Poll: What's the most annoying behavior from a seatmate on a plane?

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Thread: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

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  1. #1
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    Default Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Forget jet lag and lousy food -- sometimes the worst part of a flight is the person sitting next to you! What's the most annoying behavior you've encountered from a seatmate? Vote here.
    Sarah Schlichter
    Senior Editor
    Independent Traveler
    www.independenttraveler.com


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Gosh, these are all awful and I've experienced many of them, but the puking has to got to be the worst. I was on a flight -- thank god not long-haul -- throughout which the woman across from me threw up for three hours straight. I was never so happy to see Newark!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    The most annoying is the idiot in front of me that puts his (and it is usually a he) seat back almost in my lap and thinks he is entitled. I cannot put down the tray or reach my bag "under the seat in front of me". I complained once to the attendant and she said that there was nothing she could do. ????? The guilty party told me that he needed to do that because his "legs were longer than mine". Okay, can you imagine how active and busy my "short legs" (not) were the entire way from Bangkok to LAX and occasionally his seat back got in the way.

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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Oh man, these are all incredibly annoying, but I've gotta go with the throwing up -- I have a very, er, sympathetic stomach, so if anyone near me is tossing their cookies, I'm not going to be feeling so good either.
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    You didn't list popping bubble gum. On a flight from LAX to DFW a woman popped her gum several times a minute for 3 solid hours. By the time we landed, I felt if the flight had lasted any longer everyone sitting within 5 rows of her were going to start a riot.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I have never been near someone throwing up, and fortunately have never been the vomiter either (I always take dramamine before flying). So I can't say for that, but the worst thing I have found is when people (usually kids) kick the back of the seat! On an 11 hour flight to Fiji, these kids woke me up in the middle of the flight (overnight) kicking my seat and I turned around and screeched at them (in a loud whisper) "Can you please STOP THAT?!?!" Well they did so that was nice I am not a morning person even on the ground so they definitely messed with the wrong person haha.

    Also, gotta go with screaming babies too, or actually their parents, because I know the babies can't help it, but I wish the parents would learn and stop taking kids so small on planes!! It is disrupting for everyone!

    I never let my seat back all the way unless it's an overnight flight (since pretty much everyone has their seat back in that case, trying to sleep) and when I let it back at all I always check behind me first.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Hm, got seated next to a fidgeter the other day. He just twitched and changed positions, and fussed about for the entire (mercifully short) flight. Drove me crazy.

    Also not fond of people who stand in the aisle to chat with friends, with their butts in my face.

    Or the people who have to haul themselves up by pulling on the back of my seat, catapulting me into the seat in front of me when they let go.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I have to agree, people who haul themselves up using the seat back rest in front of them and when they walk down the aisle feel the need to pull on every back rest as they go! How hard is it to walk without hanging on?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Crying Babies and parents who don't know how or won't comfort them for them to stop. Especially, parents who rock the kid and shake your seat simultaneously...Grrrrrrrrrrr!!

  10. #10
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    Unhappy Annoyances on the Plane: Children and babies..

    Do you really think that the parents don't care? Having sat in that seat, believe me, we care!

    As one who has travelled (many years ago now) with a crying 6 month old across the world, spare a thought for the parents. My son cried and grizzled for at least half the trip (Hobart to Helsinki). Thank goodness for some helpful flight attendants, who at least understood what we were going through.

    Next time, instead of scowling at the offending family (who are probably getting more an more upset as time goes on - creating a catch 22, where by the baby picks up on it and gets more upset also) how about you offer the frazzled parents a helping hand or at least a sympathetic smile. It's hard enough flying with children without the rest of the passengers treating you like 3rd class citizens.

    Kayling05. I see where you're coming from, sometimes life gets in the way and you HAVE to travel with little ones...

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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I do empathasize with parents who fly with kids, but I still feel the same way about folks who insist on trying to rock kids and shaking the whole row of seats...it's annyoying....and I stand by my complaint...

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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Never seen that, although fully understand your complaint! We always took an aisle seat - easier to wander back and forward without disturbing too many others. Good thing is that at 11 he's a model flyer and better behaved in the air than some adults

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    Thumbs up Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    There was one flight that my husband and I took from PA to the USVI as a package tour. The very wide man who was seated in the row ahead of us decided to chat, and chat, and chat with someone in our row. He stood for a long time with his wide posterior almost touching my face. The flight attendant just giggled when I asked her to make him move. I lowered my seat tray a bit and crossed my legs, bumping his butt,all the while concentrating on my paperback. He moved.

    tripper707
    Last edited by tripper707; 04-02-2010 at 12:59 PM. Reason: signature picture

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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Having traveled back and forth across the Atlantic four times in the last 12 months I'm glad for the opportunity to lash out at the selfish and careless attitude of several travelers I had the misfortune to observe closely on some of the last flights I took.

