As a regular traveler, I have seen more than my fair share of annoying passengers on my flights. I’ve also had great discussions with my fellow traveler friends on the ones who annoy them the most on planes. And there’s a cottage industry of websites and blogs — including Passenger Shaming, FreakJet and Flights From Hell — that are also pointing out bad travelers. So here’s my list of passengers to watch out for — and avoid — the next time you board that flight.
The Luggage Bin Hog
As you approach your gate, you hear the announcement that the flight is completely full and that space will be tight. They practically beg travelers to put larger luggage in the overhead bin and smaller ones under the seat. But there are always those people who put everything they own in the bin, leaving their fellow travelers out in the cold. Come on – be nice. We’re all in this together.
I had a cross-country flight where I was terrorized by a child who used the back of my seat to practice his kickboxing. The mother looked at me blankly when I asked her to control her child and the flight attendant wasn’t able to help. I used my stern voice to tell the child to stop kicking my seat. It worked. Do not hesitate to do the same if you’re in a similar experience.
It’s bad enough that you’re stuck in the middle seat. But it’s even worse if you’re stuck sitting next to people in the aisle and window seats that insist on using both armrests, leaving you hugging yourself with nowhere to put your arms. Be nice — throw the middle seater a bone and give up an armrest.
Look – travel is stressful. I will admit that I indulge in a cocktail or two on longer flights. But you have to know when to say when. Nothing is worse than being trapped with someone who’s had too much to drink.
The Upstream Salmon
The plane has landed and is rolling to the gate. As soon as the bell rings, the person who loaded his bag in a bin behind his seat jumps up and sprints to the bin, knocking and shoving people on the way. I’m sorry you had to be parted from your luggage (see item #1), but two wrongs don’t make a right.
Loud Cell Phone Talkers
You’re sitting quietly waiting for the aircraft door to close when someone sits next to you, pulls out his/her cell phone and proceeds to have a long, LOUD conversation about things including the intimate details of last night’s “date,” discussions of a complicated medical condition, attorney/client privileged conversations and even a break-up. A poll done by Expedia found that 57 percent of respondents did not like travelers who make calls on speakerphone. I have heard every one of these, and my ears are still burning as a result. No one really wants to hear this on the ground or inflight before takeoff or upon landing, so leave those conversations for home — please.
The Inattentive Parent(s)
I am the mother of a 10-year-old who I’ve traveled with since she was 10 days old. I would prefer to fly with her than many adults. Nothing is worse that being trapped on a plane with the child from hell and the parents do nothing. It is not the job of the flight attendants or fellow passengers to discipline misbehaving children. So parents, for the sake of your fellow passengers, please keep your children amused and disciplined on that next flight.
The Smelly Passenger
As travelers, we are all trapped on an enclosed metal tube pushing recirculated air. So now is not the time to douse yourself with strong perfume. It’s also NOT the time to decide that you really don’t need to take that shower before boarding. So show some consideration for your fellow passengers and make sure you practice good hygiene before boarding your flight.
The Chatty Cathy
We’ve all been there — you barely have time to sit down and get situated when your seat mate begins chatting away about EVERYTHING. I’m a nice person, but when I’m on a plane, I don’t want to chat, preferring to read and listen to my music or podcasts. So if my headphones are on, my willingness to chat is off.
The Seat Switchers
You know this person — no matter what seat number they have (usually the middle one) — they always want to sit in the seat you’ve booked. Or parents/couples who didn’t plan properly ask of you’d be wiling to switch seats, usually worse than the one you already have. If the seat switch os for an another aisle seat, I’ll usually do it. But otherwise, it’s a no for me. Either plan properly or shell out extra to reserve the seat(s) you really want.