The U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America is predicting that the crowds of air travelers during the Thanksgiving period this month will be the biggest in eight years. So if you’re planning a trip on those busy days, better steel yourself for some unpleasant in-flight experiences on a fully packed aircraft.
A new survey of more than 1,000 consumers from Expedia identifies some of the most irksome aspects of modern air travel and fellow passengers, including an analysis of one of the biggest flashpoints of air rage — the reclining seat.
RECLINE WHINE: Almost one-third of the respondents in the Expedia-sponsored survey said reclining seats should be banned altogether, or that seat reclining should be limited to specific times on short-haul flights. About the same amount said they would never recline their own seat. Of those who do push back their seats, 30 percent said they only do so to sleep and 28 percent said they would recline only on a flight of more than three hours. But an annoying 13 percent said they lean back immediately after takeoff no matter what. (That’s the person who always sits in front of me!) Another 13 percent said they recline their seat only when the person in front of them does the same.
But the survey uncovered more of the dark side of seat reclining as well. More than a quarter of respondents said they would recline their seat “punitively” if they considered the person right behind them to be rude or aggressive, Expedia said. Twelve percent said they would recline even if the passenger to their rear was noticeably tall, and 10 percent would do so if the passenger behind them was obviously pregnant.
CONFRONTATION? We’ve all seen stories of flight attendants trying to deal with misbehaving individuals, but how would fellow passengers react if they saw someone exhibiting blatantly bad in-flight behavior? According to the survey, 49 percent would do nothing — but one in five said they would confront the misbehaver directly. One out of 10 would use their phone’s video to record the action, and three percent would “shame” them by putting it on social media.
KICKER. The most hated behaviors or characteristics of fellow passengers are about what you’d expect. Seatback kickers topped the list, followed in order by parents who fail to control their unruly kids and by passengers who — let’s be honest — stink. But there are a lot of other unwelcome seatmates as well, from boozers to over-talkative individuals. (Last year, TravelSkills listed Chris’s personal picks for the kinds of passengers he least likes to sit near.)
And buried in the Expedia report was this nugget: “Just over 1% of Americans report membership in the Mile High Club, having been ‘intimate’ on a plane, either with a traveler they knew, or a traveler they met on board.”
Readers: What’s the worst/most annoying/most disgusting behavior you’ve seen or experienced from your fellow passengers? Post comments below.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Global Entry gets more global + New York’s lowest ranked hotels +Best/worst hotel programs for awards + More flat seats