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What things are just not acceptable on-board. Is it really OK to…. (just what shocks you)?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

NO! Not EVER on a jet. PLEASE!

When you fly a ton it is amazing just what things you observe people do. There is a never ending thread on FlyerTalk with people putting (mostly) feet where they should not. Clearly feet do not belong on arm rests, tray tables or bulk head walls (and so on). Feet belong on the floor.

But that is an obvious one and everyone can agree with it. What about other things that may be OK to do at home but not in a metal tube 32000 feet up in the air. Let’s take a look at my list of things that are just not acceptable behavior (at least to me).

In DeltaOne no less – clip clip clip!

Trimming nails and other maintenance. Between the click-click-click or the nails flying around the cabin this is just not OK. Same thing comes to trimming nose hair or any other “maintenance” that is totally fine at home but not on-board.

Painting trimmed nails. Following up on the above, if you are someone who paints your nails, do not do this around me. My wife does this and yes it is nice but I don’t have to smell it and especially so in a confined space.

“Bathing” in perfume or cologne. You may think Channel #5 is the most amazing scent in the world but I do not. If you put it on at home and sit next to me it may be OK but liberally applying it next to me is going to give me a migraine.

Changing a baby anywhere in the cabin. I get that kids make a mess and the diaper needs to be changed. But do it in the lavatory. Do not do it on the tray table then toss the soiled diaper under the seat in front of you.

Bringing stinking meals on-board. I get the food in coach is not the best but if you are bringing something on-board that will perfume the entire cabin that is not OK. Eat it before you board please!

Flying too sick to fly (coughing). If you are so sick that you are running a fever, sneezing and coughing up a lung you should not be sitting next to me. I know changes fees stink but if you have to get a doctors note to help get that waived and not to get me infected with whatever bug you have!

Unruly children (kicking seats). You made the kid, so be a parent. If your bundle of joy is kicking my seat or playing whack-a-mole with the seat back IFE for hour after hour I am going to say something and you had better correct “little Johnny”!

Kids playing iPad movie without headset. I love Sponge Bob as much as anyone but not if I have to listen to the show on full blast next to me because you do not have a set of ear buds for your kid. This is one reason I always carry a spare set of free buds just in case – happy to share!

Using FaceTime or speaker phone. Everybody loves to keep in touch, we all understand the need to reach out to loved ones when traveling. Here’s the thing, I don’t love them like you do so I do not need to be included in your FaceTime conversation. Same goes for watching noisy videos of the kiddos on your phone or wandering the Skyclub while chatting via speaker phone. Again, keep in touch but do so quietly.

Fighting / arguing with spouse +1. Everyone is on edge nowadays when flying so having a row with your significant other is not helping an already tense environment. Just save the fight till you get off the jet.

Overly demanding with flight crew. I am not talking about a simple request or even one time hitting the “ding” button I am talking constantly bothering them or dinging over and over. If you need “that” kind of special attention, fly private.

Gymnastics or too much exercise in galley area. I understand we get a little bit stiff and I am not talking about a stretch or two waiting to go to the lavatory I am talking a mini-workout in the galley. You are not only bothering the flight crew but others who want to get past you.

So that is my list that I could come up with but I bet there are tons more. You tell me, just what is maybe OK to do in private but has no place on a plane? – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Mine is people who have been waiting around the gate for at least 20 min who as soon as they have their luggage in the bin need to use the lav and swim upstream to get there. Use the restroom in the terminal!

  2. Got grossed out then stressed out last week. Lights were off during the flight. When they came on, I discovered that my seatmate took his shoes off, then fell asleep. Now his sock-clad feet were propped on my computer case. Yuk!

    Then upon arriving in the U.S. and rechecking, I discovered I had secondary screening. (The dreaded SSSS on my boarding pass) As they tested all of my stuff, I thought of the possibility that this guy had something strange on his socks that had contaminated my bag. Far-fetched I know, but it crossed my mind.

    Keep your shoes on or bring slippers. And keep your feet to yourself.

  3. Michael Karpiel Reply

    Stupid people that go barefoot or just with socks on into the lavatories. Don’t they realize that’s not just water on the floor?????

  4. Rene, I noticed your photo. Hmmm… I regularly carry nail trimming accessories in my carry on. I’ve never had anyone pull my bag for that.

  5. Self-entitled business travelers, like the idiot in 1D last night (MCO/DTW), who asked the flight attendant to activate the in-flight entertainment system to keep kids from disrupting everyone when my kids (9 and 12) are sitting directly behind them.

    Truth be told, my kids are more well-behaved and less needy than most business travelers I see on a regular basis. They are quiet and rarely ask for anything.

    BTW, this is the same guy who kept trying to one-up his newly-met seat mate by claiming to have flown to all places worldwide the seat mate had flown. This type of appendage-measuring is so boorish.

  6. Berkeley Thompson Reply

    Emotional support animals that don’t fit in a small carry on bag and want to visit with everyone but their owner and insist on sticking their noses, tongue, and slobber everywhere. Not to mention the animals being unclean and smelly. I get that people need emotional support animals but when it comes to flying, either get a hermit crab or don’t fly. I’d take the fingernail trimming sitting right next to me all day every day over the Golden Retriever emotional support animal.

