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      Airplane Etiquette Violations Survey 2022 — Rear Seat Kickers and Disruptive Drunks Are America’s Most Annoying Co-Passengers

      Eric Jones
      2022 Airplane Etiquette Violations Survey

      The summer is officially behind us and we are now preparing for the busy holiday travel season. We have already released our report on the Best & Worst Days to Fly for Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the holidays, many people will be flying within the United States to spend time with family and friends. The holidays can already be stressful enough and flying can often add to that. Flying with people not adhering to plane etiquette can take the stress to an entirely new level.

      We conducted this Airplane Etiquette Violations survey to see what behaviors by co-passengers are the most annoying. The question we posed was, “When flying on a plane, which behaviors from fellow passengers annoy you?” As holiday travel picks up, which behaviors should you be sure to avoid to not irritate your fellow travelers? Which types of poor plane etiquette are the most annoying? Is there rude behavior that some Americans let go? Below you can find out which flying habits travelers deem most infuriating and much more.

      When flying on a plane, which behaviors from fellow passengers annoy you?

      When flying on a plane, which behaviors from fellow passengers annoy you?(Check All that Apply Except If You Are Checking the Last Choice.)

      Photo: Eric Jones screenshot via SurveyMonkey

      Respondents were able to select as many actions as they found irritating. There was also an option for “None of These.” For convenience purposes, we have ordered the annoying plane etiquette violations starting with the worst or behavior most frequently found annoying.

      Here is the full ranked list of most annoying plane etiquette violations by co-passengers:

      1. Kicking the Back of Your Seat — 59.11%
      2. Drunk and Disruptive — 59.11%
      3. Smells from Poor Hygiene or Too Much Cologne/Perfume — 48.00%
      4. Inattentive Parents / Poor Parenting — 46.81%
      5. Eating Pungent or Foul-Smelling Foods — 39.80%
      6. Hogs the Armrests — 39.07%
      7. Reclines Seat Fully in Front of You — 38.25%
      8. Talks to You Too Much — 29.87%
      9. Boards or Deplanes Out of Turn — 29.60%
      10. Listens to Music or Movies Too Loudly — 28.96%
      11. Takes off Shoes — 23.59%
      12. Flirting with You, Passengers, or Flight Attendants — 21.89%
      13. Gets Up to Use Restroom or Stretch Too Much — 19.95%
      14. Uses Overhead Bin Space Many Rows in Front of Seat — 18.12%
      15. Overly Affectionate Couples — 14.12%
      16. Requests Too Much from Flight Attendants — 13.02%
      None of These — 11.57%

      Key Takeaways on the Most Annoying Airplane Etiquette Violations

      Do Not Be a Rear Seat Kicker or a Disruptive Drunk While Flying – More than 59% of American adults said the most annoying airplane behavior is someone kicking the back of your seat. Additionally, the same percentage of people also said disruptive drunks on planes were just as irritating. These two habits are tied for the worst etiquette violations while flying. The 59.11% of American adults that selected each represent more than 152 million people according to the recent census. So, the next time you fly, you may want to reconsider your foot placement inflight and how many alcoholic drinks you consume.

      Consider the Odors You Bring onto the Plane – 48% of American adults find it annoying when a co-passenger smells due to poor hygiene or too much cologne or perfume. Nearly 40% are irritated when a fellow traveler eats pungent or foul-smelling foods onboard. Next time you fly, be courteous of other passengers’ sense of smell. Make sure to shower beforehand, avoid large quantities of cologne or perfume, and choose foods more appropriate to eat in close quarters.

      Police Your Children if They Are Flying with You – Nearly half of American adults find poor parenting on flights annoying. Do not be the parent that is inattentive. Do not allow your children to yell and scream, run up and down the aisle, or bother other passengers.

