By Catey Hill, MarketWatch
These behaviors may send your fellow passengers flying into a rage.
The internet is having a field day with a video that appears to show this scenario: “Dude is in the last seat on the plane. Seat doesn’t recline. Hers does. And she reclines. He’s upset, and is punching her seat incessantly— so she records,” explains journalist Marina Marraco. “Who is right?! Who is wrong?!”
Responses to this tweet ranged from “It’s rude to ever recline your seat” to “She has every right to recline her seat” to “both are horrible.”
And data show that this type of debate is very real: More than four in 10 (41%) people believe it is very or somewhat rude to recline your seat during a flight, according to a survey from FiveThirtyEight.
(Still, only 20% say they never recline their seats.) And 64% said passengers should not recline if the person behind them asks them not to recline.
Reclining your seat isn’t the only thing that gets flyers angry. Travel site Expedia surveyed more than 1,000 American adults, asking them what they thought the most infuriating airline passenger behaviors were. Here’s what they found:
|Types of offending passengers||Percentage who say this kind of passenger is among the most annoying on a flight|
|Rear seat kickers||64%|
|Inattentive parents who can’t handle misbehaving, crying of whining children||59%|
|People who either have poor hygiene or wear too much perfume or cologne||55%|
|People who talk too loudly or listen to loud music||49%|
|Drunk, disruptive people||49%|
Other surveys come to similar conclusions. Inattentive parents and talking too loudly were among the top five most irritating behaviors on a plane, a 2014 survey from TripIt, a travel planning app, also found, although rudeness to the crew or staff was the No. 1 most annoying behavior in this survey.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that more than one in four Americans say that flying is either “unenjoyable or awful,” according to a CNBC survey of 815 travelers published that same year. And that could be because their fellow passengers misbehave pretty often.
Unruly passengers disrupt plenty of flights. “In 2017, there was one unruly passenger incident for every 1,053 flights,” according to data from the International Air Transport Association , a trade association for the airlines. In 2015, that number was one out of every 1,205 flights. Unruly behavior includes anything from verbally abusing someone to hitting them.
Why do planes seem to bring out the worst in people? “Planes are more crowded, seats are smaller, connecting times are shorter and amenities are growing more rare,” frequent traveler Nic Lesmeister told The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the same parent company as Marketwatch, in October, all of which stress passengers out and, experts say, may contribute to the bad behavior.
(This story was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.)