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Kicking And Screaming: Aussies Name ‘Back Seat Kickers’ The Most Annoying Airline Co-Passengers

November 13, 2015 Online Travel Agents No Comments Print Print Email Email

The Expedia.com.au brand, today released the results of its Airplane Etiquette Study, which asked Australians to rank the most frustrating behaviours exhibited by the millions of fellow passengers who fly each year.

Topping the list of annoying behaviours were Back Seat Kickers, with 77% of Australians citing this as the most aggravating behaviour of co-passengers. In fact, more than a third of respondents (36%) claim to have experienced major discomfort on a flight due to a passenger kicking their seat from behind.

Inattentive Parents – parents who have little or no control over their children – were second on the list of travellers Aussies find to be the most annoying or offensive on airplanes (75%), followed closely by The Aromatic Passenger, classified as someone with poor hygiene or those wearing too much perfume or cologne (61 %).

Australia’s top ten most annoying or offensive airline etiquette violators (in order):

Rank Behaviour Definition
1 Rear Seat Kicker The passenger who constantly shuffles and kicks the seat in front of them
2 Inattentive Parents Parents who have no control over or pay no attention to their children
3 The Aromatic Passenger The passenger with poor hygiene or who is wearing too much perfume or cologne
4 The Boozer The disruptive passenger who has enjoyed a few too many alcoholic beverages
5 The Audio Insensitive The passenger who talks so loudly everyone around can hear their conversation
6 The Recliner The passenger who reclines their seat all the way back as soon as the plane is off the ground
7 Chatty Cathy The passenger who strikes up a conversation and won’t stop
8 Pungent Foodies The passenger who brings food with a strong smell on board
9 Mad Bladder The window seat passenger who makes frequent visits to the bathroom
10 The Amorous The couple who displays an inappropriate level of public affection


“Having a pleasant flight largely depends on cooperation from fellow passengers”, said Kelly Cull, Travel Expert, Expedia.com.au. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a short or long flight, as Aussies gear up for the summer holidays, we should remember that a little consideration goes a long way to ensure everyone enjoys their trip.”

The Quiet Zone

The research also found that Australians have a preference for peace and quiet midair, with over a third (38%) strongly agreeing that “small talk is fine”, but they prefer to keep to themselves for most of the flight. A mere 3% agreed to using flights as an “opportunity to meet and talk to new people.”

Two in five (41%) agreed they dread sitting next to fellow passengers who talk too much with the same number of respondents agreeing they fear finding themselves seated near parents travelling with young children and babies. Almost a fifth (18%) would pay extra to be seated in a designated “quiet zone” if the airline offered one.

To Recline or Not

Reclining seats can be a sticking point for travellers. A quarter of Aussies (25%) strongly agree airlines should ban reclining seats entirely, or at least restrict the practice to set times during short-haul flights.

One in four (25%) Aussies don’t recline their seats at all when travelling on long-haul flights, with 40% claiming they have experienced major discomfort due to a passenger reclining their seat in front of them. When asked what would prompt them to recline their seats half of the respondents (52%) say they do so when they plan to sleep, over a fifth (22%) do so after meal service has finished, and 15% recline when the passenger in front of them does, domino-style.

Social Shaming vs. Studied Silence

In the event a fellow passenger noticeably misbehaves, 50% of Aussies would sit quietly and attempt to ignore them while a fifth (20%) would confront the offender directly. A further 13% admit they would surreptitiously record them using their phone’s camera or video and 6% would shame their behaviour by publishing the incident on social media.

Oh, And…

Of the 5% of Aussies that admit to being “intimate” on a plane, men were twice as likely to have got carried away up in the skies.

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