New Study Reveals the Most Annoying Air Travel Passengers

As air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels ahead of what’s sure to be a busy holiday travel season, passengers can expect plenty of crowds and full airplanes. That’ll mean an increased likelihood of some annoying in-air behaviors, some worse than others.

The Vacationer recently published its 2022 Airplane Etiquette Violations Survey, revealing the in-flight behaviors American air travelers find to be the most annoying or rude.


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Naughty Passengers

According to the anonymous survey of nearly 1,100 U.S. adults, rear seat kickers and disruptive drunks are the worst passengers to encounter in the friendly skies, both tying for the most annoying behavior at 59.11 percent each.

Smelly passengers (48 percent), whether it be due to poor hygiene or wearing too much perfume or cologne, round out the top three, followed by inattentive or lazy parents (46.81 percent) and passengers who eat pungent or foul-smelling foods in the cabin (39.8 percent).

Other types of loathed passengers include armrest hogs (39.07 percent), seat recliners (38.25 percent) and talkative travelers (29.87 percent). Nearly one-third of Americans also feel contempt for passengers who board or deplane out of turn (29.6 percent) and listen to music or watch movies too loudly (28.96 percent).

While air travelers aren’t quite as peeved by these behaviors, other annoying habits include removing your shoes (23.59 percent), flirting (21.89 percent), getting out of your seat too often (19.95 percent), utilizing overhead bin space too far from your seat (18.12 percent), being overly affectionate with your partner (14.12 percent) and requesting too much from flight attendants (13.02 percent).

In defense of those storing luggage away from their seat, the flight crew will often encourage passengers to find the first available space for their carry-on bags toward the end of boarding on full flights.

Interestingly, more than one in 10 survey respondents (11.57 percent) said that none of these behaviors bother them.

As far as demographic comparisons are concerned, men are more likely than women to be annoyed by rules breakers while women are more likely than men to be annoyed by flirty or talkative seatmates. What’s more, younger passengers (ages 18-29) are less likely than older travelers to be annoyed by the aforementioned behaviors.

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