Airplane etiquette: Study ranks the most annoying travel behaviors

WASHINGTON — When it comes to airplane etiquette, three out of four fliers feel fellow passengers are mostly considerate. But kids and seat-kickers tend to be responsible for some of the most offensive behavior.

A study commissioned by Expedia asked flyers to choose from a list of annoying behaviors they encounter from flying companions. Some of the top violations include:

  •  Seat Kicker: 61 percent
  •  Inattentive Parents: 59 percent
  •  The Aromatic Passenger: 50 percent
  •  The Audio Insensitive (talking or music): 50 percent
  •  The Boozer: 45 percent
  •  Chatty Cathy: 43 percent
  •  Carry-On Baggage Offenders: 28 percent
  •  The Queue Jumper (rushing to deplane): 35 percent
  •  The Seat Back Recliner: 32 percent
  •  Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (who stows bag in the first available spot, not the one nearest their seat): 32 percent
  • Pungent Foodies: 30 percent

“[When you] fly by yourself, it seems like you always get put next to the most, like, inconsiderate types of people,” says Sarah Newell, of Loudoun County, who was at Reagan National Airport en route to Orlando, Florida.

“In the middle seat — you get put next to someone who has the window seat who has to go to the bathroom all the time, then with the person on the other side you either get a talker or the person who falls asleep toward you and invades your personal space,” Newell says.

Citing one of the most annoying behaviors identified in the Expedia study, Cynthia Wilson, of D.C., says she’s most offended by insincere apologies made by inattentive parents.

“There’s always tons of them with kids kicking and screaming and grabbing your iPad and mom saying: ‘I’m sorry.’ But if you let kids do it more than once, are you really sorry?” Wilson observes with a sigh.

Flyers who encounter behavior that bothers them tend to grin and bear it, the study finds. Forty-nine percent of respondents say they would sit quietly and ignore the offenders.

One flyer at Reagan National said he wouldn’t notice even if someone was doing something others might consider annoying.

“I’m just easygoing,” said Gregory Campbell. “I’m old enough where simple things don’t bother me — I just let it ride.”

Campbell — who lives in Lewisville, Texas — had a miniature American flag in his breast pocket, and said he’d been visiting Washington for Veterans Day observances.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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