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Bad Airplane Etiquettes That You Should Be Wary Of

Updated on April 28, 2018

There's always a chance of meeting interesting characters on a flight, especially when taking the economy class, and I often find myself waiting with bated breath during boarding, wondering how my travel buddies will be like.

The personal space assigned to each seat on the economy class is quite small, which can be stressful, and the limited space seems to magnify every annoying habit that we or others may have. Therefore, in order to increase the likelihood of everyone having a decent and enjoyable flight experience, we should all learn to have a heighten sense of awareness and have more consideration for each other when traveling in a confined space.

With that, let's go through a list of the common characters that you may meet on your next flight.

Bad Airplane Etiquette #1: The Super Recliner

To me, the most annoying poor airplane etiquette (and the one which I get the most) is what I like to call, 'The Super Recliner'. These passengers will recline their seats to the maximum the moment the plane levels out and they will stay that way till landing. Some of them do not even bother to lift up their seats doing meal times. These habits make it almost impossible for the individual seated behind to enjoy the flight because it makes everything (e.g. working, eating, getting out of your seat, watching the tv) more difficult.

Reclining the chair during long flights (during appropriate periods of course), or night flights when the light on the airplane dims is acceptable. However, there should always be some considerations for other people on the flight because they did not pay any less for their air tickets or are less deserving to have a good rest, enjoy their meals and have a decent flight experience.

Which bad airplane etiquette do you dislike the most?

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Bad Airplane Etiquette #2: The Pony

I have never witnessed The Pony but there are many pictures of them on social media. Basically what these individuals do is that they will lift up their hair and put their hair over their seat as they rest their head on the head rest. The hair will basically just block the tv screen of the individual sitting behind them - and if it is long enough, it will also sweep onto the poor fellow's food if he/she were having their meal. Delicious.

Bad Airplane Etiquette #3: The Footballer

The Footballer are individuals who love to kick. They can kick your chair non-stop throughout the flight, and they can kick hard - waking you up from your slumber. Unfortunately, most of these 'footballers' are children so it can be difficult to expect them to behave (which means you may just have to be more forgiving and endure it). However, you would have expected that the parents at least try to make them stop - but some of these parents don't even attempt to stop them or look a least bit apologetic.

Adult version of The Footballers are usually individuals who like to cross and shake their legs or like to lift up their legs and put their feet flat out on the back of your chair or on the tray table, so every time they move, you move. Some even rest their legs right on top of your head rest - something that I can never understand.

Bad Airplane Etiquette #4: The Space Invader

Space Invaders, as the name suggest, love to take up space. It is not uncommon to see them with plenty of hand luggage and dominating almost an entire compartment. Sometimes, they may just simply throw their bags and bags of shopping onto the overheard compartment and not be bothered to put it neatly, in a more compact manner, so others will be able to conveniently put their belongings.

But the worst Space Invaders, I feel are not the ones that take up a lot of space, but rather those that take other people's space simply for their own convenience. These individuals will place their luggage at the overhead compartments at the front of the plane before heading to their seats which are in the middle or right at the back of the plane. I don’t really understand the rationale of doing this, but I believe it is because they do not want to drag or carry their luggage all the way back to the front when they get off the plane.

Other types of Space Invaders include the armrest horders, individuals who stick their feet all the way out the aisle and those who actually sleep on the floor.

Bad Airplane Etiquette #5: The Diffuser

Some individuals can give off unpleasant odors and usually the smell is due to them taking off their shoes. I think it is alright to take off your shoes on the airplane if you are wearing a fresh pair of socks or if you are super confident that your feet smells as fresh as newly picked flowers. However, if your feet smell bad (and I am sure you will notice it too), do try to keep your shoes on or at least try to keep your feet as far away from others as possible (and not face it directly at others).

My husband had a really bad experience once with an individual sitting behind him. This individual had really smelly feet and instead of keeping them to himself, he placed his feet on the arm rests of my husband's seat (as if he was lounging on a massage chair). That was beyond inconsiderate but unfortunately, it is quite a common sight on the airplane.

Bad Airplane Etiquette #6: The Beautician

Since flights can be boring, some people take the opportunity to do some personal grooming while still sitting in close proximity to others. Generally putting on lotions or make up is acceptable, but there are many others who do other more private things.

These include wiping their feet and armpits with the warm towel that some airlines provide (so don't ever use those towels to wipe your face), plucking their eyebrows or nose hair and cutting and filing their finger and toe nails (watch out for a dust cloud of nail files or nail clippings flying into your drink).


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