Top 20 bugbears for plane passengers – including clapping when the plane lands

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  • Brits have shared the top 20 most annoying behaviours to encounter from fellow passengers on an airplane – with drinking too much alcohol on the flight topping the list.

    Other things travellers are not willing to tolerate when travelling by air include queue-jumping (43%), or parents letting their kids run about during the flight (48%).

    Reclining seats just as food or drink is being served is another big no-no, for 43% – with a whopping 81% even saying they would support a rule being brought in to ban this.

    And passengers are left infuriated by those who clap when the plane lands (20%), take their shoes and socks off after take-off (22%), and use gadgets without headphones (35%).

    The poll of 2,000 adults, who travel by air, was commissioned by Skyscanner to launch its Travel Hacks Hub – with the company's travel trends expert, Laura Lindsay, sharing some of her top tips on how to avoid committing these flying faux-pas.

    A spokesman for Skyscanner said: “For many, getting on a plane is the start of your long-awaited holiday – but the dos and don’ts of air travel can often cause a big debate.

    “Navigating an airport – check-in, security, and queues – is often considered a stressful experience, meaning our tolerance levels are lower than usual.

    “With many on the plane heading off on holiday, they could be forgiven for relaxing and getting into vacation mode early.

    “But it’s important to consider your fellow travellers when doing something that could be seen as irritating. If you would be annoyed by it, it’s probably a sign that you should try and avoid doing it yourself.

    “Our recent survey found that, although many travellers could point out behaviour they didn't like to see when travelling, some admitted to being guilty of the faux pas themselves.

    “We all know that sometimes travel doesn't go to plan, but Skyscanner's advice pages and social media channels are full of travel hacks for more seamless trips.”

    The study saw 12% of those polled admit to doing some of the annoying behaviours themselves.

    A quarter of those have taken their shoes and socks off on the plane, while 19% have held things up at security after forgetting to remove certain items. And 17% stand up as soon as the plane lands, in a bid to get off as soon as possible.

    Gen Z believe themselves to be most guilty of unwanted plane behaviour (22%) – followed by millennials (18%), Gen X (12%), and Boomers (7%).

    The younger generation think they are the biggest culprits for overpacking and holding up the check-in queue as they repack – as well as reclining their seats while the food is being served, or draping their hair over the back of their seats.

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    But Boomers admitted they are most likely to forget to remove metal items before going through security, and to stand up as soon as the plane has landed.

    When it comes to the right thing to do, 74% of those polled, via OnePoll, think you should ask the person behind if they mind you reclining your seat before you push the button.

    And more than two thirds (69%) would also like the plane to be disembarked row by row, to stop people standing up as soon as the plane has landed in the rush to get off.


    1. Not separating liquids before security, and causing a hold-up: Picking up your toiletries after security saves you space and weight in your checked bag. You can even save time by using in-airport pharmacies that offer a click and collect service. This also ensures you can plan ahead, avoiding a stressful dash around the shop looking for your go-to shampoo. This is also handy for heavy non-liquid items, like baby formula, as it doesn’t count towards your luggage allowance.
    2. Not having passports or boarding passes to hand, and causing a hold-up: Some countries have programs to make getting through border control a breeze, such as Global Entry (US) and DigiYatra (India). These usually involve pre-approval and clearance to enter, so you can spend less time at the desk. There are usually faster queues for passengers signed up to these programs, too.
    3. Overpacking, and holding up the queue while you sort out your bags: Whether you’re the kind of traveller that needs to take 12 pairs of shoes on holiday with them, or has a tendency to buy too many souvenirs, there’s no need to get caught out at the airport counter with excess baggage. Learn how to pack your bags like a pro, saving your suitcase zip as well as your budget.


    1. Drinking too much alcohol on the flight (48%)
    2. Parents letting their children run around on the plane (48%)
    3. Queue-jumping (43%)
    4. Reclining your set while the food and drinks are served (43%)
    5. Reclining your seat at any point during the flight (40%)
    6. Using gadgets without headphones (35%)
    7. Standing up as soon as the plane lands (33%)
    8. Other people leaving their bags on the seat to get comfortable, when you're trying to sit down (31%)
    9. Double arm rest hoggers (31%)
    10. Draping their hair over the back of the seat in front of you (28%)
    11. Taking up multiple seats in the departure lounge (28%)
    12. Not separating liquids before security, and causing a hold-up (27%)
    13. Not having passports or boarding passes to hand, and causing a hold-up (24%)
    14. Taking shoes and socks off on the plane (22%)
    15. Blocking escalators/travellators so you can't walk past (22%)
    16. Overpacking, and holding up the queue while they sort their bags out (21%)
    17. Clapping when the plane lands (20%)
    18. Picking up the wrong luggage from the carousel (18%)
    19. Standing right next to where the luggage comes out onto the carousel (15%)
    20. Queuing at the gate long before boarding starts (13%)
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