      Avoid Invading Someone Else’s Space While Seated – 39.07% of American adults are annoyed when a passenger hogs the armrest. Also, 38.25% are annoyed when the passenger in front of them fully reclines their seat. If you must do one of these, be courteous and discuss it with your fellow passengers first. Do not do it without warning.

      Some American Adults Are Absolute Saints – Nearly 12% of American adults said that none of these 16 onboard flight behaviors annoyed them. The 11.57% that said this represents nearly 30 million people. Nearly 30 million people say they are not annoyed by sitting next to disruptive drunks, having their seat kicked, or someone smelling. In addition, they have no problem with inattentive parents, loud music, talkative people, and more. These people must be saints and we need to cherish their patience. They put the 88.43% of the rest of us who get annoyed to shame (Myself Included!).

      Interesting Demographic Comparisons

      Men Are More Likely than Women to be Annoyed by Rule Breakers on Planes – 33.33% of men said they are annoyed when a passenger boards or deplanes out of turn. On the other hand, only 26.25% of women said this annoyed them. Similarly, 18.88% of men are annoyed when a passenger uses overhead bin space many rows ahead of their seat. Only 17.44% of women are annoyed by this.

      Women Are More Likely than Men to Be Annoyed If a Passenger is Too Talkative or Flirty – 24.53% of women said they are annoyed when a passenger is too flirty to them, another passenger, or a flight attendant. On the other hand, only 18.88% of men said this annoyed them. Similarly, 31.43% of women are annoyed when a co-passenger talks to them too much. However, only 28.13% of men are annoyed by this.

      The Oldest American Adults Are Most Likely to Be Annoyed if You Invade Their Space While Seated – Americans over the age of 60 are the most likely to be annoyed if you fully recline your seat or hog the armrest. 47.49% of people over age 60 said people who hog the armrest annoy them. This was the largest percentage of any age bracket and significantly higher than the 31.98% of American adults aged 18-29 which was the lowest. In addition, 51.14% of those over age 60 are annoyed by co-passengers fully reclining seats in front of them which is the most. This is significantly more than the 38.25% average annoyance of a passenger fully reclining their seat.

      The Oldest American Adults Are Much More Patient About Their Space For Passengers Getting Up to Use the Bathroom or Stretch – Americans over the age of 60 may be the most likely to get annoyed if you invade their space while seated. However, they are much more patient when it comes to their space being invaded by a passenger seeking the restroom or stretching. Only 13.70% of American adults over 60 are annoyed by travelers getting up too much to stretch or use the restroom. This is much lower than the average 19.95% annoyance across all ages.

      The Youngest Generation of American Adults Aged 18-29 Are Least Likely to Get Annoyed While Flying – 14.17% of people aged 18-29 said none of these behaviors on a plane annoyed them. However, only 9.85% of those aged 30-44 said none annoyed them. And, only 12.01% of those aged 45-60 said none of these habits annoyed them on a plane. Lastly, only 10.05% of those over age 60 said none annoyed them.

      Survey Methodology

      This 2022 Airplane Etiquette Violations Survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey on behalf of The Vacationer. In total, 1,098 Americans over the age of 18 were polled on August 6. Of those surveyed, 47.27% were male and 52.73% were female. The age breakdown of participants included in this survey was 22.50% in the range 18-29, 24.95% in the range 30-44, 32.60% in the range 45-60, and 19.95% over 60. This survey has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of ±3.018%. You can learn more about SurveyMonkey’s sampling method by clicking here.

      The questions were chosen and the results were analyzed by the post author, Eric Jones, who is a Mathematics and Statistics Professor at Rowan College South Jersey.

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. 

      Eric Jones Mediterranean Cruise

      By Eric Jones

      Eric Jones is the co-founder and head of operations of The Vacationer. He uses his background in mathematics as a professor at Rowan College South Jersey to conduct statistical studies and surveys on traveling and vacations. Having traveled to all 50 states and over 30 countries, Eric is well-equipped to recommend travel destinations and new adventures to those seeking lifetime experiences.