the executive decision after testing it that "If I get fired, I'd rather get fired for feeding hungry kids than something else". Thank you Rota!! But, just the same, don't try to take jars of peanut butter in your carryon.
What are your top flying rules?