Frustrating Passengers can be a real pain in the behind

The third annual Airplane Etiquette Study ranked the worse behaviours exhibited by frustrating passengers.

Seat-Kickers are the worst

Americans rank “Rear Seat Kickers” as the most aggravating co-passengers. 61% cited seat-kicking as a top in-flight concern. “Inattentive Parents” – parents who exhibit little or no control over their children – rank a close second (59%).

The “Aromatic Passenger,” who exhibits poor hygiene or is in some other way giving off a strong scent, was the third least-liked passenger, cited by 50% of those surveyed.

An “Audio Insensitive” passenger is someone who either talks loudly or whose music or entertainment is clearly audible to neighbours. They annoy 50%, while 45% scorn “The Boozer,” and 43% complained about “Chatty Cathy,” the overly talkative seatmate.

The full list of etiquette violators, including “The Amorous,” “The Undresser” and the “Mad Bladder,” is included down below. vice president and general manager, John Morrey, said: “Planes continue to fly full, never more so than during this season, when millions of Americans will fly to be with their families for the holidays.

“Inside a packed plane at 30,000 feet, both good behaviour and bad behaviour are amplified. Respecting our fellow passengers is a small but important gift we can all give each other.”

Please can we have a Quiet Zone?

Americans show a marked preference for peace and quiet in mid-air. Three-quarters conceded that “small talk is fine,” but they prefer to keep to themselves for most of the flight. 16% admit that they use flights as an “opportunity to meet and talk to new people.”

66% “dread” sitting next to them. 53% find themselves annoyed by parents traveling with loud children, and a full third (37%) would actually pay extra to be seated in a designated “quiet zone” if the airline offered one.

To recline or not to recline? That is the question

Reclining seats can be a flash point; nearly one third (32%) say they would either prefer to have reclining seats banned entirely, or at least restricted to set times during short-haul flights. Yet only 31% of Americans refuse to recline their own seats.

Among the larger percentage of Americans who do lean back, 30% do so when they plan to sleep. 28% recline if the flight exceeds three hours, and 13% do so immediately after take-off. 13% recline when the passenger in front of them does, domino-style.

26% would recline their seat punitively if the passenger behind them was aggressive or rude. 12% would recline anyway if the passenger behind them was tall, and 10% would recline even if the passenger behind them was noticeably pregnant.

Social shaming or studied silence?

In the event a fellow passenger misbehaved noticeably, 49% would sit quietly and attempt to ignore them. 21% would confront the offender directly, while 10% would surreptitiously record them using their phone’s camera or video. 3% would publish that misbehaviour across social media channels.

Despite the surfeit of etiquette violations, 75% feel that “for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate” and just over 50% feel that air travel is “fun and exciting.” 41% have helped a stranger with their luggage, for example.

73% wait patiently until they reach their assigned seat before stowing luggage in the overhead bin, versus 13% who stow their luggage in the first available spot once they board the plane. And only 10% drink more than two drinks during air travel, either at the airport or on the plane.

Oh, really?

Just over 1% of Americans report membership in the Mile High Club, having been “intimate” on a plane, either with a traveller they knew, or a traveller they met on board.

The full ranked list of on-board etiquette violators includes:

1. Rear Seat Kicker

cited by 61% of study respondents

2. Inattentive Parents


3. The Aromatic Passenger


4. The Audio Insensitive (talking or music)


5. The Boozer


6. Chatty Cathy


7. Carry-On Baggage Offenders


8. The Queue Jumper (rushes to deplane)


9. Seat-Back Guy (the seat recliner)


10. Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (stows bag in first available spot, rather than nearest to his/her seat)


11. Pungent Foodies


12. Back Seat Grabber


13. The Amorous (inappropriate affection levels)


14. Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more)


15. Mad Bladder (window seat passenger who

makes repeat bathroom visits)


16. The Single and Ready to Mingle


17. The Seat Switcher


The study consisted of 1,019 interviews of randomly selected U.S. adult residents, conducted between 7th – 9th August, 2015.