Are You an Annoying Passenger?

10 Ways to Tell if You’re an Annoying Airline Passenger

We’ve probably all been guilty of bugging someone at some point in our travels, but here are a few pointers to make life easier for your fellow travelers and flight crew.

By Tracy Stewart,

The journey should be as important as the destination.

With summer in the rear-view, it’s time once again to think about holiday travel arrangements. Sigh. I know, I know. It’s stressful schlepping across the country to eat your body weight in gelatin desserts, candied yams, and smoked birds, isn’t it? The airport is terrible. And the people! The people are annoying. Are you one of them? We’ve probably all been guilty of bugging someone at some point in our travels, but here are a few pointers to make life easier for your fellow travelers and flight crew:

1. You may find small inconsistencies here and there, but security regulations are pretty much standard across the board. Is it really a surprise that your cell phone will set off the metal detector? Help speed things up by placing all your metal and electronic doodads in a coat pocket or carry-on pouch, remove your laptop from its case, have liquids/gels/toiletries in the TSA-approved quart-sized bag, and have those shoes ready to toss in the tray. And yes, that nonfat macchiato you just bought does in fact count as a liquid. As does that 6-gallon vat of Gold Bond Medicated Cream you forgot to put in your checked baggage. Don’t argue with the nice agent. Keep it moving.

2. Standing still on the people mover. Exhilarating, isn’t it? Enjoy the ride! But at least move to the right so others can get around. And move those bags out of the way too. Thanks!

3. Carry-ons and overheads, bad news first: You may have to store your carry-on in an overhead bin other than the one directly above your seat. The good news? Every overhead bin on the plane is going to the same place you’re going! Quelle coinkidink! Heck, even if you’re asked to check your carry-on, you’ll still see it again upon arrival. A slight inconvenience, yes, but no need for a meltdown. Just take whatever items you may need during the flight and keep them under the seat in front of you. No biggie.

4. Be accommodating to your seatmates and fellow passengers, without being creepy. Are they avoiding eye contact when taking their seat? If so, they probably aren’t up for a get-to-know-you chitchat. Taking the redeye and notice everyone in your row sleeping? Then keep your shade down and turn the reading light off a little sooner. And would it kill you to swap seats so that family can sit together? Probably not.

5. Whoa there, Burger King, go easy on the smells. You wouldn’t want your seatmate blowing stogie smoke in your face, and that steaming Whopper with onion isn’t any better. If you’re starving, forgo that grease-blotted bag of fast food for something a little more discreet. Have you ever in your life caught a whiff of M&Ms, or a ham and cheese, or a bag of trail-mix? No? Well, there you go. Buy those instead.

And this isn’t solely a food offense. Remember, you’re in a plane, not the hair & make-up trailer. While your attempts at getting beautiful are sure to be a hit on the ground, the nail polish and the Axe body spray aren’t gonna make you any friends up in the air. At the very least, do your spritzing and fixing in the lavatory. Related: Armpits and feet…hellooo? Are you smuggling Doritos in those socks? Keep it clean, people.

6. Surely, you’ve heard? All portable electronics, mobile phones, laptops, etc. must be switched off during take-off and landing. Think this rule is just a bunch of hooey? Whatever effect your last minute call to the office might have on the delicate instruments of the aircraft is not up for debate. It’s a risk your fellow passengers and their families probably don’t care to take. So, whatever it is, it can wait. And please don’t give the crew any lip if they ask you again to turn it off, mmkay?

7. Kicking and screaming. This is a delicate one, but not necessarily all that complicated. Parents traveling with children, please keep your child from kicking the back of the seat, slipping arms between seats, yelling, and being a nuisance to fellow passengers. You may be desensitized to this sort of thing, but the guy in front of you is not. Annoyed passenger, should the trouble persist and you have to ask the parent to intervene, do so in a polite and pleasant tone. Making someone feel like an inadequate parent will only make things worse.

As for crying infants…well, sorry, it happens. And there’s not much to be done about it. One thing’s for sure. Those pricey noise-canceling headphones you passed up on the ground are looking puh-retty worth it about now, aren’t they? Maybe buy them next time. You’ll be so glad you did.

8. Clapping upon landing? Really? This one isn’t so much annoying as it is baffling. How exactly did you imagine this flight would end?

9. Stay seated until the aircraft has reached the gate. Yes, the siren song of 200-something seat belts unfastening in unison is very exciting. You’ve landed, you want to stand up, and you want your stuff! But hang cool, teddybear. Even if by some chance you’ve collected your things from the overhead the moment the wheels touch the ground… uh, where exactly do you plan on going? The door is still closed and there are about 60 people seated in the rows before you, all of whom are just as eager to deplane.

10. Once at baggage claim, all sense of personal space seems to go out the window. And it’s no wonder, after having spent all those hours confined to such a tiny seat. But don’t wriggle your way through a cluster of waiting people only to block their access to the belt. That’s annoying. Those people are waiting on their bag too. The conveyor belt is long and winding, with plenty of room for everyone.

Please add to the list or comment below………

7 comments for “Are You an Annoying Passenger?

  1. Sashi
    October 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Jeeez bitter much ? No clapping on landing ? We used to do that on the concord and I think it’s cute oh and nice TSA agents ? What make believe airport are you in anyway ? And as far as them keeping me safe, I don’t think that GED is doin’ it .

  2. October 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    So I can put you down as a “YES”?


  3. david mccullough
    October 18, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I live in Europe, and on almost every flight within Europe people clap upon landing.

  4. October 19, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Confession time……… I’m a silent clapper. Always clapping on the inside after landing, and after taking off my control-top pantyhose.


  5. October 21, 2010 at 3:03 am

    I also live in Europe and the only time pax clap is after severe turbulence or a particularly bumpy landing (in which case it’s done more slowly, as if sarcastically)

    Unfortunately though the people who need to read these suggestions never do. Like the morons that cruise down the middle lane of motorways they are oblivious to the effects of their behaviour on the rest of the human race.

  6. Sarah Love
    November 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I thought this was SO funny! Seriously… why clap… I love your humor. I have a friend who is a pilot and I can’t wait to share this with him!

    Thanks for the laugh!

  7. Free-Q-went Flyer
    November 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    About a year ago, I was returning from a trip to Baltimore thru BWI. I arrived at the airport quite early, and was in no particular hurry to get thru security, so as I finally approached the scanners, I stood aside and let 2 flight crews proceed before me. (Karma; it’s a good thing!).

    Jujst as the last crew member passed me, 2 well dressed business men appeared at my side asking if I would mind if they went ahead of me because they were late for their flight. Did I mention “Karma”? I let them pass only to wait for them to empty their pockets of keys, change, money clips, cellphones, PDAs, cigarette lighters, and more stuff that I didn’t see because I was rolling my eyes. Then they started with the real work. Watches, gold chain bracelets, gold chain necklaces, rings, tie clasps, belts, shoes, glasses . . . (more eye-rolling goes here . . .).

    When they finally walked thru the scanner, one of them still set off the machine. They were hand scanning both his pectorals as I walked thru, collected my belongings and scuttled off to my gate. If you’re curious, my “Karma” gauge now reads “Full”.

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