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Cabin pressure! Seat banging tots, drunk passengers and rude cabin staff are biggest in-flight irritations

12 May 2014

The nation’s top 10 ‘plane annoying’ habits revealed.

Children kicking or banging seatbacks and late departures or arrivals head the nation’s list of ‘plane annoying’ behaviour, according to new research from Travel Insurance.

Other irritating in-flight behaviour making it into the top ten include crying or unruly infants, drunk fellow passengers and rude cabin crew.

Over 1,350 UK adults who had flown abroad in the last five years were asked to pick their top aeroplane annoyances.  While many passengers had gripes about the service provided by the airlines – inconsiderate behaviour by fellow passengers was the cause of most malcontent:


Plane annoying behaviour



Children kicking or banging the back of the seat



A late departure or arrival



Children who are unruly or crying



Drunk passengers



Rude cabin crew



A chatty stranger sitting in the next seat



A poor quality in flight meal



Air turbulence



Finding out that other passengers paid a lot less for their ticket



Other passengers getting a free upgrade to first/premium/business class


Caroline Lloyd from Travel Insurance commented, “Anyone who has ever boarded a plane will, no doubt, recognise some, if not all, of the gripes making our top ten.  There’s a fair chance that most airline passengers have been on the receiving end of a seat banger – be it a small child or a six foot plus passenger trying to squeeze into a seat with insufficient legroom or, an overly chatty stranger sitting in the adjoining seat.

“As our survey suggests - in the confined space of an aeroplane, flying at 30,000 feet – there is little room for inconsiderate behaviour.  So, as we approach the peak summer holiday season when planes are flying full – a little in-flight etiquette will go a long way.”

For more information about travel insurance, has a range of guides and FAQs on their website available at


Notes to editors:

On 10th April 2014, conducted an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected British adults aged 18+ who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.2, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current social grade, age, gender and region data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to cell rounding.