By Andrea Romano
December 14, 2019
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Figuring out the proper etiquette on your flight can be tricky business. Should we recline or should we not recline? Is outside food allowed? Are our emotional support animals as welcome as we think?

These are all questions travelers have had for decades.

Luckily, YouGov has released a data report of the most commonly accepted (and unaccepted) behaviors on airplanes. The study sampled a total of 1,219 adults in the U.S. in different generational categories, which included 342 Millennials, 319 Gen Xers, and 412 Baby Boomers. Considering that about one-third (36 percent) of all U.S. adults travel at least once a year, according to YouGov, this news came not a moment too soon.

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The first etiquette question the report tackles is how much talking is appropriate on a plane. According to YouGov, about 35 percent of all people surveyed said it’s best to “exchange pleasantries, nothing more” when you board a flight, while 32 percent said it was okay to “converse with them a little bit.” Only five percent said that a lot of conversation was appropriate or preferred on their flight. Sorry to all the Chatty Cathy’s out there.

Then, of course, there is the age-old question of whether to recline your seat. Surprisingly, 70 percent of all those surveyed said reclining was acceptable. There was some discrepancy between gender and income here as well, with men more likely than women to deem this behavior as alright (38 percent versus 29 percent). The same was true for people making more than $80,000 annually versus people making less than $40,000 annually (41 percent to 30 percent).

As for the highly controversial practice of taking off your shoes on flights, the answer should be a no-brainer. Most Americans, 55 percent, said this behavior was unacceptable, although Millennials were more likely to let it slide while Baby Boomers are more likely to give you a side-eye.

In addition to these age-old etiquette questions, YouGov found out that a majority of participants (69 percent) are annoyed by smelly food on planes and that travelers are fairly split when it comes to emotional support animals. Dogs are still the most acceptable type of animal (66 percent approved), followed by cats (52 percent), and hamsters. The most unacceptable animals include snakes (66 percent) and peacocks (64 percent).

As for the elusive Mile-High Club, only six percent of Americans admit that they’ve had sex on a plane, according to YouGov. Flight attendants everywhere are thanking their lucky stars that number isn’t higher.

To read the full results of the report, visit the YouGov website.