Southwest Airlines recently denied a female passenger boarding because her exposed cleavage was deemed inappropriate – but new research by European travel search site Skyscanner has shown that passengers’ biggest peeve about their fellow flyers is cleavage of a different sort: so-called ‘builder’s bum’.
The term refers to the exposure of the cleft between a man’s buttocks, normally due to ill-fitting trousers and careless bending over. In the US, airlines have ordered men to leave aircraft (before takeoff, mercifully) because their pants sagged too low. Sagging pants can result in the offensive ‘builder’s bum’ phenomenon.
Exposed beer-bellies are considered unpleasant too, but the Skyscanner survey of over 2700 people showed conclusively that ‘builder’s bum’ tops the list of things that travellers find most distasteful about their fellow travellers. Bums took 28% of the vote.
Personal hygiene was the second biggest turn-off for flyers, with ‘sweat patches on clothes’ taking 22% of the vote. Nobody wants to travel with unwashed people, or those who remove their socks in flight.
Despite the Southwest Airlines cleavage incident, the Skyscanner survey showed that women with low-cut tops offend very few people, taking just 4% of the vote. Travellers were more offended by other areas of flesh on display, with 18% not wanting to see their fellow passengers’ midriff or ‘beer belly’ on show, particularly if hairy.
For 23% of passengers, the choice of clothes is off-putting rather than lack of them. ‘Offensive logos on t-shirts’ took 12% of the vote. The fashion faux-pas of wearing white socks with sandals annoyed 9% of travellers.
“Whilst we’re sure that Southwest Airlines were just trying to keep their passengers happy, airlines need to stay abreast of what’s really offensive,” Skyscanner spokesman Sam Poullain commented. “If luggage fees continue to rise perhaps we’ll see less flesh on display as the trend is for people to wear more clothes on board to avoid paying check-in baggage charges.”
Most offensive attributes of passengers on planes, according to the survey, were:
1. Men revealing ‘builder’s bum’ (28%)
2. Sweat patches on clothes (22%)
3. Midriff/beer belly on show (18%)
4. Offensive logos on t-shirts (12%)
5. White socks and sandals (9%)
6. Ladies with low cut tops displaying cleavage (4%)
7. Men with hairy chest on show (2%)
8. Noisy jewellery (2%)
9. Football shirts (1%)
10. Flip flops (thongs in Australian parlance, or jandals to the kiwis) (0.5%)
11. Other (1.5%)
Quite what ‘other’ is wasn’t disclosed, but it can’t have been too dreadful.
Edited by : Peter Needham