Who are the most annoying airplane passengers?

Posted at 4:06 PM, Nov 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-13 16:06:29-05

For the second year running, seat-kickers have earned the dubious distinction of being America’s most annoying airplane passengers.

The tap, tap, tapping with intermittent knees and feet to the back irks 61% of Americans surveyed for Expedia’s third annual Airplane Etiquette Study.

Inattentive parents rank a close second, with 59% of respondents registering their aggravation with moms and dads who let their kids run wild.

Dereliction of parenting duty annoys travelers in other settings, too: Inattentive parents ranked as the most annoying hotel guests in another recent Expedia survey.

The Airplane Etiquette Study, released Tuesday, was conducted for Expedia by GfK, an independent global market research company. The study asked 1,019 randomly selected U.S. adults to rank the most annoying airplane behaviors.

Aromatic passengers and audio-insensitive passengers ranked third and fourth, both cited by half of study respondents. Boozers rounded out the top 5, aggravating 45% of respondents with their excessive in-flight drinking.

This year’s study rankings are very similar to the 2014 results, with a few shifts.

The queue-jumper, who rushes to deplane, moved up from No. 10 in 2014 to No. 8 this year. The overhead bin user who grabs the first available space moved up one spot from No. 11 last year to break into 2015’s top 10.

Armrest hogs, who ranked No. 8 on last year’s list, dropped off the study map entirely.

Have travelers in 2015 learned to tuck their elbows in, or have we just become immune to jockeying for space? Hard to say.

“With Airplane Etiquette, the survey firm does not ask Americans to supply a rationale, so we’d be speculating as to why armrest hogs have dropped down the list,” Sarah Gavin, Expedia’s head of communication, wrote in an email.

“But for us, given the number of possible behaviors onboard a flight that could be maddening, it’s more of a surprise that armrest hogging was top 10 at all.”

The full list

Here’s the ranked list of etiquette violators, with percentage cited by study respondents:

1. Rear seat-kicker (61%)

2. Inattentive parents (59%)

3. Aromatic passenger (50%)

4. Audio-insensitive (talking/music) (50%)

5. Boozer (45%)

6. Chatty Cathy (43%)

7. Carry-on baggage offenders (38%)

8. Queue-jumper (rushes to deplane) (35%)

9. Seat-back guy (aka seat recliner) (32%)

10. Overhead bin inconsiderate (stows bag in first available spot, rather than nearest to his/her seat) (32%)

11. Pungent foodies (30%)

12. Back-of-seat grabber (27%)

13. Amorous (inappropriate affection levels) (26%)

14. Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more) (26%)

15. Mad bladder (window seat passenger who makes repeat bathroom visits) (24%)

16. Single and ready to mingle (13%)

17. Seat switcher (13%)