    There was the obnoxious father/son couple (the latter in his early 20s, the former in his early 50s and evidently experiencing a midlife crisis, both skimpily clothed in shorts and T-shirts and covered with tattoos) talking loudly with each other during "quiet time" and exchanging comments in their native language about the other travelers and flight assistants, unaware (or maybe not) of the fact that probably one third of the plane fully understood what they were saying.

    There is the avid reader on the window seat who doesn't find the reading light above her seat bright enough for her eyes, and keeps the window blind open when the lights are turned off and everyone else is sleeping (or attempting to), letting the sun's rays bounce on the glossy pages of her magazine and hitting mercilessly my face, defying even the the thickest sleeping mask, and refuses stubbornly to comply even when the flight assistants prompt her to close the blind.

    There is the lady sitting next to me who gets a panic attack when, after a 12-hour flight, the plane is approaching the runway during a windy rainstorm for a bouncy landing, and starts spewing nice things like "Oh my god! What if something happens right now? I don't want to die so young" while grabbing my arm so tightly to almost block my blood circulation.

    And, dulcis in fundo, after the plane has finally landed and reached its gate, and I am bending over to reach my bag from under the seat in front of mine, some idiot opens the stowing compartment above my head and a bag with a laptop computer falls out and hits me right in my back. The guy picks up the bag and leaves without a single word of apology.

    No wonder why sometimes I think about kissing the ground when I leave the plane...
    Last edited by Marco Polo; 04-04-2010 at 01:04 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I hate the person the uses the reading light on a redeye, especially if I'm trying to nod out.
    I'm guilty of opening the window to watch the sunrise on redeyes.

    I hate the person in the aisle seats that falls asleep when I have to get up and take a walk.
    I'm guilty of taking a few walks on flights over 5 hours. This is less of a problem in business or first, than in coach.

    I hate the yakety-yakers.
    I'm never guilty of yakety-yaking.

    The crying baby... my heart always goes out to that family. While I had perfect kids , I know those parents are more concerned with all those nasty glances they're getting.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I would have to go with the screaming/crying babies. Because there are so many parents who are immune to it, that they feel you should just accept it or deal with it. But that just reflects on them.
    “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” - Fitzhugh Mullan

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    Angry Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I have the winner here...extremely smelly person sitting next to you on a cross-country flight.

    Yesterday I had the displeasure of riding in a middle seat on a flight from Atlanta to Portland, next to a lady sitting on the aisle who arrived in a very annoyed mood, sweaty and smelly who then proceeded to fidget the entire flight. She started chowing into a burrito and some vegetable dish with sauce, had no napkin so was sucking on her fingers to clean up. You could tell that she hadn't showered in a couple of days and her clothes (sweatpants and a thin t-shirt) were not fresh. It's impossible to describe the stench that was emanating from her nearly the entire flight - but basically she smelled so bad that I was going out of my mind trying to redirect the airflow towards her and away from me, I was chewing gum to mask the smell...anything.

    To make matters worse, about half-way through the flight she fell asleep and kept hitting me with her arms and legs and then she got gassy while sleeping (I'm expecting as an after-effect of eating a huge burrito just moments after take-off).

    I must have bad airplane karma because this is the second time this has happened to me, the last one was going from Seattle to Newark and the smelly person was a guy, seated two seats away from me, but the combination of bad body odor and onions/garlic that he had eaten for dinner was suffocating and didn't get better the entire flight.

    The moral of the story is the following:
    • Shower before taking any flight - especially when going cross-country and while seated in coach class.
    • Refrain from eating food with heavy spices that will either make you smell or to create smells (I'm sure you get my meaning here).
    It never hurts to smell nice and to be polite while traveling. I travel very frequently for business and with my family and it never ceases to amaze me how slovenly some people are when arriving at the airport. When we're all confined to a small space, personal hygiene is so important!!!

    Sandy

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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Quote Originally Posted by sandydlc View Post
    I have the winner here...extremely smelly person sitting next to you on a cross-country flight.

    Yesterday I had the displeasure of riding in a middle seat on a flight from Atlanta to Portland, next to a lady sitting on the aisle who arrived in a very annoyed mood, sweaty and smelly who then proceeded to fidget the entire flight. She started chowing into a burrito and some vegetable dish with sauce, had no napkin so was sucking on her fingers to clean up. You could tell that she hadn't showered in a couple of days and her clothes (sweatpants and a thin t-shirt) were not fresh. It's impossible to describe the stench that was emanating from her nearly the entire flight - but basically she smelled so bad that I was going out of my mind trying to redirect the airflow towards her and away from me, I was chewing gum to mask the smell...anything.

