The Most Annoying Airline Passenger Behaviors, by the Numbers

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Expedia's new survey on in-flight etiquette -- or lack thereof -- reveals the most hated behaviors among folks crammed together on a plane.

Let’s face it: air travel can be irritating. Even after you endure long lines at security and the snail-paced boarding process, you’re hardly in the clear because you’ll inevitably have to deal with other passengers on the plane, some of whom need to brush up on their airline etiquette.

When it comes to annoying airline co-passengers, a new survey from online travel site Expedia found that there is one passenger who really stands out as the most infuriating of all: rear seat kickers.

“When asked to choose from a list of annoying behaviors, 61 percent of 1,019 study respondents cited butt-kickers as the worst of the worst,” Expedia said.

Fliers ranked inattentive parents – or moms and dads who show little to no control over their kids – as a close second (59 percent) to seat kickers. The “aromatic passenger” – one who exhibits poor hygiene or another strong scent (perfume) – earned the distinction of being the third least-liked (50 percent) air traveler.

According to the survey, here are some of the other passenger types and their infuriating in-flight behaviors:

  • The Audio Insensitive – 50 percent. It’s hard to relax on a plane when “the passenger in front of you has his headphones cranked loud enough that you might as well be wearing them,” Expedia said.
  • The Boozer – 45 percent. Not everyone appreciates an inebriated seat mate.
  • Chatty Cathy – 43 percent. Some people want to read or sleep, not listen to their seat mate drone on about something they don’t care about.

“Planes continue to fly full, never more so than during this season, when millions of Americans will fly to be with their families for the holidays,” John Morrey, vice president and general manager of, said in a statement. “Inside a packed plane at 30,000 feet, both good behavior and bad behavior are amplified. Respecting our fellow passengers is a small but important gift we can all give each other.”

My younger brother flew for a business trip last week and said he was absolutely disgusted by his seat mate, a man who was peeling the skin off his fingers and tucking the bloody skin pieces into his shirt pocket. I think that beats a rear seat kicker.

Do you agree with the rankings for the most annoying co-passengers on planes? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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