The Most Annoying Things Airline Passengers Do

Seat kickers top the list, according to survey

Dec 9, 2014
Outside Magazine

With airlines cramming more seats into economy, more people are kicking the seat in front of them.   

After a year marked by airlines reducing seat space on planes, now comes a survey listing the most annoying things passengers do on flights. The most annoying behavior you can do as a passenger is kick the seat of the person in front of you, according to the Airplane Etiquette Study Expedia released today. 

The survey, conducted by GfK (an independent global market research company), asked 1,000 Americans to rate the thing that bugs them the most about other passengers. Sixty-seven percent named the kickers, topping out the 2013 winner, “inattentive parents," which came in as a close second this year. Rounding out the top three? “Aromatic passengers,” a nebulous moniker that could refer to anything from body odor and flatulence to malodorous snacks and perfume.

Other behaviors on the list included seatback grabbers (31 percent) and “Playboy readers,” or people looking at adult material on the plane (30 percent). Touchy-feely couples bothered 29 percent of passengers.

Despite the summer being notable for a burst of “recline rage”—fights over how far and quickly passengers angle back their seats—seat recliners scored relatively low, irritating only 37 percent of passengers.

And even though air rage has received a lot of press lately, 48 percent of fliers say it’s better to ignore the problem than address it, with just 22 percent saying they’d confront the offending passenger directly and 6 percent saying they’d shame a passenger on social media.

Another interesting piece of data in the survey: Five percent of respondents claim they’ve been “intimate” with another passenger in flight. Three percent with someone they knew, and two percent with someone they’d met on the flight.

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