Most annoying travel habits – from aisle blocking to airplane dashing

When it comes to travelling there are lots of bug bears that annoy us while making our way through the airport and sitting on the plane. While some find the sound of crying children annoying, others are more bothered by people taking their shoes off on the plane.

It can be a stressful experience before you get to your hotel and finally relax. But, it seems there are plenty of social faux pas that travellers are committing when going on holiday – and you might be doing some of them yourself.

Whether you're blocking the aisle when you get on the flight or using the security fast lane without a ticket you might be winding up your fellow travellers. KAYAK created a flight etiquette guide, so you'll know what's totally fine and what's frowned upon – its research showed the behaviours that annoy people the most.

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Annie Wilson, KAYAK Chief Commercial Officer, commented: "The world is full of opinions, and it’s clear some are more polarising than others. But one thing most of us can agree on is that we want to be relaxed and comfortable when travelling. But, sometimes it’s hard to know what is and isn’t acceptable when up in the air.

"Personally I’m with the 81% of Brits that say singing along to the music you are listening to is a no-go, but that’s just my opinion! It’s impossible to please everyone, but our fun guide can be a helpful starting point to see where the majority rules on decent flight etiquette."

Comedian Maisie Adam said: "There's so many – where to begin? And there's so many fine lines, it sure does rattle my cage if you cross them… Shoes off, fine by me. Socks off? Get off the plane right now.

"Stretch your feet into the aisle, no problem at all. Stretch them onto a seat? Meet me outside right now! The cardinal sin for me, however, is all about headphones. JUST POP 'EM IN, MATE. Honestly, there should be a special place for people who watch videos on their phone with no headphones, listen to music without headphones, or heaven forbid, take a phone call on a loudspeaker. Take away their toilet privileges, or even better, make them get off the plane last!"

Airport security stalling

According to research by, the annoyances start at airport security, with not listening to the security staff’s instructions coming out as the top bad etiquette that travellers witness (63%). Queue jumping for a tray at airport security is also a big no-no with 43% of travellers saying it annoyed them and getting in the fast security line without pre-booking a ticket for it will send sighs to those trying to speed through.

Boarding blocking

The frustrations continue as people board the plane, with pushing fellow passengers as they find their seat the top annoyance (65%), closely followed by blocking the aisle as people come in (64%) and spreading out on the seat next to you (63%). And if you want to be friends with the person you’re sitting next to, don’t expect them to climb over you if you’re already sat down as more than three in five (62%) will roll their eyes at you if you ask them to do so.

To recline or not recline

Reclining your seat has long been a heated debate while in the air, but according to the KAYAK research, more than nine in 10 (92%) say it’s okay to recline your seat, however it comes with a "but" as only 16% say it's always okay to recline your seat. Almost half (47%) say you must ask for permission from the person behind you first, while almost one in five (19%) say only if you are on a long or overnight flight and one in 10 say you can only recline your seat if the person in front of you has reclined theirs.

There are other opinions to consider on the flight. Majority agree only the person who sits next to the window has control of the shade (60%) and just because you are in the middle seat, doesn’t mean you can claim both armrests (63%).

Airplane dashers

You’d think once the plane has landed everyone would switch to focusing on the more positive thoughts of enjoying their holiday, but it seems there are still plenty of ways to annoy your fellow travellers until you exit the airport. The plane landing starts on happy terms as 65% say they believe it's acceptable to clap for the pilots and crew, but rushing to deplane before the row in front of you is not acceptable with more than eight in 10 people (83%). And climbing over the seat in front of you to get out of your seat is not acceptable (91%).

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