Flying is usually the fastest way to get where we're going but there's a lot we don't love about being crowded into a metal tube with people we don't know. Here are our biggest airline pet peeves.
Our biggest airline pet peeves – Yours and mine
I've been flying all my life and currently fly about twice a month. Here's what annoys us – you and me – the most about the other people on the plane and about flying in general.
Passengers who don't understand seating/fare policies
If you purchase the cheapest fare category where your seats are assigned at the gate, you saying you're fine with not sitting with your travel party. Yes, even children.
The huffy “Well, have fun sitting next to my five-year-old” response might swing things in your favor but then again, it might not. No one is obligated to switch seats with you because you weren't aware of the rules. If someone paid extra to pick their seat, they may not be inclined to switch to a seat they don't want because you failed to plan.
Southwest is an exception because of its open seating policy but I've seen a fair amount of people boarding Southwest Airlines flights that don't seem to get this. C group = middle seat usually equals middle seat and having your group split up.
Passengers who recline
I said what I said. I know the seats are equipped to recline but I also know that if the person in front of me chooses to recline, they are going to sit in my lap and no one likes a stranger sitting in their lap. Well, maybe some people do but I don't, and definitely not on a plane.
I'm 5'10 and economy class seats don't have enough legroom. I upgrade whenever I can afford it or use my points smartly. I don't recline my seat unless the person sitting behind me is in my travel party
Passengers who allow their kids to kick the seat in front of them
Pay attention to your kids. I get that kids are wiggly and that most kids who kick the seat in front of them aren't doing it to be junior jerks. Watch your kids and if they're kicking the seatback in front of them, then do your J-O-B and get the to knock it off.
Passengers who smell (BO, smoke or excessive perfume, or aftershave)
I would probably rather smell an Axe Body Spray than BO or cigarettes but that one's a close call. I've traveled internationally and on long haul flights and where I had that not-so-fresh feeling but there's also such a thing as carryon approved toiletry kit and taking care of basic hygiene between flights, if you have time.
Passengers who bring aromatic food on board
Yes, I'm looking at you, Mr. Tuna Footlong With Onions. I get not wanting to eat airplane food or wanting to eat real food on a Southwest Airlines flight that doesn't serve meals.
That said, the other people on the airplane don't want to smell your tuna fish, egg salad, or whatever another stinky thing you've chosen to bring on board. Honestly? Even a super aromatic bag of burgers is going to get you side-eye from me but that's only because I wished I'd thought to grab that myself.
Passengers who take off their socks and shoes
I get wanting to be comfortable on the plane but public transportation ≠ your living room. The person sitting next to you – who does not know you – doesn't want to see or smell your bare tootsies.
Also, airplanes are gross. And, a very reliable source has told me the water on the floor in the lavatories is not water, but urine. Find some comfortable shoes and keep them on your feet for the duration of the flight. Please.
No one likes a flight delay. 2022 and 2023 have seen an increased amount of flight delays in the US. Southwest Airlines had major, newsbreaking hiccups during spring break of 2022 and during the winter holidays of 2023. All major US carriers get called on the carpet from time to time for flight delays but Southwest Airlines seems to be the front runner when it comes to unhappy customers.
Their Twitter feed is a dichotomy of typical “look at how fun we are” Southwest Airlines' campiness and outraged passengers.