Life Travel Stop kicking my chair! Flying etiquette explained

Stop kicking my chair! Flying etiquette explained

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Sitting for hours in a stinky tube thousands of feet in the air can really bring out the worst in people.

Flight passengers have shared what ticks them off when travelling on planes. It’s time to put an end to our suffering.

Travel company Expedia released the results of their aeroplane etiquette study on November 11, compiling the top 10 most irritating plane passenger behaviours.

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Most people understand the frustration of having the back of their seat kicked, but domestic flight attendant Julie* deals with complaints like this almost every day.

“The most common complaint always starts with ‘the people behind me’ and ends in ‘are too loud’, ‘have a crying baby’, ‘are kicking my seat’, ‘put their seat back in the down position and I don’t have much room left’,” she said.

“The worst disruptive passenger [I’ve had] was a man travelling with his wife. They had an argument about something and all of a sudden her face was bleeding. They appeared to have both consumed alcohol prior to flying and had to be separated the entire flight.”

The study found the top three most disruptive behaviours to be seat kicking, inattentive parents and the ‘aromatic passenger’ who either forgot their deodorant or overdosed on perfume.

Is it a plane or a lounge room?

One of the biggest issues was when the passenger treated the plane like their own home.

Put your feet up- but not during the flight. Photo: Shutterstock
Put your feet up – but not during the flight. Photo: Shutterstock

It might be okay to recline, put your feet up and bathe in your own body odour in the comfort of your lounge room, but these behaviours were not well tolerated on flights.

One in four passengers said they refused to recline their seats even on longer flights. Nearly half of the participants said they had a negative flying experience when the person in front reclined their seat.

Frequent flyer Jeremy Gilson is no stranger to uncomfortable flights and said reclining was a huge issue for him.

“My worst plane experience was when the person in front of me reclined so far back that I could watch their movie and nearly the front of their head! I was so cramped I couldn’t see my own movie,” Mr Gilson said.

“Airlines should spread out the seats, as the lack of space is a major cause of irritation, and create a kids-only section that would make for a quieter flight for the rest of the plane.”

Keep the noise down

Noisy kids are a common complaint. Photo: Shutterstock
Noisy kids are a common complaint. Photo: Shutterstock

With over a hundred people cramped into one small space, it is no wonder that many complaints were about excessive noise.

The research found most Australians preferred a quiet environment when flying.

Screaming toddlers, the chatterbox and that person who talks like they are in a nightclub all made it into the top 10 most annoying passengers.

In fact, over 40 per cent of passengers dreaded sitting next to a chatty person or parents with young children.

What should be done about this?

More and more people are flying and these insufferable passengers must be stopped.

Plane travel would be better for everyone if passengers brushed their teeth, left behind the curried egg sandwich and packed some colouring-in books for their child.

“Having a pleasant flight largely depends on cooperation from fellow passengers,” said travel expert at, Kelly Cull.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a short or long flight, as Aussies gear up for the summer holidays, we should remember that a little consideration goes a long way to ensure everyone enjoys their trip.”

Ultimately it comes down to common courtesy. The next time you fly, spare a thought for the passengers around you.

*not her real name


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