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Your fellow airplane passengers may be too polite to tell you this, but I’m certainly not. Kindly refrain from kicking the seat in front of you while you’re in flight.

For the third year in a row, Expedia’s airline etiquette study of more than 1,000 US flyers, found that rear seat kicking is the most annoying behavior on a plane. The second most annoying behavior on the list is inattentive parents. I’ll take a moment to point out that these two complaints go hand-in-hand. Inattentive parenting leads to bored kids kicking the back of seats.

I’m not a fan of seat kickers, but sometimes we all turn into an accidental Rockette given the barely-there amount of space between seats. Still, this doesn’t excuse the actions of kids who believe the seat in front of them should be used as a soccer ball.


Coming in third in the survey was aromatic passengers. These are folks who decided it wasn’t worth getting in the shower or brushing their teeth before hopping on a flight. A word of advice to you human stink bombs: If you’re sitting in a cramped cabin for hours on end, the least you can do is make sure you don’t smell like the fryolator at Burger King.

I’ve been noticing a rise in the number of passengers who are audio insensitive. Audio insensitivity ranked fourth on the annoying behaviors survey and seems to be increasing as people watch movies and TV shows on their tablets and phones, but somehow forget their headphones. If you’re doing this on a plane (I’m looking at you, woman in 26C who thought watching “Boo! A Madea Halloween” without headphones was a good idea), turn on the subtitles, tie a string around your finger to remember the headphones, or take a nap instead.


Rounding out the top (bottom?) five worst behaviors was getting a little too tipsy. Far be it from me to stop you from enjoying an adult beverage to take the edge off during a flight, but drinking too much of the devil’s nectar will likely result in seat kicking, inattentive parenting, audio insensitivity, and perhaps some unpleasant aromas. Do you really want to be that person who encapsulates all five annoying behaviors?

Surprising, the seat recliner and the armrest hog fell outside the top five. According to Expedia, more than 50 percent of passengers percent recline their seats, 23 percent never do, and another 11 percent don’t recline because they find it uncomfortable. A quarter of respondents said they are more likely to get passive aggressive and recline if the person behind them is annoying. Remember that, seat kickers.

Sadly, no one likes a Chatty Cathy. Some 65 percent said they dread sitting next to someone who wants to engage in conversation, and 35 percent said they would pay more to sit in a designated quiet area.

Here’s the full list of the most despised behaviors:

Rear seat kicker, 64 percent

Inattentive parents, 59 percent

Aromatic passenger, 55 percent

Audio insensitive, 49 percent

The boozer, 49 percent

Chatty Cathies, 40 percent

Queue jumper, 35 percent

The recliner, 35 percent

The armrest hog, 34 percent

Pungent foodies, 30 percent

Undresser, 28 percent

The amorous, 28 percent

The mad bladder, 22 percent

Single and ready to mingle, 18 percent

Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther