The Etiquette for Stairs & the Elevator

Never try to squeeze in: wait for the next elevator.
... Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Stairs, escalators and elevators are found in a enormous number of public places. At times these are crowded. A lack of etiquette when using the stairs, whether static or moving, as well as the elevator, can not only lead to bad feeling and public arguments, but also cause accidents.

1 Keep to the Right

Keep to the right whether you're walking up stairs or standing on an escalator. On the escalator, keeping to the right allows people in a hurry to get past you on the left. On staircases, keeping to the right ensures that people can move past each other if space permits. However, if the staircase is too narrow to allow two people to pass each other comfortably and someone is descending or ascending when you get to the staircase, wait for them to pass you before using the stairs. Also, if you are behind another person on a staircase it's bad form to overtake them, unless it's absolutely necessary. It's good manners to then apologize as you pass.

2 Don't Push

Common sense and good manners says that you let people out of the elevator first before trying to board. People closest to the door generally get in first. In a crowded elevator you should stand as close to the wall as possible. If you are near the elevator buttons you should take responsibility for pressing them. Don't push to exit from a crowded elevator; ask politely to get past others. Similarly, if others are trying to get out, make it as easy for them to get past you as possible.

Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.