The Top 18 Air Travel Pet Peeves Amongst Frequent Fliers

If you were to guess that seat recline was the top pet peeve amongst frequent fliers, you would be incorrect — despite events recently spotlighted in the media insinuating otherwise — according to the results of a survey released from Frequent Business Traveler magazine in conjunction with input from members of FlyerTalk.

Here are the top 18 air travel pet peeves amongst frequent fliers:

Chart courtesy of Accura Media Group.

Chart courtesy of Accura Media Group.

Insufficient legroom ranked as the top pet peeve; followed by a seat mate taking up too much space. Seat recline was third on the list.

Readers of The Gate have posted opinions and comments on such topics as:

  1. Insufficient legroom — at least, in relation to who is entitled to the space under the seat in front of you
  2. Seat mate taking up too much space — whether it is due to obesity or use of a service animal
  3. Seat Recline — enough said
  4. Loud or disruptive passengers who have been kicked off of the airplane or restrained with duct tape
  5. Misbehaving children which prompted passengers to want a child-free airline — and do crying babies count as misbehaving children?
  6. Sick passengers — or how to reduce your chances of getting sick; and is it possible that sneezing passengers might have allergies instead of being sick?
  7. There are too many stories pertaining to misbehaving adults at The Gate from which to choose on this topic — especially when they cause diversions of flights — but this one stood out in my mind
  8. Does this airline really have the rudest employees, which includes members of the flight crew?
  9. “Smelly” neighbors can include obnoxious seat mates such as those with bad breath
  10. Dirty lavatories can be found in all cabins of an airplane — but passengers in the premium class cabin usually prefer that passengers assigned to seats in the economy class cabin use the lavatories in that cabin with filth and stench being part of the reasons
  11. Diaper changes of babies while at the seat can certainly be one of the many reasons why a seat is dirty
  12. Not enough room for carry-on baggage is certainly a major reason for the war over space in the overhead storage bins
  13. Could you possibly becoming irrelevant to travel companies — including airlines — be a contributing factor towards minimal service aboard the aircraft; or is it because airlines are attempting to squeeze as much profits from you as possible?
  14. For me, one “flight announcement rap” would be one too many
  15. One mother might have been happy if the in-flight entertainment system were inoperable on one particular flight; but if the executives of one airline apparently had it their way, the days of in-flight entertainment provided by the airline would be eliminated altogether
  16. The seat belt sign is left on during the entire flight: who needs seat belts, anyway?!?
  17. Can raising access rates improve Wi-FI Internet service aboard airplanes during flight?
  18. Here is at least one article pertaining to meal preferences not being available about a FlyerTalk member who kept refusing meals served to him in the first class cabin because he was not pleased with the choices — but I suppose we should be grateful when meals are served at all these days


I intend to revisit some of these topics in the future. Are there any which you would like to see covered? Do you agree with this list?

9 thoughts on “The Top 18 Air Travel Pet Peeves Amongst Frequent Fliers”

  1. Levy Flight says:

    All just the day to day challenges of travelling en mass in close proximity for prolonged periods. I am peeved mildly by most of these (sick person the most) but no longer have to worry about peeves of travel in bygone years. Fortunately, scurvy, being lost at sea, piracy and kidnapping have dropped of the list of travel irritations for most (not all) of us. A poke at we in the US population, we like the most personal space between us and the next person yet we take up more space than other. Living in a society where money is king we do have an option to pay more and the problems are reduced. Flight travel after all is amazingly inexpensive when you consider what you are getting. As Louis CK put it rather well: “Did you partake in the miracle of human flight and then land softly on giant tires that you couldn’t even conceive how they f**king put air in them?…You’re sitting in a chair in the sky. You’re like a Greek myth right now.”

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have seen that video more than once, Levy Flight — and I agree.

      On the other hand: perhaps the future of travel will render current travel as part of the bad old days: “You mean it took you six whole hours to travel from New York to Los Angeles?!?”

      Then again, there was Concorde…

      1. Levy Flight says:

        Ah, Concorde… Was lucky to have a spin on that once (starting to show my age). Now, ever as a boy, I remember that feeling like a cramped cabin.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          Wow…did you ever feel that one day you would have to use a disclaimer such as “starting to show my age” when imparting that you were a passenger on Concorde, Levy Flight?

          I was a passenger on Concorde as well — but I certainly do not feel old…

  2. Greg says:

    So #17 and #18 – the very bottom – are Wifi and meal preference.

    Yet if you visit the United forum you’ll hear constant whining from pre-merger United tulip fanboys about how much these two ‘issues’ are driving ‘high value’ customers away from the airline.

    Good riddance to customers like them.

  3. Gizmosdad says:

    I think of sick passengers in a different way — I’m now immune to every communicable disease known to man, because I’ve been exposed to them all…

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I could just see the marketing departments at the airlines at work based on your comment, Gizmosdad:

      Fly Generic Airlines — The Only Proven Cure for the Common Cold™.

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