Air travel is becoming a space for bad behavior. Just last week, an American Airlines passenger physically assaulted a flight attendant and is now facing federal charges. Video footage shows a passenger running up behind the flight attendant before punching them in the back of the head. The data is staggering regarding this trend: in the last year, there have been 1,973 reports of unruly passengers. Just 2 years ago, in 2020, there were 183.
But, sometimes it happens the other way around. There are videos of pilots and flight attendants beating up passengers. Dr. David Dao was called disruptive and belligerent by United airlines after he suffered a concussion, broken nose and missing teeth following a row with the flight attendants. He rightfully insisted on keeping his legally assigned seat. Eventually United settled his suit for millions of dollars.
Besides flagrant misconduct aimed at airline personnel, a new study shows how overall airline behavior has been on the decline.
The Vacationer asked over 1,000 adult Americans about the rudest behaviors they’ve experienced on board by fellow flyers. The goal of the survey is to make people pause and think about their conduct in the skies. “For some reason,” the founder of The Vacationer says, “typically polite people sometimes get on a plane and their behavior drastically changes.”
So, what should you think twice about doing on your next flight?
According to the survey, reclining your seat on the plane has been called “one of the most irritating, inconvenient, self-indulgent habits.” Those extra 2 inches are often the center of hot debates, especially since airlines are always trying to squeeze more passengers onto their planes. 77% of people find reclining an airplane seat all the way rude. That said, nearly one-third of respondents said even though it’s rude, they still do it. The majority of those people said they ask the person behind them first.
What else is considered a flying faux-pas? Taking off your shoes on board and using overhead bins toward the front of the plane. Over 36% of American adults take their shoes off on the plane, and 10% take their socks off, too. The study shows it’s young adults who are the big culprits here, but if you’re guilty of this, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your behavior: 25% of respondents find this behavior disturbing. 15% of Americans copped up to using the overhead bins located many rows in front of their seat, often in Business Class or Premium Economy. This is often a way to avoid the hassle of dragging heavy luggage all the way to the back of the plane, but still, not cool.
Leave it to a flight attendant of 9 years to share her must-know hack for making sure your foreign vacation goes as smoothly as possible. Rosalie Edith recently shared her go-to tip for travelers: according to Edith, Most people are so concerned with bringing their passport with them, they neglect how they actually store their passport. Did you know you could be denied entry at your foreign destination due to your passport being in tatters? She recommends a passport case to avoid bending of pages, which many flyers travel with.
But her other suggestion is a little less known, and arguably, more important: a Ziploc bag. Whether it’s a water bottle or facial toner or sea water that gets to your vital document, this plastic bag, a staple in every home, is invaluable when traveling outside your home country.