10 of the most irritating air travel violations
Over the last few months, I’ve gotten numerous emails about offensive behavior that readers have endured while traveling by air. It didn’t matter where they were seated. No area of airliner cabins was immune from travelers’ behavioral violations.
These are the ten worst air travel violators, according to readers.
To me, this is among the most disgusting air travel violations possible, especially when one finds a bare foot sneaking past seat backs to lie on your arm rest. The last time that happened to me, I told the guy to move and keep away or he’d be unhappy. Along with the person sitting next to him, I complained to our flight attendant who got him to put on his shoes and socks, then loudly embarrassed him to everyone around us.
Dirty diaper parents:
This is another disgusting air traveler violation. We all understand that sometimes babies “poop” while they’re air travelers. Parents who change their baby’s diaper on their seat and stuff the soiled diaper in their seat pocket are major violators. Diapers must be changed in the lavatory and disposed of there, after the diaper is put into a sealed plastic bag.
According to most surveys, this is the most annoying of all air travel violations. If this is you, just stop it. If it’s your children doing it, you are responsible to immediately stop it and prevent it from recurring. If you don’t want someone doing it to you, you can’t do it or allow it to happen to any other passenger.
Nasty and noisy in-flight drinkers:
Having a drink aloft is fine, but not if it results in your being out of control, obnoxious and loud. I had to endure two drunk women on a flight to Hawaii. Four hours of loud, slurred words and to the couple sitting in front of them, lots of chair pushing and pulling. The flight attendant was complicit as he kept serving them. I complained to United Airlines about these air travel violators and never heard back.
Passengers who ignore their children:
This is my top air travel violation because there’s no excuse for it. We recognize that kids have little tolerance when they’re bored, hungry, uncomfortable or restricted. When well-prepared parents occasionally fail to keep their children happy in-flight, passengers understand. Passengers don’t understand, however, nor should they need to understand, when parents ignore their children and/or their poor behavior. It’s not fair to other passengers and it’s certainly not fair to the children themselves.
Aisle and window seat passenger armrest poachers:
To me, it’s ridiculous when passengers in aisle or window seats “steal” the middle passenger’s armrests. They’re all that the middle seat passenger has to attempt to be comfortable. If you’re on the end of a row, don’t commit these air travel violations. Give the middle passenger the armrest between you.
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No one needs to recline their airliner seat at light speed. That’s a violation. It happened to me on my last flight. I was fortunate to not have a smashed laptop screen. There’s also no need to recline during meal service. Remember that you wouldn’t want it to happen to you, so don’t commit the violation against anyone else. Warn the passenger behind you and recline slowly.
No headphone gamers:
Typically, passengers using tablets and laptops to work or watch a movie don’t do this, but gamers, particularly teens and millennials with smartphones seem to do it often during flights. They play their games without using headphones and the sound turned up. During the day it’s bad enough, but at night, it’s a major violation, especially when passengers are sleeping. Putting on headphones after you wake up everyone around you is too late.
Overhead bin space stealers:
Air travel violators put carry-on bags and/or other belongings in overhead bin space away from their seat. It’s important to allow each passenger to use the bin space at their seat for in-flight access and surveillance to prevent theft. I’ve stopped a passenger twice, over the years, from opening my bag in the overhead bin. Stowing your carry-on bag and personal item in the overhead bin when others have no room to stow their carry-on bag is a major violation. Keep your personal item at your seat.
Seat switcher cheaters:
Too many passengers try to upgrade their seats via seat swapping violations. A few years ago I sat next to an egregious swap violator. The woman sitting next to me in first class asked if I’d swap seats so she could sit with her husband. I started to say yes, but instead asked where he was seated. I’m glad I asked. He was in an economy, middle seat. I suggested she swap with the man sitting next to her husband. She had the gall to say, “Are you crazy?” She glared at me for the remainder of the flight.
If you’re one of these air travel violators, cut it out! With ever shrinking seats, less space between rows, long security lines, long delays, lost and delayed luggage and shrinking aircraft lavatories, air travel isn’t getting easier. So, there’s no excuse for you to make it more difficult for others.
(Image: United Airlines flight landing at Philadelphia International Airport. Copyright © 2015 NSL Photography. All Rights Reserved.)
After many years working in corporate America as a chemical engineer, executive and eventually CFO of a multinational manufacturer, Ned founded a tech consulting company and later restarted NSL Photography, his photography business. As a well known corporate, travel and wildlife photographer, Ned travels the world writing about travel and photography, as well as running photography workshops, seminars and photowalks. Visit Ned’s Photography Blog and Galleries.