Airline Passenger Habits That Drive People Crazy

While we all need to exercise some degree of tolerance, there are intentionally rude and inconsiderate people you may have the pleasure of flying every so often. Whether they’re taking their stinky shoes off, hogging the armrest, or chatting too loudly, these thoughtless behaviors can quickly turn a pleasant flight into a nightmare. Here are some of the most common annoying airline passenger habits driving people crazy.

Messing With The Seat In Front of You

Have you ever been on a long flight only to have the person behind you kick the back of your seat repeatedly? If so, you’re not alone. Not only does kicking the back of another passenger’s seat make them angry, but leaning on or pulling on the seat is frowned upon, too.

Taking Someone Else’s Seat

Some people will intentionally take your seat on a flight, hoping that you won’t say anything or that you’ll swap with them. This behavior is infuriating, especially if you chose your seat ahead of time or paid extra for an upgrade. 

Misusing Overhead Bins

When airlines say you can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, they don’t mean a giant suitcase and a duffle bag. Overhead bin space is limited, and there’s nothing worse than storing your luggage far away from your seat. Or worse, waiting for it to be unloaded when you have a short layover.

The Reclining Seat Debate

It’s the age-old question: is it okay to recline your seat on a flight? And whenever this question arises, two passionate camps are ready to battle. On the one hand, some believe that, since you paid for your seat, you have the right to use it however you see fit. After all, what’s the harm in a little bit of reclining? 

On the other hand, some believe that reclining your seat is incredibly rude and disruptive to the person behind you. They argue that when you recline your seat, you take away valuable legroom and make it difficult for the person behind you to get in and out of their seat. 

But what’s really the verdict on reclining your seat on a flight?

Talking Far Too Loudly

Although it may seem like a minor infraction, talking too loudly on a flight can be incredibly disruptive to your fellow passengers. Especially if they are trying to watch a movie or get some sleep. No one wants to hear your conversation from across the aisle.

Getting Drunk On or Before Your Flight

Alcohol can be a great way to relax on a flight, but some people don’t understand the meaning of moderation. This can end up causing problems for themselves and others. Drunk passengers are known to cause arguments with other passengers or flight attendants. Even worse? They vomit on themselves or others.

Taking Off Your Socks and Shoes

First of all, you’re taking them off in a confined space where everyone else has to smell your feet. Second, it’s a well-known fact that feet are one of the most unclean body parts – they’re covered in sweat and bacteria. No one wants your feet between their seat or on the back of their armrest. And Finally, airplane cabin floors are dirty.

Clipping Your Nails (Or Toenails!)

Though it may seem like a minor issue, clipping your nails (or toenails) on a flight can cause a significant inconvenience for both you and your fellow passengers. Tiny particles can become airborne when you clip your nails and land on other people or their belongings. In addition, nail clipping can be loud and disruptive in a confined space. Do your grooming in a bathroom!

Not Sharing The Armrest

Armrests are there for everyone to use, not just the person in the middle seat. It is incredibly inconsiderate to take up the entire armrest when you have seatmates. 

Getting Out Of Your Seat Too Often

When you get up out of your seat, you not only block the aisle, but you also disturb those around you who are trying to sleep or work. It’s understandable if you need to use the bathroom, but it can become incredibly disruptive if you constantly get out of your seat to grab something out of your bag. 

Chatty Seatmate

Whether they’re trying to make small talk or just want to share their life story, a chatty seatmate can quickly turn a peaceful flight into a long and frustrating journey. It can become very bothersome if someone is trying to work or sleep. Take the hint. If the person next to you isn’t engaging in conversation, stop holding them hostage. 

Inattentive Parents

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about a crying baby on your flight. It’s not fun for parents, who are likely doing everything possible to soothe their infant. Plus, pressure changes can cause ear pain for some babies. 

We are talking about parents who are utterly oblivious to their children’s antics. They let their children kick the back of your seat, scream, shout, and get out of their seats without making any effort to control the situation. 

Not Using Headphones

This should be obvious, but if you’re unaware, watching TikTok videos on your phone or movies on your laptop without headphones is incredibly rude. Get a headphone splitter or earbuds that’ll allow you to share your audio if you’re sharing your entertainment with a friend.

Bad Body Odor

It’s happened to everyone at some point – you’re stuck on a crowded flight next to someone with terrible body odor. The narrow confines of the cabin make it impossible to escape the stench, and you spend the whole flight trying not to breathe through your nose. Be considerate of your fellow passengers and take care of your personal hygiene before boarding the plane.

Too Much PDA

There is such a thing as too much PDA. Constantly kissing, cuddling, or engaging in other physical activities can make other passengers uncomfortable and be disruptive to those trying to sleep or concentrate on other things. A little bit of hand-holding or an occasional kiss is usually fine, but anything more than that is likely to cross the line.

Annoying Airline Passenger Habits

We’ve all had to deal with annoying airline passengers at one point or another. However, you can do a few things to try and make the best of a bad situation. For starters, try to be as understanding as possible. Remember that everyone is just trying to get to their destination and that flying can be stressful. If someone is being particularly disruptive, see if there’s a flight attendant nearby who can help. And if all else fails, close your eyes and imagine yourself somewhere else – like relaxing on a beach with a piña colada in hand.


Alexandrea Sumuel - Groves is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.