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What are the Most Irritating Things People do When Flying? Here is my “Top 10” Rant list!

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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.

This is NEVER EVER OK. Agree?

I am in the mood for a good rant. A rant I think most readers will embrace (and maybe even add to the “Top 10”-ish list I have below. Why this rant now? Maybe I am becoming the old “fuddy duddy” I always told myself when young I would never become, but my patience is just running so thin when I travel nowadays. Here are the things that just irk me the most.

Feet on walls! The above photo is the place I just have to start. I take my shoes off inside the house as almost all Swedes do. Shoes go outside where all sorts of disgusting things live. I would never EVER dream of putting my feet, that have likely been in the airplane lav, on the walls. Nor would I ever control the IFE with my toes or such. Why are some folks so gross?

Getting up during taxi! I am sure all of us remember, a few years ago, when a dude had to pee so bad that it resulted of him getting kicked off a Delta flight. Well it seems Flyer Talkers are all up in arms about another person who did the same during taxi and the result was having to get out of line for take off. Here is the thing: I go before takeoff either before I board or as soon as I board. If you have a medical condition you are aware of – wear adult diapers when you fly.

Clipping nails (finger or, shudder, toes)! Now I know that it is hard to keep your nails in good condition. I mean you can get flesh eating bacteria going to a nail salon after all – but that does not give you the right to send parts of your body flying all over the cabin. Save the click – click – click for your hotel room (or Uber ride maybe?)!

Paint nails! How many times has someone, after doing the above nail clipping, then taken out nail polish and destroyed the cabin with the smell. While I am not one of those who are sickened (literally) by chemical smells, I know many folks really are impacted in a bad way. Please, again, save this procedure for your hotel room.

Feet on seats! I may get some heat for this one but why do so many kids seem to enjoy either standing on the seat or putting their feet on the seat. Yes, I know they can not touch the ground and that is not comfortable but if you must have your feet in the seat take your shoes off first and either keep your socks on or bring some if you’re wearing sandals. Same goes for “bendy” folks who contort themselves and put feet up in the seat.

Dogs or pets on seats! I do not care if they are ESA pets or paid carry-on pets or whatever – unless the creature has paid for a seat do not put them in the seat (or at the Sky Club bar). Am I wrong here? You tell me!

Change baby on the tray! This may be the one single mega gripe I have that I will, from now on, say something about if I ever see it again. The lav is the place for this – not where food goes. It is not like planes are that clean to begin with, but adding baby poo is the limit!

Encroaching on my space! If you are so big your body, any part of your body, pours into my space you need to buy two seats (even if we are talking 1st class). Same goes for arm rest. You do not have the right to take my and your armrest in 1st class (ok in coach the middle seat gets both but no more).

Coach flier uses 1st class overhead space! If you are boarding when 75%+ of the jet is empty, do not simply toss your bag up in the 1st class section then wander back into coach. Use the coach space above your own seat. I forgive this only when the jet is full and there is no space back in the main cabin.

Block all the foot space! I get the unofficial “rule” is that if your bag fits under the seat then it goes there not in the overhead. However, if your bag is so big (or you have two) and you take up your foot space AND my foot space – that is not OK. Find another space for that bag (just not up in 1st class). Or buy a bag that will fit under only your seat (like these maybe)!

Constant farting! I understand cabin pressurization makes us need to pass gas more than on the ground. But if you are having an issue – go to the lav – sit down and press the flush button a few times (it uses the air pressure to evacuate the offending smell) If you can, go use the lav in coach (ok kidding on the last bit – maybe)! 😉

Talk loud phone (facetime in club). I thank Delta over and over again for not allowing phone calls up in the air. On the ground it is amazing to me how loud folks can be on a jet. And while on the topic, you people who yell in clubs on facetime should be banned from flying – EVER!

Leave window shades open on night flights! I may take some heat from the “keep the shade open” gang on this one but I like to be able to watch a movie or work on my laptop. The shade up kills that. Makes me wish all jets had 787 type shades that allow you to see out even when darkened (as you can see above)!

Grab back of your seat when they get up! A dear friend of mine does this and I cringe every time I see it. See those things called arm rests? Use those as leverage to get up. Do not EVER grab my seat. It is not yours to abuse – I paid for my seat.

Phew. I feel so much better now. I love a good travel rant now and then. Is there any way to fix all of the above (or any of the above)? I doubt it. Sure you can gripe to the FA’s and maybe they will say something but most times I think they would just shrug and say – people!

