Plane Etiquette: 11 Air Travel Pet Peeves That Make Us Roll Our Eyes

Just… be considerate.
by | September 26, 2023

The holidays are right around the corner and you might be preparing for travel plans with family or friends either locally or internationally to experience winter. Whether it’s a short one-hour or an excruciating long-haul flight, which among these air travel pet peeves do you relate with the most?


1. Passengers who don’t follow seat assignments

You might’ve already encountered this from time to time, especially when you’re traveling solo and you’re assigned a seat next to a family. They might ask you if they could sit together, especially if they have kids who are traveling for the first time. But what about those who deliberately don’t follow seat assignments just because? In case you don’t know, there are people who pay extra for their preferred seat. So, you talk to a cabin crew about exchanging seats or ask nicely about it and the other passenger agrees, just follow what you’re assigned.


2. Passengers who disregard in-flight rules

Sure, you want to record that timelapse of the take-off, but don’t mount your phone on the window using the blind. Don’t follow that viral “hack” online and follow the rules instead. It’s supposed to stay open during take-off and landing.

This also applies to people who stand up even when the seatbelt light is on. Save the cabin crew the energy from calling you out and make everyone’s in-flight experience pleasant.


3. The passenger who has a small bladder and chooses a window seat

If you know you can’t hold your pee or know that you’ll have to go to the toilet frequently, just get an aisle seat. No one wants to be bothered every five minutes just so you can use the toilet.


4. Passengers who hog overhead cabin space

We get that you don’t want to pay extra for checked-in luggage but please don’t hog the cabin space. If you have smaller items, just place them under the seat in front of you and avoid taking up the space other passengers might need.


5. Passengers who race to deplane

Unless you’re pressed for time due to a connecting flight, just stay longer on your seat and wait until it’s your time to deplane. There’s no need to stand up immediately, especially when the airplane’s door isn’t open yet. You’ll get your turn to exit in peace eventually.


6. Passengers who don’t use earphones

Want to play music or watch a movie or a funny video? Don’t use your phone’s speakers; bring out your ear or headphones. No one wants to listen to your playlist – we’re good with whatever the airline’s playing before departure.


7. Loud conversations during red-eye flights

We get that you’re excited about your trip or can’t get over how memorable it was but the plane isn’t the place to discuss them. We’re already dealing with riding an enclosed vehicle where the only thing you can pretty much do is sleep and eat; we don’t want to hear whatever gossip you have. This also applies to overly friendly seatmates – not everyone is in the mood to talk; they want to rest. So, let them be.


8. People who take their shoes off

Have you ever experienced waking up in the middle of the flight and you check the beautiful window view and when you check the seat in front of you, you just see a pair of feet? No socks! Just bare feet saying hello to you. While there are no rules about taking shoes your shoes off, it can also be a hazard should there be an emergency while traveling.


9. Passengers who recline their seats all the way back

Yes, you want to feel as comfortable as you can, but be mindful of other passengers especially when you’re flying economy. What if the person behind you purchased an in-flight meal? How are they going to eat, then? If you want to fully recline then maybe book a business class ticket next time instead.


10. Passengers who forget about proper hygiene

This includes using the toilet properly and taking care of yourself. You’re already in a cramped space and dealing with unpleasant smells will just make everyone’s experience less comfortable. Wear deodorant. If you can’t hold your fart, try going to the toilet. Flush the toilet and throw your tissue in the bin. Wash your hands – these are basic hygiene practices you should know unless you’re a toddler who needs parental assistance.


11. People with coughs and colds who don’t wear masks

If there’s one important thing to learn from the pandemic, it’s that one should wear a mask if they have a cough or cold. You’re going to be in an enclosed space, with the same air circulating inside for hours; if you’re sick, mask up, especially if you know you’re going to be sneezing.


What’s your biggest ick when traveling? Share in the comments below!



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When she’s not writing, Ina’s busy curating playlists that will save her when words don’t work, reading, annoying her cat, or thinking of her next meal.

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