Worst Behaviors on Planes – And What to Do about It

What do passengers on planes really hate? A new survey from Cheapflights says the number one annoying behavior is seat kicking. Since we’ve never seen seniors do this, we’ll presume this falls under the category of Children Behaving Badly. Learn how to deal with it and more, below.

How to keep kids happy and quiet on planes

Number One: Seat Kicking

No surprise that seat kicking takes top honors but there are some surprises – especially in the part of the survey which reveals how people deal with annoyances. Some of the responses are pretty hilarious. We’ll tell you a better way.

Most Annoying Behaviors

And the top seven annoying behaviors are:

  • Seat kicking – 19%*
  • Incessant or loud talking – 18%
  • Letting children misbehave – 17%
  • Other passengers’ feet in your space – 8%
  • Passengers with too much carry-on luggage – 6%
  • Passengers who recline seats into your space – 6%
  • Passengers who yank on the back of your seat  – 5%

*Numbers have been rounded-off

What about cell phones on planes – yes or no?

Passenger Reactions to Annoying Behavior

So how do passengers react when someone is being annoying?

Most of us – nearly 35% – just “seethe quietly and do nothing.” Nearly as many just “let it go” while a sizeable number “retaliate subtly” such as reclining one’s seat while the kicker is doing their thing (but if you think subtlety will stop any child, you’re probably not a parent). What to do?

What to Do Instead

There are two things you can try.

1. Speak up: Talk to the misbehaving passenger (or the parent if the annoying one is a child) but don’t be confrontational. Frame your complaint this way: “You probably don’t realize it, but [describe the problem behavior and explain that it’s preventing you from napping or reading or just enjoying some quiet time].” Sometimes a passenger is honestly unaware of creating a problem. If you yell, some will yell right back and continue the behavior. Courtesy is key.

2. Press the button: If you can’t get satisfaction on your own, let the flight attendant handle it. I don’t imagine they enjoy this chore but somebody has to keep the peace and it’s one of the reasons you have a flight attendant call button by your seat. Use it when diplomacy fails.

Some flyers believe there is a third alternative: Scorching the offender on social media. This is not very nice.


Published: December 5, 2013