Poll: What Are Your Airline Pet Peeves?

The 2012 Air Travel Pet Peeves Poll has been released. How about that guy that sits next to you, reeking of alcohol and cigarettes? Does that bug you? What are your pet peeves?


I'm 6 foot 4 inches.

Everyone thinks it's cool to be tall. Not always.

Long ago, I realized airplanes were not built with me in mind. I'm thinking the mannequins they stuff into prototype seats at the Boeing factory up in Seattle as they design new planes are about 5 foot 7 inches.

Space to stretch out for that four hour flight? What's that?

So, when I fly, and I always fly economy class - journalists are not paid high-tech engineer wages - I squeeze into my seat, then brace my knees against the seat in front of me, hoping, almost praying, even repeating a mantra, that I won't have that passenger up one row that insists on reclining their seat back to the max as soon as we take off.

But I've also come to realize that I'm like a magnet for these "heavy recliners." It's almost as if that person who ultimately sits in front of me - when they see me sitting in the next row back - decide 'Hey, this guy's already taking up a lot of room in his seat. I'm going to do the same.'

And I swear to you; if there are three people sitting in that row in front of me, the one person that will always lean back is the person directly in front of me. Never the other two. Only the chosen one to my north. The "heavy recliner."

Lack of leg room is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to flying.

Frequest Business Traveler says it this way: Comfort is subjective. While a petite passenger may be quite content with a standard economy class seat, a taller and heavier passenger sees the same seat as a 10-hour prison sentence.

What bugs you about flying?

The 2012 Air Travel Pet Peeves Poll is out, courtesy of the Frequent Business Traveler website, and it suggests I'm not alone in disdaining the idea of flying these days. Some of the peeves submitted by flyers were insightful, telling, and downright funny in their thoughts. Among the submissions, this list came from naeglerian, an online identity used by a traveler and seen on the FlyerTalk website :

  • Sticky tray tables
  • Never emptying the trash receptacle in the lavatory (ahem, United)
  • I appreciate the FAs bringing water/juice in the middle of long flights, but the cups are rarely retrieved for disposal, and I accumulate quite a collection by midflight. (United 2/too)
  • Uneven volume on different IFE channels; extra loud PA volume interrupting the IFE
  • Sitting next to a tuberculous cougher
  • Sitting next to a fidgeter
  • Aisle Yoga
  • The couple having the loud conversation nearby while I am trying to sleep.
  • Members of the Occupy Bathroom movement (no pun intended)
  • Having to contort my head such that I am able to expectorate into the wash basin after brushing my teeth. Perhaps this would not be a problem if I practiced Aisle Yoga.
  • Stains
  • Static-cling blankets that leave a layer of coloured fuzz on light-colored clothing
  • Temperature extremes
  • Cabin crew who are present primarily for my safety, and who subsequently ensure my safety by thumbing idly through inane periodicals while hiding in the galley
  • Decreased seat pitch due to seat pocket containing various catalogues

What are your pet peeves when flying? We've listed some of the top vote-getters in our poll, so let us know. But feel free to add your comments as well.

Jennifer R September 02, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I was recently on a long flight and person behind me took off her shoes and put them on MY armrest! And they had quite the offensive odor. Thought I was gonna pass out from the smell! Ha, ha! Couldn't believe she thought it was ok to do that and that she couldn't smell them!
Butch Cole September 02, 2012 at 03:44 AM
This is a true story...AA...the flight I was scheduled to board to JFK..London originated in N.Y....It was late by 1hr. getting in to SFO...when I asked why I was told "he got stuck in traffic over SFO and ran out of gas..had to stop in San Jose for gas."! Long story short..missed connection in N.Y. by 5 min....no they didn't wait for those of us connecting to London.
Valerie Lemke September 02, 2012 at 03:49 AM
I was just at the airport today, and you would think that after all of these years the airlines have been dealing with customers that they would have figured out an easier way to check in. Even if you do the online check-in (not all make that very easy and not every ticket is eligible) you still have to check your bags in a line that can take just as long as the check-in line. Also, checking-in with TSA is another long line and process to go through and if you bring something like Cadbury chocolate eggs, well guess what, they look a bit like hand grenades on the scanner (yes, I did that last spring) and if they suspect anything, then there is further delay. After that, you get on the plane and have no room to move. It should not take 3 hours to get through check in and TSA. Flying isn't a pleasant experience anymore.
Frank Geefay September 02, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Before retiring I spent a few years flying twice a week between San Jose and Denver airports. I was usually treated reasonably well by TSA considering their low pay and the number of disgruntled passengers they had to deal with every day. I was lucky most of the time to upgrade to Economy Plus free on United gaining me a few more inches of comfort. We only occasionally hit significant turbulence or had significant delays. So by and large I have few complaints except for one biggy, flight cancellations due to mechanical issues after numerous delay announcements. I have had to frantically look for alternate flights, sit in the airport for 4-8 hours failing to get several standby flights and then finally catch a midnight flight to San Francisco and having to be driven back to Cupertino.
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