Inattentive Parents Rank Top for Most Annoying Fliers, Recent Study Finds


All around the world, everyone is gearing up for travel during the holidays. Some may brave the open road, but those pressed for time or traveling long distances may fly out to visit their loved ones for the end of year festivities. With busy roads, packed airports and crammed to the brim planes, tension can become a pretty common issue. Add in some of the “most annoying” fellow fliers, and the stress can be downright palpable on a plane.


“Planes are flying full, and the holiday season is traditionally hectic, so in-flight etiquette is at a premium,” John Morrey, vice president and general manager of said in a recent press release.

So which flying offences bother fellow fliers the most? Northstar surveyed 1,001 adult Americans and ranked their responses in a recent study to find out.

Conducted on Expedia’s behalf, the study found that “Inattentive Parents” and “Rear Seat Kickers” came out as the top two offenders on board, with Inattentive Parents coming in at 41% and Rear Seat Kickers coming in at 38%. However, Americans with children under the age of 18 were found to be a bit more sympathetic to Inattentive Parents, so they ranked Rear Seat Kickers just a tad higher.

Next on the list came the “Aromatic Passenger” (28%), “The Boozer” (26%) and the “Chatty Cathy” (23%). However, when looking at how many passengers “dread” the talkative fellow passenger (73%), you would think that the “Chatty Cathy” would have made it higher up on the list.

Inattentive, talkative, smelly, and drunk passengers weren’t the only ones to make the list though. Ten percent of all passengers surveyed admitted to “being intimate” with someone on a plane. These folks made #15 on the most annoying fellow passengers. Those that seem to forget that not everyone wants to hear the movie, AKA, the “Audio Insensitive” made #6.

“Seat-back Guy,” or the person who reclines their seat as soon as they’re allowed and keeps it that way, made #7. However, 80% of all Americans admitted to reclining their seats while flying. About 17% of all passengers admitted that they would recline their seats, even if the passenger behind them was noticeably pregnant while 23% would do so if the passenger behind them was elderly. Forty-five percent of them would do so without warning, while 22% would give a warning but not ask permission.

Other interesting findings from the study included:

  • 15% of passengers board their flight before their row or zone is called.
  • 30% of passengers have asked to switch seats with a stranger so they could sit with a colleague, friend or loved one who was not a child.
  • 10% ignored carry-on baggage rules.
  • 19% stashed their luggage in the first available compartment, rather than waiting for the one nearest their seat.
  • 22% consume more than one alcoholic beverage during their flight.
  • 39% are unable to sleep on a plane.

Interestingly enough, Americans say that they feel warmly about their fellow passengers, and 84% agreed with the statement, “For the most part, fellow flight passengers are considerate of other passengers.”

Maybe it’s the holiday cheer, or maybe it’s because we’ve been guilty of at least one infraction (if not more) at one time or another. Either way, it’s nice to know that we can all figure out a way to fly peacefully, even if we are a little edgy from all the traffic and congestion.

In closing, we’ll leave you with this last statement from John Morrey:

“Most of us, when we look at the list of offending behaviors, can admit to having committed one or more of the violations. So this season, perhaps we can all take care to be as friendly and accommodating to our fellow passengers as possible. After all, we’re quite literally all in this together.”