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Have you ever been disturbed by an aeroplane seat-kicker? Or have you ever felt annoyed because of unpleasant smells or noises made by your seatmates on board of a plane?
If anyone ever needs proof of how quickly civilisation will collapse in the event of a world ending natural disaster, they only have to look at how passengers trapped on board an airplane for hours at a time treat each other.
Undoubtedly, even the most awaited flight might turn into a terrible nightmare causing loads of inconveniences. Sometimes passengers seem to forget the rules of etiquette and, in the result, behave in a totally inappropriate way.
In December, Expedia, along with market-research firm GfK polled 1,005 American passengers and has recently released the results of its annual airplane etiquette study on the most obnoxious passenger behaviours.
The Rear Seat Kicker
By a large majority, “the rear seat kicker” was voted the absolute worst human on the plane. According to 64% of survey respondents, nothing irritates them more than a passenger kicking their seat and slowly destroying all the excitement about a flight. Correspondingly, more than a half of Americans are sure that the entire cabin would be a better place without seat-kickers there.
So, what do passengers do in the face of seat-kickers?
Over 60% of the Americans interviewed said they would alert a flight attendant to handle the situation, whereas 25% of surveyed said they would recline their seat to retaliate if the passenger behind them “showed aggressive behaviour or was rude.”
Also, among the top of complaints were inattentive parents who do not look after their children well enough. 59% of Americans find it extremely annoying when parents forget that they are flying with children who are crying, shouting, asking for food or seeking some entertainment and become a nuisance to the rest of the passengers.
The Aromatic Passenger
The third least-liked group of passengers is an “aromatic” one. More than a half of the respondents (55%) feel uncomfortable because of fliers with poor hygiene or wearing excessive cologne or perfume. Smelly seatmates are able to turn the journey of your life into a living nightmare.
The Audio Insensitive
49% of American air travellers loathe sitting next to audio insensitive passengers, who either talk loudly or listen to music loud enough for the entire cabin to hear. Often passengers even complain of headaches, because the only thing that they here is “dush, dush, dush, dush”.
A person who is overly intoxicated on board a flight was voted a horrible company by 49% of passengers surveyed. Usually a drunken person becomes extremely friendly and chatty. Because as much as this person’s friends do not like listening to one’s rants about a boss, an ex or a neighbour’s pet Yorkie, do you know who wants to hear about it even less? Undoubtedly, 200 strangers who have just got charged for water.
Someone might be excited to meet new people on a flight, but 40% of fliers find in-flight chatterboxes terribly annoying. Therefore, the loud engine is not the only reason to bring noise-canceling headphones on your trip.
Also, the travel company determined that the majority of frequent fliers prefer peace and quiet during their flight. While 75% of respondents reported that “small talk is fine,” only 16% said that they use flying as an opportunity to meet and chat with new people. However, 37% of Americans said that they would pay extra to be seated in a designated quiet zone while flying.
The Queue Jumper
Flight attendants have not opened the door yet but someone is already rushing to deplane, thinking that those few extra minutes are more important for him than anyone else? Those who unfairly go to the front of the queue are disliked the most by 35% of respondents. The only advice queue jumpers might get is to travel business class or become a celebrity.
Are you a flier who just wants a little room to move without being crushed in your seat? 35% of Americans cited seat-back reclining the most annoying behaviour which can set off a domino effect to the back of the plane, as each passenger desperately angles for a few centimetres more of legroom. Sometimes it is possible to be polite and ask for a little compromise although it is often met with snarling “it’s my God given right to recline, I’ve paid for this seat!”
The Armrest Hog
If you are the type of person who likes using armrests, beware of those who have never learnt to share. Obviously the use of seatmate’s armrest makes someone’s flight more comfortable; however, 34% of questioned Americans believe these fliers the most irritating companions to travel with.
Do you find the smell of onions, cinnamon or mustard horrible? If yes, then most probably you belong to the group of passengers who consider sitting next to someone with strong-smelling food to be awful. Not all the passengers are aware of the fact that others might be allergic to such strong smells. Consequently, 34% of respondents stated this type of travellers to be the most annoying.
Also, last points of the results list revealed that up to 28% of Americans cannot stand public displays of affection and 18% go against flirting on-board.
Considering all the mentioned above, it becomes obvious that freedom of speech does not always fly on a flight. According to the vice president and general manager of Expedia, respect and generosity are the best gifts that travellers could give to each other.
“The Airplane Etiquette study shows that small acts of decorum can go a long way. After all, as it relates to flights, we are quite literally all in this together.”
Therefore, the survey did not specify the length of a flight. Possibly these statistics would be different if passengers were questioned on the world’s longest flight, which takes over 16 hours.