The Most Annoying Thing That Travelers Do, According to Your Fellow Passengers

A new survey reveals the behaviors that bother fliers the most—so don’t be that person.

Travelers’ Biggest Pet Peeves Ranked

Rushing to get off the plane as soon as it arrives at the gate ranked in travelers’ top 10 flying annoyances.

Photo by Viktor Konya/Shutterstock

Whenever we travel, there’s always a risk of encountering some unsavory conduct along the way. A new survey delved into the kinds of behaviors that irk travelers the most, and many revolve around health and hygiene and invading other people’s personal space.

Flight deal tracking site Going recently polled 2,695 travelers about where and how they plan on traveling this year, as well as their likes and dislikes, for its “State of Travel 2024" report. According to the findings, those interested in creating a more copacetic travel environment for all may want to think twice before using a fellow passenger’s seat as a lever, blasting music on their mobile device, or taking their shoes off.

And even though the COVID-19 pandemic is in rearview mirror, protection against transmittable illness still matters to travelers: They definitely don’t want to get sick when they’re on the road (or in the air). The No. 1 pet peeve of travelers is when a fellow passenger coughs or is clearly sick and isn’t wearing a mask, according to the survey. If you need to stock up on face masks for your next trip to avoid said coughers, check out our favorite most comfortable, stylish, and effective travel masks.

Are you a window or aisle person? Going also asked travelers and found that the majority of fliers prefer to cozy up with a view in the window seat (53 percent), while 46 percent prefer the ease of entry and exit provided by an aisle seat. As for when they would rather fly, 54 percent of respondents said they aim to book early-morning departures.

The survey found that the post-pandemic rebound in travel isn’t slowing down, with 54 percent of respondents indicating that they plan to take more international trips in 2024 than they did in 2023. The main obstacles to travel are lack of time (29 percent) and financial concerns (25 percent). When asked whether they would rather get a $5,000 annual salary increase or two additional weeks of vacation, 56 percent of respondents said they would rather have more time off.

When they finally do get to go on a trip, here’s what annoys travelers most.

  1. Having a cough or cold and not wearing a mask (27 percent)
  2. Not using headphones to listen to music (15 percent)
  3. Kicking or pulling on the back of the seat (15 percent)
  4. Reclining without checking or during meals (11 percent)
  5. Standing up as soon as the flight lands (7 percent)
  6. Taking shoes off (6 percent)
  7. Hogging the middle armrest (6 percent)
  8. Crowding the boarding area before boarding (6 percent)
  9. Wearing strong perfume, cologne, or lotion (4 percent)
  10. Talking to a fellow passenger who clearly doesn’t want to engage (3 percent)

This story was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated to include current information.

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More from AFAR