The 14 Worst Airplane Behaviors

January 19, 2017
Candyce H. Stapen

Expedia.com commissioned the study, conducted by GfK. The research company interviewed and analyzed the responses of 1,005 U.S. interviewees aged 18 -years and older.

They're cute, but when left unatended, they can be a menace on a plane. In this study, passengers cited the rear-seat kicker (often children) as the most offensive airline ettiquette violation.

The most disliked passenger on a plane, isn’t the drunk, the person who smells bad, the overweight ticketholder who eats up your floor space with his thighs, or even the curious child sitting next to you. It’s the kid positioned behind you who swings his legs into your seatback for hours. The rear-seat kicker earned the top spot in Expedia.com’s 2017 Airplane Etiquette Study with a disapproval rating of 64 percent.

Of course, passengers couldn’t experience the full impact of their number-one nemesis without the second most annoying flyers: inattentive parents. These fellow travelers, defined by Expedia as people “who have no control over, or pay no attention to their crying, whining or misbehaved children,” landed with a negative rating of 59 percent.

Expedia.com, a full-service online travel site, commissioned the study, conducted by GfK. The research company interviewed and analyzed the responses of 1,005 U.S. interviewees aged 18 -years and older.

The Top: 14 Expedia’s Ranking of Onboard Etiquette Violators

1. Rear-seat kicker, cited by 64 percent of respondents

2. Inattentive parents, cited by 59 percent

3. Aromatic passenger, 55 percent

4. Audio insensitive (the passenger who talks loudly or who listens to loud music), 49 percent

5. Boozer, 49 percent

6. Chatty Cathy (the neighbor who talks to you and others and won’t stop), 40 percentClick to the next page for behaviors 7-14.

7. Queue jumper, 35 percent

8. Seat-back guy (the passenger who reclines his seat fully soon after the plane takes off), 35 percent

9. Armrest hog, 34 percent

10. Pungent foodies, 30 percent

11. Undresser, 28 percent (Have you ever experienced an undresser? We haven’t.)

12. Amorous couples who display inappropriate levels of public affection, 28 percent

13. Mad bladder, 22 percent

14. Single and ready to mingle, 18 percent

Interestingly, only 53 percent of respondents recline their seats when flying. Of these, a hardcore 11 percent said they would still recline their seat even if the passenger behind them were noticeably pregnant. (Now, who is being rude?) Some 23 percent don’t recline because they feel it is improper etiquette and another 11 percent don’t recline because they find doing so to be uncomfortable. In addition, 37 percent of Americans would like to have reclining seats banned totally or restricted to certain segments of short-haul flights.

How do we handle bad behavior once onboard? Most U.S. flyers remain reluctant to address boorish passengers directly. Sixty-two percent would choose to alert the flight attendant, 33 percent of respondents would suffer in silence, 13 percent would record the offending behavior on their smartphones and 5 percent would either post the bad acts on social media or tweet about it.

The good news: 76 percent of respondents feel that “for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate of one another.”

Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @FamilyiTrips