December 09, 2014

What are the biggest no-no’s while flying? Kicking the seat in front of you, according to Expedia’s second annual Airline Etiquette Study. The travel giant partnered with research firm GfK and asked 1,000 Americans to rank fellow fliers’ most bothersome actions.

Over two-thirds of respondents cited “rear seat kicker” as violating common etiquette. Inattentive parents came in second, with 64 percent of respondents mentioning them—probably for failing to control their seat-kicking child.  Odorous, noisy, and drunk passengers round out the top five. (The full list is shown at the end of this post.)

And while the top five is mostly repeat offenders from last year’s survey (noisy passengers replace overzealous chatters), what has changed is the consensus among respondents. In 2013, not a single breach of etiquette was cited by the majority of survey-takers. and only four were mentioned by at least a quarter. This year, the top five were each mentioned by at least fifty percent of respondents, and all but one misbehavior (seat switching, cited by 13 percent) received mentions from over a quarter.

Also of note:  This year, 49 percent of survey takers report that they cannot sleep on a plane, compared to last year’s 39 percent.

And, most importantly, Mile High Club membership is down: only five percent of respondents admit to having been “intimate” with someone on a plane. Last year that number was ten percent.

 

EXPEDIA AIRLINE ETIQUETTE SURVEY

% of Respondents Citing Behavior

 

Etiquette Violators

2014

2013

1

Rear Seat Kicker

67

38

2

Inattentive Parents

64

41

3

The Aromatic Passenger

56

28

4

The Audio Insensitive (talking or music)

51

19

5

The Boozer

50

26

6

Chatty Cathy

43

23

7

Carry-On Baggage

39

13

8

The Armrest Hog

38

11

9

Seat-Back Guy (the seat recliner)

37

13

10

The Queue Jumper (rushes to deplane)

35

12

11

Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (stows bag in first available spot,
rather than nearest to his/her seat)

32

9

12

Pungent Foodies

32

9

13

Back Seat Grabber

31

12

14

Playboy (reads or watches adult content)

30

n/a

15

The Amorous (inappropriate affection levels)

29

9

16

Mad Bladder (window seat passenger who makes repeat bathroom visits)

28

9

17

Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more)

26

9

18

The Seat Switcher

13

5

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

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