The Most Annoying In-Flight Habits and How to Avoid Them

Since the dawn of time, humans have dreamed of flight, of taking to the skies and feeling as free as a bird. The Wright Brothers achieved this lofty goal back in 1903, and engineers have been refining the process ever since. But, despite the huge advances, it seems there are some aspects of flight that still have a long way to go – namely, our fellow travellers.

According to new research by, planes are a pressure-cooker of frustration, with seat kickers, odorous passengers, and thoughtless recliners the worst offenders.

The survey of 2,306 respondents found more than half of Australian travellers (55%) listed seat kickers as the biggest annoyance when flying, closely followed by bad B.O (54%).

Rounding out the top three was crying babies, with 38% of respondents finding loud or misbehaved kids annoying. Reclining during meal times (30%), and people that cough and sneeze without their hands covering their mouth (25%) rounded out the top five.

Angus Kidman, Travel Expert and editor-in-chief at, says he understands Aussies’ flying frustrations, and can see how the environment only adds to the feelings.

“These issues aren’t easily ignored. If you constantly have someone kicking the back of your seat, it can become incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re trying to sleep,” Kidman says.

“Flying is rarely the favourite part of anyone’s holiday, but being respectful and treating others well makes it better for everyone.”

In the hope of helping us all get along, has put together a list of five rules they think we should all follow. See if you agree with their recommendations.

1. Don’t recline on short flights

Just because your seat has the ability to recline, doesn’t mean it always has to, especially if it’s only a short trip. That’s not to say that you should never recline, just be respectful and understand there are some times that are a definite no-go for reclining, such as during food service. If you do choose to tilt your seat back, make sure you do it slowly and carefully, that way the person sitting behind you doesn’t end up with their glass of red all over them.

2. Don’t overdo the booze

Be mindful and don’t get too drunk. A few wines to calm the flying nerves is ok, but you don’t want to end up going viral by getting filmed being a belligerent drunk towards the air hostess. The less you drink, the less you’ll need to get up and interrupt your fellow passengers by going to the toilet too.

3. Read the signs

Some passengers might be super chatty, while other prefer to keep to themselves, to try to read the signs. If they keep going to put their headphones, it’s probably time to stop asking them questions. Not only should you keep your conversation to yourself, you should also keep your elbows to yourself too! Don’t man-spread and take up more of the already limited space each passenger has.

4. Avoid smelly food

This might go without saying, but skip bringing your egg sandwich or leftover curry as a snack. The smell will linger and you won’t make any friends. If you do want to bring a snack, think of more odourless foods such as rice crackers, apples or chips.

5. Keep the kids entertained

Try to be respectful and keep your kids’ volume down. Download some movies using Netflix offline viewing on your phone or iPad to keep them entertained and quiet during the duration of the flight. Not only will this make the flight easier for you, but your fellow passengers too!

Written by
Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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Written by Chris Ashton