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KNEE JERKS

Here are the most annoying types of airline passengers

Singapore Boeing Dreamliner
AP Photo/Bryan van der Beek
America’s 11th most annoying passenger? The “Overhead Bin Inconsiderate.”
This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s no secret that, at least on US air carriers, flying is about as painful an experience as it’s ever been. More passengers, smaller seats, less leg room (more profits). It’s appropriate, then, that travel search engine Expedia has taken to surveying American passengers about just how bad the experience can get. Those feelings are compiled and crunched in its second annual airline etiquette study out today.

In partnership with market research company GfK, the company asked 1,000 Americans to rank the most annoying on-board habits of fellow fliers.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited the “rear seat kicker” as the most aggravating type of passenger, up from 38% last year. “Inattentive parents” followed, after claiming the top spot last year. Next up were the ”the aromatic passenger” and “the audio insensitive.” The noisy, drunk passenger rounded out the top five, followed by the passenger who can’t keep quiet. Around 78% of travelers agreed that a little small talk is fine, but prefer to keep to themselves throughout the flight.

As more airlines cram more passengers into smaller spaces with fewer amenities, more passengers are having to grit their teeth to be polite. “You’re in a tight space at thirty thousand feet with hundreds of fellow travelers, so even the small things–helping your neighbor stow a bag or switching seats to put a mom next to her child–can make a huge difference,” a spokesperson for Expedia said in its release.

It’s a tall order for those who are physically squeezed. Already this year three flights have been diverted mid-flight because of scuffles over reclined seats, and the Knee-Defender went viral. Survey respondents appeared divided on the etiquette of reclining your seat: 55% of respondents said they don’t ask permission to recline a seat, while 38% want to ban the practice.

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