The top 20 most annoying air travel behaviours revealed

The most annoying air travel behaviours include ‘double arm rest hoggers’, removing shoes and socks during the flight and standing up as soon as the plane has landed – even though the doors are locked.

A study of 2,000 flyers has revealed the biggest bugbears when travelling by plane, with passengers having too much to drink at the top of the list.

Others get fed up with those who queue at the gate long before boarding begins, clap when the plane lands or stand right next to the spot where luggage comes onto the carousel. 

Draping hair over the back of the seat – and across the screen of the person behind – is also an unpopular behaviour, along with reclining seats back just as food and drinks are served and holding up security or check-in queues by not being ready.

A spokesperson for Skyscanner, which commissioned the research to launch its Travel Hacks Hub, said: “For many, getting on a plane is the start of your long-awaited holiday, but the dos and don’ts of air travel can often cause a big debate.

“Navigating an airport – check-in, security and queues – is often considered a stressful experience, meaning our tolerance levels are lower than usual.

“With many on the plane heading off on holiday, they could be forgiven for relaxing and getting into vacation mode early.

“But it’s important to consider your fellow travellers when doing something that could be seen as irritating – if you would be annoyed by it, it’s probably a sign that you should try and avoid doing it yourself. 

“Our recent survey found that although many travellers could point out behaviour they didn't like to see when travelling, some admitted to being guilty of the faux pas themselves.

“We all know that sometimes travel doesn't go to plan, but Skyscanner's advice pages and social media channels are full of travel hacks for more seamless trips."

Top air travel bugbears revealedTop air travel bugbears revealed
Top air travel bugbears revealed

Annoying air travellers

The study saw 12 per cent of those polled admit to doing some of the annoying behaviours themselves.

A quarter of those have taken their shoes and socks off on the plane while 19 per cent have held things up at security after forgetting to remove certain items.

And 17 per cent stand up as soon as the plane lands in a bid to get off as soon as possible.

Gen Z believe themselves to be most guilty of unwanted plane behaviour (22 per cent), followed by millennials (18 per cent), Gen X (12 per cent) and Boomers (seven per cent).

The younger generation think they are the biggest culprits for overpacking and holding up the check-in queue as they repack, reclining their seats while the food is being served or draping their hair over the back of their seats.

But Boomers admitted they are most likely to forget to remove metal items before going through security and standing up as soon as the plane has landed.

When it comes to the right thing to do, 74 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, think you should ask the person behind if they mind you reclining your seat before you push the button.

And 81 per cent would support a rule banning passengers from reclining their seat while food and drinks are being served.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) would also like the plane to be disembarked row by row to stop people standing up as soon as the plane as landed in the rush to get off.

Skyscanner’s travel trends expert Laura Lindsay’s common faux pas

  1. Not separating liquids before security and causing a hold-up: Picking up your toiletries after security saves you space and weight in your checked bag. You can even save time by using in-airport pharmacies that offer a click and collect service. It also ensures you can plan ahead, avoiding a stressful dash around the shop looking for your go-to shampoo. This is also handy for heavy non-liquid items, like baby formula, as it doesn’t count towards your luggage allowance.
  2. Not having passports or boarding passes to hand and holding up the queue: Some countries have programs to make getting through border control a breeze, such as Global Entry (US) and DigiYatra (India). These usually involve pre-approval and clearance to enter, so you can spend less time at the desk. There are usually faster queues for passengers signed up to these programs, too.
  3. Over-packing and holding up the queue while they sort their bags out: Whether you’re the kind of traveller that needs to take 12 pairs of shoes on holiday with them, or has a tendency to buy too many souvenirs, there’s no need to get caught out at the airport counter with excess baggage. Learn how to pack your bags like a pro, saving your suitcase zip as well as your budget.

Top 20 worst air traveller behaviours

  1. Drinking too much alcohol on the flight (48 per cent)
  2. Parents letting their children run around on the plane (48 per cent)
  3. Queue-cutters (43 per cent)
  4. Reclining your seat while the food and drinks are served (43 per cent)
  5. Reclining your seat back at any point during the flight (40 per cent)
  6. Using gadgets without headphones (35 per cent)
  7. Standing up as soon as the plane lands (33 per cent)
  8. Leaving bags on the seat to get comfortable when you’re trying to sit down (31 per cent)
  9. Double arm rest hoggers (31 per cent)
  10. Draping hair over the back of the seat (28 per cent)
  11. Taking up multiple seats in the departure lounge (28 per cent)
  12. Not separating liquids before security and causing a hold-up (27 per cent)
  13. Not having passports or boarding passes to hand and holding up the queue (24 per cent)
  14. Taking shoes or socks off on the plane (22 per cent)
  15. Blocking escalators/ travellators so you can’t walk past (22 per cent)
  16. Over-packing and holding up the queue while you sort your bags out (21 per cent)
  17. Clapping when the plane lands (20 per cent)
  18. Picking up the wrong luggage from the carousel (18 per cent)
  19. Standing right next to where the luggage comes out from the carousel (15 per cent)
  20. Queuing at the gate long before boarding starts (13 per cent)