  7. Let’s extend feet courtesy to the SkyClub, please. The coffee tables in front of chairs and couches are NOT foot stools; they are where we put our plates and cups of food. Likewise, an empty chair is also NOT a foot stool. Whether you are barefoot, wearing socks, or wearing shoes – as Rene wrote, feet belong on the floor! Unfortunately, most SkyClub staff do not enforce this either.

  8. Great list! And so true!

    I would also add:

    — Messy snackers — People who miss their mouths when eating snacks, crumbs all over them, their seat, me, the ground. And when they get up, all over me (am usually in aisle seat) and everything again.

    — People who like to climb over people, despite plugged in cords. I immediately tell them to stop as I would prefer to get up and out of the way first, safely with all my electronics unplugged.

    — Similar to above, people who won’t get up to let someone in. Seem to be seeing that more and more for some reason.

    — People who don’t seem to know how to use a toilet. Urine all over the seat, floor and even walls! I too cannot believe the ones who would go to the washroom in socks…

    — People who do not flush toilet after.

    — People who wipe their noses with their hands and then go on to touch our shared armrests, their screen etc. This is why I wipe everything down with an antibacterial wipe, including headrest.

  9. I have completed every square of passenger shaming bingo ( this year.

    Some personal pet peeves & fears:

    1. The throwing-up passenger – my single worst fear.
    2. The drunk passenger – my second worst fear unless it processes to #1 above.
    2. The passenger passing horrid gas for the entire flight.
    3. The business blowhard with the bluetooth talking loud so everyone can hear (in the Sky Club, at the gate and in the plane before take-off)

  10. People taking food from their meal tray and feeding it to their dog and/or place their dog on the tray stand.

  11. Reclining your seat. I know people will hate on me for this but the seat pitch is just too small to recline ALL THE WAY without asking or not on a redeye longhaul.
    Bringing bags on-board that you can’t physically lift into the overhead.
    Gate Lice, need I say more. Just wait until your boarding group. Is that so hard, really.
    Man Spreading, sure I’ll give you the armrests and as much space as I can if you’re in the middle seat but don’t Man Spread. I’m a guy and I don’t get this habit.
    Take a shower, BO is gross and even worse on a plane.

  12. One more: Nearly all pre-boarding, except those actually in need.

    Example 1: One handicapped person pre-boarding, taking 15 family members with them.

    Example 2: Gate agents allowing pre-boarding of families even though the children are no longer in strollers. Does your four year old really need extra time?

  13. Ha ha loved reading your post today and everyones comments!! I saw my first feet on bulkhead recently and in first class…i just couldnt believe it. Some of these should or could be addressed in short fun ways along with safety, i just am amazed who would think it isnt gross to clip nails?? Geeeezus Really?
    I will never forget being on one of those puddle jumping little commuter flights delta operates and a late passenger sits across the aisle clearly not feeling well….needless to say he vomited in the aisle on take off…the alcohol smell on top of stomach acid was just vile…poor flight attendant couldnt get up as we were 45° angle so we endured until level and could cover it with table cloths etc…beverage service was a pain for her and the rest of us!!! Whew was i ever glad to get off of that little tube!!

  14. Rene you must not have any kidlets. You can barely use the airplane lavatory for its intended purpose let alone change a baby. 🙂

  15. Dogs on the sofa in the sky clubs and being fed!! Trashing the area around you and under the seat in the sky club!!!
    Smashing the tv buttons on the back of my head!! FA’s sticking their fingers in the food to check that it is hot enough!!!
    Ga’s telling me my bag won’t fit under the seat in front of me…..It does in almost all plane types!!
    Guys leaving up the toilet seat in the lav..especially the pilot!!!!!!!

  16. JamaicanTraveller Reply

    I tend to go to sleep even on the shortest flights as soon as we start rolling down the runway. That way I don’t have to deal with a lot of the crap that happens these day. I have come across people who were way too sick to fly, fortunately none were seated by me. I get that flying sick at times may be your only resort (example heading home from a client engagement) – but at least load up on some cold/flu meds before getting on the flight. Also for the love of God please walk with some hand sanitizer and don’t touch everything in sight.

    Another thing I hate is when people leave trash in the seatback pockets….

  17. a few of my faves over the years:

    – the man in 1st class who was combing his dog’s hair (dog in his lap) as the flight attendants were beginning meal service! hair flying everywhere, backlit by the mid-day sun. and no one said a WORD…

    – the self proclaimed Air France executive who asked if i would switch seats with him (on a transatlantic flight) so that he could sit together with his daughter. i declined. he then proceeded to explain, in french, how horrible i was being because i would not acquiesce to his reasonable demand and would she please move me. luckily for me, i speak fluent french, and so i explained to the AF flight attendant that i paid extra for my seat and selected it at the time of booking and that i did not appreciate being bullied by some DYKWIA “executive,” who, were he really so important, would be seated in first class along with his daughter. he heard every word and i enjoyed the flight without further interruptions. ; )

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