What do you think? Is my rant-list the same as yours? Are there others that I missed that are rant worthy? Let us know (this should be fun)! – 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. Pretty much agree with you on all of those…. except… Window shades. If it’s a night flight then why would it matter if they were up or down?

  2. Kids being “shut up” with ipads WITH THE SOUND ON AND NO HEADPHONES! 🙂
    The “full recliner” as soon as the front wheel lifts up. Well just the “full recliner” in general actually.

  3. Laptops being stowed in the seatback pockets for take-off when it is explicitly stated this is not allowed….

  4. @Patrick, I’m sure he is referring to an overnight flight where most people want to sleep and it hasn’t gotten dark yet, or a flight to Asia where it might not get dark.

  5. HuntingtonGuy Reply

    Mostly agree with the list. The full recline from wheels up to landing are near tops of my list. Even up front it effects being able to work, eat and use the IFE. 6’-1”, 280 translates into ever inch (c’mon) is precious.
    Feet on the back of my seat or better yet, the kid using a seat back or tray table for a bongo.
    Also, and I get the challenges of business travel, but the airplane is not an office. Keep your work confined to your own tray table and seat area. Binders or folders between the seats while you peck away at the laptop is obnoxious.
    Bottom line, just be respectful of others and behave appropriately.

  6. Jimmie fadden Reply

    Children who kick the back of my seat and parents that allow it. And people that think if they just poke the touch sensitive harder that it will work better. All while I’m trying to Take a nap.

    Platinum 1M

  7. Your last gripe is my first. The amazing number of people that use my seat back to slingshot me forward so they can get their lard axes
    out of their seat. If I ever get in fisticuffs on a plane, that will be the reason.

    Just to add my two cents to the many folks who have correctly mentioned the wheels up-full recline. You forgot to add the cherry on top. The 73mph full recline. Good times.

  8. Fitzpatrick Kathleen Reply

    Sat next to a woman who did not fit in her seat. Her arm extended 4 inches over the arm rest into my space. I had to lean on the left armrest for the whole flight. I get that she couldn’t move over. But, I paid for my whole space, small as it already is. Why should I have to lose 4 inches?

    Also, I hate those who pull on my seat back to get up and down. But, does anyone have an effective comment for those people? I want them to stop doing it.

  9. Yours seem to be mostly hygiene related. I’m not particularly squeamish about germs, etc., so most of those things don’t bother me much (though I agree with all being inappropriate). But you list one that happened to me last night that had never happened before. I was in F and when I boarded, the woman beside me had stowed several bags under the seat in front of ME. Mind you, she didn’t have so much that she needed my space, she just wanted her space clear for her feet! Unbelievable. (And she neither moved her stuff nor apologized/asked when I sat down.)

  10. The other option for when you get up and need leverage, say as you go from middle or window to the aisle, is to USER YOUR OWN SEAT BACK to push off from, instead of PULLING on the person in front of you. And tearing out some of my hair from the top of my head. And never apologizing.

    My personal hatred is watching someone put their backpack or small duffle bag into the overhead bin and then stretching their feet out under the seat in front of them…instead of putting it under the seat in front of them and then watching people struggle to work around their bag. Frequently as they announce “please put your small personal item under the seat in front of you”. I don’t mind if someone puts their bag under the seat in front of them, as long as they don’t then man-spread into my foot area…. I put mine under the seat in front of me, frequently taking up most of the space, but still manage to keep my legs within my space.

  11. Dave Brown Reply

    When it looks like someone has “sat” on their tray table such that when you go to use it for either dinner or laptop you have to have one hand holding either to keep it from sliding off because it’s so screwed up and bent down. Like the feet on the wall, ‘it’s not your plane, you’re renting a space for a period of time but it doesn’t give you the right to screw it up’. My resolution to the angled down tray issue is if it’s a meal flight, I take the paper wrapper from around the napkin and silverware, fold it over onto itself a couple to a few times (depending on the downward angle of the tray) and stuff it into the tray hinge to get it close to horizontal. If all else fails an exaggeratedly high knee holds up the tray, but that gets uncomfortable pretty quickly.

  12. It is completely unacceptable to me when a window seat passenger keeps the shade down during takeoff and landing. I speak up after pushback and point out that the shades should be up for takeoff and final approach. It is also unacceptable when the person in front if me reclines their seat the minute they sit down and keeps it reclined through out the safety video. If the FA doesn’t address the issue, after pushback I speak up and tell the passenger that seats must be upright during takeoff and landing.

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