Passenger Etiquette – 8 Annoying People You Will Meet On an Airplane

The decline of civilized society is upon us, and you may be taking part.

I travel a lot. Frequently enough to be on a first-name basis with my airline. Lately it’s been clear to me there’s a movement of devolving kindness in air travel.

Today, it seems okay to behave in a narcissistic, anti-social way you would never act in any other walk of life. If you think I’m being harsh or over-reactive please comment… but I disagree.

See for yourself. Consider the following types of air travelers:

  1. Security Stoppers: They arrive at the TSA conveyer belt totally unprepared for the requirements of placing their shoes, bags and coat in plastic bins. Unless you’re a first-time flier, there’s no excuse for not knowing the drill by now. It’s only common courtesy to take a minute and prepare yourself while you’re waiting in line so security can go more smoothly for everyone.
  2. Wide Walkers: Shoulder-to-shoulder and unaware, these people move slowly through the center of the terminal, creating an impassable bottleneck. Their lack of concern for humanity is surpassed only by people who in-fact actually stop walking in the middle of heavy traffic. Shouldn’t others have the choice to walk faster than you? Stay right!
  3. Sweat Hogs: Yes, I understand you want to dress comfortably – and I’m not asking you to wear your Sunday best. But can’t we find a happy medium in-between that and unflattering sweatpants and pajama bottoms? It’s close quarters, people! We’re all in this together, so let’s be presentable for each other.
  4. Gate Rushers: For some travelers it becomes Armageddon the minute boarding announcements begin. Their panic to get aboard an airplane rivals a midnight holiday sale at ToysRUs. If you’ve ever had someone unapologetically throw you a hard shoulder and drag their wheelie bag over your shoes you’ll know what I mean. These are most likely the same people as the Bin Pirates (#5).
  5. Bin Pirates: It’s an age of exorbitant baggage fees and the new commodity of air travel is overhead bin space. There are unscrupulous passengers who raid this space with two big carry-ons plus a heavy coat, totally unconcerned that others may need room also. And they’ll do it right above your seat. (While we’re on that topic, what ever happened to enforcing legal carry-on size limits? I mean, you could store a body in some bags I see dragging down the aisle.)
  6. Phonees: No I don’t think the plane is going to crash because you’re updating your Facebook status on takeoff, but why don’t the rules apply to you? I turned my phone off – you should too!
  7. Seat Bombers: Unfortunately, it’s every traveler’s right to recline. So let’s be sensitive. I was hesitant to add this complaint until a recent flight where I watched a woman ignorantly throw her seat back into a young mother holding an infant in her lap.
  8. Linebackers: Bullying their way off the plane in an imaginary race to be first, these people act ignorant of the polite row-by-row evacuation process that has become standard. I’ve seen people stand up and grab their overhead bag before the plane has even come to a rest, as if their time is more important than anyone else’s.

Look, I get it. Air travel these days is far from a luxurious experience, even in first class. Ticket costs, service cutbacks and overcrowded planes have forced flying into a very no-frills experience.

In the face of it all though, human kindness is a standard we must all fight to preserve.

Did I miss anyone? Please share your worst flying experiences.



Jeff Doubek offers a multitude of marketing talents for information, contact Doubek Marketing Services.

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2 thoughts on “Passenger Etiquette – 8 Annoying People You Will Meet On an Airplane

  1. Marcus says:

    Yeah, you forgot the Linebacker’s (and quite frankly everybody else’s) natural enemy: the Runningback ( I agree it should be the other way around…).

    That’s the kind of person that will get up when everybody else does but starts putting on his jacket, deliberately getting his carry-on out of the overhead bin in slow motion, fiddles around with his/her briecase or purse respectively, checking, from the aisle of course, for that half eaten sandwich they have been sitting on for the last five hours and thus making sure that definitely nobody will get out in a reasonable time.

    Hence the Linebacker…

    • Jeff says:

      Touche Marcus — many times I’ve stood painfully hunched under the overhead while that guy fiddles around completely and rudely unaware of the humanity surrounding him.

      Thanks for commenting…


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