    To make matters worse, about half-way through the flight she fell asleep and kept hitting me with her arms and legs and then she got gassy while sleeping (I'm expecting as an after-effect of eating a huge burrito just moments after take-off).

    I must have bad airplane karma because this is the second time this has happened to me, the last one was going from Seattle to Newark and the smelly person was a guy, seated two seats away from me, but the combination of bad body odor and onions/garlic that he had eaten for dinner was suffocating and didn't get better the entire flight.

    The moral of the story is the following:
    • Shower before taking any flight - especially when going cross-country and while seated in coach class.
    • Refrain from eating food with heavy spices that will either make you smell or to create smells (I'm sure you get my meaning here).
    It never hurts to smell nice and to be polite while traveling. I travel very frequently for business and with my family and it never ceases to amaze me how slovenly some people are when arriving at the airport. When we're all confined to a small space, personal hygiene is so important!!!

    Sandy
    WOW, I so feel for you. Some people don't even try to be decent.
    “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” - Fitzhugh Mullan

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    The worst annoyance for my wife and I was on a China Air 747 flight from Los Angeles to Beijing. First, the flight was 4-1/2 hours late departing (plane late arriving from Beijing). Second, our seats were window/middle in a bulkhead row. Third, the aisle seat was taken by an American in a BODY CAST, including one leg sticking out in front. Fourth, the entire flight had an odor of stale chinese food!

    The flight was over 13-hours, arriving in Beijing about 1:30 AM. Fortunately, we were met by a driver and assistance, who transferred us to our nice hotel, just several blocks from Tinnamin Square. So we crashed in a nice comfortable bed.

    Another annoyance is the backpacker who comes down the aisle, then takes his/her time removing the backpack from their back, hitting seated people (me!) in the head, without any apology, before stowing in the overhead.

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    Smile Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Quote Originally Posted by jscott07922 View Post
    The worst annoyance for my wife and I was on a China Air 747 flight from Los Angeles to Beijing. First, the flight was 4-1/2 hours late departing (plane late arriving from Beijing). Second, our seats were window/middle in a bulkhead row. Third, the aisle seat was taken by an American in a BODY CAST, including one leg sticking out in front. Fourth, the entire flight had an odor of stale chinese food!

    The flight was over 13-hours, arriving in Beijing about 1:30 AM. Fortunately, we were met by a driver and assistance, who transferred us to our nice hotel, just several blocks from Tinnamin Square. So we crashed in a nice comfortable bed.

    Another annoyance is the backpacker who comes down the aisle, then takes his/her time removing the backpack from their back, hitting seated people (me!) in the head, without any apology, before stowing in the overhead.
    That scene reminds me of the movie 'Airplane' when the Nun walks down the aisle while holding her guitar by the neck and bops everyone in the
    back of the head!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    I voted "other" -- translate that into "ALL OF THE ABOVE and MORE"
    Laura
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Heavy perfumes can be just as bad as bad body odor. And a combination of the two is the worst.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    screaming brats; negligent parents

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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    Although I fly a lot, I haven't had a problem with most of the things mentioned. Throughout hundreds of flights, I've never had a seatmate who stank or threw up. If I don't feel like conversing, I don't. If I have an aisle seat (I always try for a window, and do my business just before boarding, whether I think I have to or not) and someone has to go to the bathroom, well, that's what people have to do. If I can smell their food and they're not eating limburger cheese, I really don't care. I am meticulous about always keeping the seat arm down and staying in my own space. If it's a redeye and someone can't sleep and wants to read and turns their light on, that's fine. That happens to me, too. Those lights are aimed only at the person using it. To me, the most annoying thing is when a person intrudes on your personal space above or under the armrest or near the floor. But that has almost never happened. The worst incidents I've had have been with recliners - more about that in another thread.

    Crying babies and toddlers? A woman with several of those had at least one going strong all the way from L.A. to Orlando. When we were disembarking, a man snapped at her and disparaged her parenting skills. I snapped back at him, asking him how well he behaved when he was their age. He had nothing further to say.

    Why can't people be both more considerate and more tolerant of each other?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Poll of the Week: Annoyances on the Plane

    People who insist on closing the window shade...once, a woman sitting in the window seat (my wife and I were in the center and aisle seats) closed the shade as we were flying by Mt. Adams. She was reading; there was no glare...I guess her copy of People Magazine was more important than a fleeting view of magnificent Mt. Adams.

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