The most annoying airline passengers – and how to deal with them


Poor etiquette on an airplane can really ruin a trip, and with the holiday travel season well underway, many Minnesotans may encounter some annoying in-flight companions.

So what are the most annoying habits when you're crammed on an airplane at 30,000 feet? Expedia's second annual Airplane Etiquette Survey found out.

Taking the top spot from the "inattentive parent" this year is the "rear seat kicker" – 67 percent of those surveyed said it's the most annoying thing someone can do, while 37 percent say the person who reclines their seat is the most annoying.

As airplanes get smaller and more seats are added to flights, spats over legroom have increased, some even leading to passengers being booted from a flight, and at least three flights have been diverted mid-flight due to seat scuffles this year, Quartz says.

Other annoying fliers:

  • "Inattentive parent" – those who let their kids scream, whine and run amuck during the flight: 64 percent said it was annoying.
  • "Aromatic" – the smelly passenger: 56 percent.
  • "Audio insensitive" – the passenger whose headphones are way too loud: 51 percent.
  • "Boozer" – the drunk passenger: 50 percent.
  • "Chatty Cathy" – the passenger who just won't be quiet: 43 percent.

For those chatty Cathys, Expedia found the majority of passengers say a little small talk is fine, but they want to keep to themselves, while 16 percent say they "use flights as an opportunity to talk to and meet new people." While 65 percent of passengers "dread" sitting next to someone else.

Easily bothered by some of these? Expedia gives some creative advice for dealing with them, like faking narcolepsy and falling asleep while the chatty Cathy yammers on or offering to buy the inattentive parent's child an in-flight movie to calm them down. Click here for more ways to handle those irritating fliers.

Some other interesting findings from the study:

  • 15 percent of Americans say they "always or sometimes" use medication or alcohol to help them sleep on a plane, 80 percent say they "never" do.
  • 48 percent of Americans say they can't sleep on planes.
  • 5 percent of Americans say they've "been intimate" with someone on an airplane – 3 percent of those say it was with someone they've traveled with, while 2 percent have been intimate with someone they met on that flight.
  • And be careful if you're one of those annoying passengers – 12 percent of Americans say they'd record the incident with their phone or camera, while 6 percent would take to social media to shame the passenger. (There are a few "passenger shaming" social media accounts out there, too.)
  • But for the most part, travelers are positive. Seventy-eight percent say "for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate of other passengers."

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