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9 of the biggest pet peeve when flying…

I recently surveyed some of our readers and fellow bloggers to find out their biggest pet peeve and what really grates on their nerves when flying. The responses flooded in and some of the results surprised me.  My own personal flying bigbear didn’t make the top five!

Some blame fellow passengers, some blame the airlines for their ridiculous antiquated policies. Whatever the reason, whoever is to blame, flying isn’t fun for many of us.

Here’s top nine pet peeves: 

What we dream flying to be like…

Pet peeve #9: The recliner

We’re all guilty of reclining our seats but now planes are getting smaller, seats are tighter and leg room has never been more of a premium.  The knee defender made the news last year when a US domestic flight was diverted and two passengers thrown off after a physical altercation after one passenger used the controversial, Knee Defender.

Are you a recliner?

Sarah from An African Heart concurs and says fully reclining on a day flight is asking for trouble.  Jen from World on a Whim says reclining causes a domino effect.  Jen’s tip to recliners?

“If you do decide to recline your seat back, look behind you and make sure there isn’t a 6’5” basketball player behind you.”

Brianne from Everyday Runaway  is a considerate flyer, by suggesting passengers should only recline if they plan to sleep.  

“People lay their seat back just to give themselves more room – which is extremely inconsiderate to the person behind them.”

Pet peeve #8 (equal): No food left

To eat or not to eat.  Choose to fly with a budget airline these days and the chances are you’ll get a seat and nothing more.  Not even water is free anymore.  Jenni from Travel to Recovery wrote to us and said her pet peeve was the food trolleys being empty by the time they get to the middle of the plane.  We rarely buy food on budget airlines, but maybe you’ve had this experience?

Like it? Pin it!

Pet peeve #8 (equal): Noisy neighbours

I would like to give Carmen from Carmen Everywhere a round of applause. I think I would have snapped at this one.

“I was once in a flight from Doha to London where I was hoping to get some sleep. Next to me sat this middle eastern women who seemed nice but was wearing dozens of bangles. She kept on touching her hair, retouching her make-up, playing with her phone and so on. Her arms wouldn’t stay quiet and as such, every time she moved her arms I had to hear the horrible squeal of her bangles.”

Sit still woman!

Pet peeve #7: Precarious packaging

If you’re lucky enough to get a meal on board, you’ll likely be given a portion of water and/or juice in a circular container with a peel back foil.

Precarious juice packaging

Taylor from Eat Lots, Travel Far brought this one to us and I can’t agree more.  Not only are you more likely to wear more than you can drink, you’re forced to drink the entire portion and unable to save any for later.

Allocated seating.
Allocated seats can be a blessing and a curse. – Source

Pet peeve #6: Allocated seating

Can’t say I’ve had this experience before, but I can imagine it would be far from ideal.  Kylie from Between England and Iowa saves money by not paying to reserve a seat.  Imagine being sandwiched in the middle seat between a married couple!

“They spent the whole flight talking across me and passing food to each other.”

Doesn’t sound like fun at all!

Pet peeve #5: Pets

I have to confess I didn’t even realise this was a thing.  Tracey from Exploration Addict suffers from severe allergies to dogs. Apparently emotional support animals are allowed on board and on the laps of their handler providing the owner(s) comply with requirements stipulated by the airline.

“I will never forget the couple next to me who put their dog on their lap and were giving me some serious evil side-eye because I couldn’t stop coughing. I even met another couple boarding a different flight, thank god, with a giant Saint Bernard that was joining them in the cabin!”

Pet peeve #4: Smoking on board

Technically, according to FAA regulations, smoking lit cigarettes or anything else that produces smoke or flame is prohibited on-board most commercial aircraft. However Michaela from This FP Planet found herself on a RyanAir flight to Poland when a fellow passenger decided the spark up while the aircraft was refuelling!

“Thankfully, one savvy flight attendant managed to stub it out before it became a real hazard and gave him a thorough scolding.”


Pet peeve #3: Oversize cabin bags

Some airlines have cracked down on the size of cabin bags, but others turn a blind eye and it becomes a free for all. Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter had something to say on the topic:

“I’m not sure if it’s the rudeness or sense of entitlement that makes this my #1 pet peeve.”

Pet peeve #2: Inflight entertainment

As a tall girl, I can sympathise with this.  Inflight entertainment is vital to get through a long flight. Showcasing new release and award-winning movies, the latest TV shows, great music and more. However as Ed from Rexy Edventures puts it, it’s as if it was “designed for Snow White’s seven dwarves.”

You can try to angle of the screen but how much you adjust the screen up, it’s never enough.

and the winner is…

Pet peeve #1: Arm rest hog

The negotiation of the arm rest is a political minefield. Window seat gets the window arm rest, aisle seat gets the aisle seat rest, but who gets the two in between? Many people claim these belong to the unfortunate soul in the middle seat.

Laura from Savored Journeys feels strongly about the issue.

“Since when did it become acceptable to stake a claim to the armrest and then (un)intentionally elbow your neighbour throughout the entire flight? We’ve already given up most of our personal space on a flight and I’d really rather not brush arms with a stranger for 10 hours.”

Your say:

What’s your pet peeve when flying?

Roma is the co-founder of Roaming Required. Raised on the beaches of NSW, Australia, Roma moved to London in 2012 with husband Russell. Together they form a partnership of strength and unity to follow their dreams to travel the world one weekend and short break at a time. Having a full-time career doesn’t stop them from seeing the world, nor should it stop you.

Come roaming…

Comments (11)

  1. If I had to choose I would say I mostly hate the armrest hoggers and the noisy neighbors. But i have learned to live with them. Let’s not forget people that feel like they deserve everything while flying, speaking loud and being rude, haha.

  2. The biggest pet-peeve I have that’s not on this list is when people bring a meal from the airport on the plane. When they open it up, the whole cabin fills with the scent of McDonalds, or even worse, something I’d rather be eating than what the airline is going to give me!

    1. Ahhh. I’ve only recently encountered this one, it’s usually on a budget airline that charges for food. You might find this too?

  3. i’m 5’2″ and have been very blessed with seat selection, long haul flights, and stuff. i recline, i’m guilty of it when i sleep because the person in front who keeps going back and forth in front of me, well, i’d need the room. i am cognizant of the person behind me.

    honestly, i hate kids who kick my seat and their parents are “training” them to not pay attention to their bad behaviour. i get it, but really.. it’s impeding someone else’s trip. start training them after the flight. i love kids but.. man the ones that kick… the anger…oh the anger.

    1. At 5’2, you’re fortunate with legroom. Ah the child kickers, yes I agree. A plane is not the place to train children to behave.

  4. Kids over 12 months are my biggest pet peeve. Mostly because about half the time the parent can’t be bothered to contain them. Once spent 5 hours getting kicked in the back of the seat. When I complained to said parent. Her response was that they couldn’t stop it. I wanted to kill her or the kid (but mostly her).

    1. Children are a huge issue of contention, I was surprised they didn’t make the list to be honest. Also, I read an interesting article that recommended moving the child’s shoes. They’re less likely to kick if they whack their toes into the plastic tray table.

  5. I totally agree on arm rest hogs. Especially if their arms are sticking over the arm rest into my seat space, and I\’m also in the middle seat. There\’s only so much I can breathe in to avoid being jostled!

    1. The arm rest seems to be one of the biggest pet peeves when flying. I wish airlines would just rip out the middle seat all together. How many people actually fly as a trio anyway?!

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