Don’t get this frequent flyer started about passenger protocol. Following a fiasco in Miami where the airport was evacuated due to a security breach and travelers trampled, elbowed, pushed and shoved their way back in when the all clear was issued, I have little faith left that manners exist in this world. To back this up Expedia.com® revealed some of the worse breaches of decorum in the industry in its third annual Airplane Etiquette Study, which asked Americans to rank the most frustrating behaviors exhibited by the hundreds of millions of fellow Americans who fly each year. The study, which included 1,019 interviews of randomly selected citizens, was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, an independent global market research company.
Topping the list is seat kickers– “Rear Seat Kickers” were ranked as the most aggravating co-passengers. When asked to choose from a list of annoying behaviors, 61% of Americans cited seat-kicking as a top in-flight concern. “Inattentive Parents” – parents who exhibit little or no control over their children – rank a close second (59%). The “Aromatic Passenger,” who exhibits poor hygiene or is in some other way giving off a strong scent, was the third least-liked passenger, cited by 50% of Americans.
“Audio Insensitivity ” was right up there referring to people who either talk loudly or whose music or entertainment can be heard loud and clear. This irks 50% of Americans while 45% of us scorn “The Boozer,” and 43% complain about “Chatty Cathy,” the overly talkative seatmate. The full list of etiquette violators, including “The Amorous,” “The Undresser” and the “Mad Bladder,” is included down below.
Passenger peace and quiet was listed as a preference with three-quarters of us conceding that “small talk is fine,” but that we prefer to keep to ourselves.
The recliner really pisses people off, however this flyer feels that once you pay for a seat it’s yours to set any way that makes you comfortable. Nearly one third (32%) of those surveyed said they would either prefer to have reclining seats banned entirely, or at least restricted to set times during short-haul flights. Yet only 31% refuse to recline their own seats. Among the larger percentage of respondents who do lean back, 30% do so when they plan to sleep. 28% recline if the flight exceeds three hours, and 13% do so immediately after takeoff. 13% recline when the passenger in front of them does, domino-style. Get this, 26% of Americans would recline their seat punitively if the passenger behind them was aggressive or rude. 12% would recline anyway if the passenger behind them was tall, and 10% would recline even if the passenger behind them was noticeably pregnant.
Shame on them in the event a fellow passenger misbehaved noticeably, 49% said they would sit quietly and attempt to ignore them. 21% would confront the offender directly, while 10% would surreptitiously record them using their phone’s camera or video. Some 3% said they would publish that misbehavior across social media channels.
Despite the surfeit of etiquette violations, 75% of Americans feel that “for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate” and just over 50% feel that air travel is “fun and exciting.” 41% have helped a stranger with their luggage, for example. 73% wait patiently until they reach their assigned seat before stowing luggage in the overhead bin, versus 13% who rudely stow their luggage in the first available spot once they board the plane. And only 10% of us say they drink more than two drinks during air travel, either at the airport or on the plane (that’s hard to swallow).
Oh, oh, oh a little more than 1% reported membership in the Mile High Club, having been “intimate” on a plane, either with a traveler they knew, or a traveler they met on board.