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What Behaviors Do You Hate on Airplanes?


Seat kickers and spaced-out parents rank as the two most disliked airline travelers, according to travel site Expedia's third annual Airplane Etiquette Study.

Seat kickers and spaced-out parents rank as the two most disliked airline travelers, according to travel site Expedia’s third annual Airplane Etiquette Study.

People who repeatedly bump the back of your seat rate as the most aggravating co-flyers, garnering 61% of worst-in-air-behavior votes from the 1,019 US interviewees. It doesn’t matter to those surveyed whether the kickers were six-foot-six athletes with no place to put their knees or hyperactive children swinging their legs. The backseat bullies fly to the top of the infuriating flyers’ list.

Speaking of children, “inattentive parents,” those who, among other things, don’t notice or can’t stop their kiddies from kicking, screaming, continually pushing the call button, and unleashing other hijinks at 30,000-feet, come in a close second in the bad manners department, getting 59% of the vote. In fact, 53% of respondents state they remain annoyed by parents traveling with loud children.

Smelly passengers, whether stinking from an excess of perfume or from a paucity of personal hygiene, tie for third with the “audio insensitive,” those ticket holders who talk loudly or whose music blares from their headphones. Both groups get 50% of the vote.

Although 75% of those surveyed feel “small talk is fine,” most passengers prefer to get that over quickly or avoid speaking at all. Just 16% admit that flights are “an opportunity to meet and talk to new people,” while 66% of respondents “dread” sitting next to those friendly flyers looking forward to chatting.

To Recline or Not to Recline?

• 32% want to ban reclining seats

• 31% refuse to recline their own seats

• 26% would recline punitively if the passenger behind them was rude

• 12% would recline despite the fact that the passenger behind them was tall

• 10% would recline if the passenger behind them was noticeably pregnant

What do Americans do to fellow flyers behaving badly? Nothing. They just ignore the idiots, say 49% of U.S. passengers. However, 21% would confront the offender, 10% would record the bad behavior, but only 3% would shame the miscreant by posting the footage across social media channels.

To find out what driving behaviors make Americans angry, see Road Rage Report: Drivers That Make You Crazy.

Expedia’s List of Most Infuriating Passengers

Rear seat kicker received 61%

Inattentive parents, 59%

Aromatic passenger, 50%

Audio insensitive, 50%

Boozer, 45%

Chatty Cathy, 43%

Carry-on baggage offenders, 38%

Queue jumper rushing to deplane, 35%

Seat recliner, 32%

Overhead bin inconsiderate, 32%

Pungent foodie, 30%

Back seat grabber, 27%

Amorous (inappropriate affection), 26%

Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more), 26%

Mad bladder (window seater who makes repeated bathroom trips), 24%

Single and ready to mingle, 13%

Seat switcher, 13%

For an infographic of these findings, click here.

Do you agree? What airline behaviors would you rate as annoying? I would certainly add “elbow pushers,” those putzes who keep poking seatmates attempting to sleep. Add your comments below and connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.

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