Good morning! I just returned from my local Trader Joe’s to get some groceries and asked a couple of  employees what the deal is with the new mask mandate. They both said that customers who are fully vaccinated can shop without a mask. I asked how they verify that? They said that they can’t and take people at their word, which made me laugh. They agreed that anti-maskers will have no problem lying about being vaccinated if proof is not required. Interestingly, out of the 20+ customers in the store, I only saw one maskless person and my cashier said that so far, only a handful of people have not worn their masks. I wore mine and I’m fully vaccinated and I’m pretty certain the other shoppers were too since where I live, vaccination rates are extremely high.

The point is I don’t think the mask mandate on public transportation, including planes, is going to go away anytime soon and I’m okay with that. Actually, I hope they keep it for good or better yet, amend the rules to ensure that people who are coughing or sneezing wear one.

After my flight last week, I was reminded of some of my top pet peeves while flying. What are yours? Leave a comment below:

1. Coughing or Sneezing Without Covering Their Mouths
One of my biggest pet-peeves when I was traveling regularly pre-pandemic was passengers who coughed or sneezed without covering their mouths. I would see it on almost every flight, no matter what class I was in. Actually, the worst offender was a woman on a Virgin Australia flight from LAX to Brisbane years ago in first class. She wouldn’t stop coughing without covering her mouth and she was throwing her dirty tissues in the aisle for the flight attendant to pick up. I spoke to the flight attendant about it, who said that she’d given her a mask but she refused to wear it. So I asked for one and I wore it. If that happened today, the passenger would be arrested and fined wherever they dropped her off.

I wrote about the rude seat mate I had on my LAX to Miami flight on Wednesday (here’s the story) and how he kept taking his mask off. When he started coughing without it, the flight attendant pounced on him.

2. Watching Videos Without Headphones
On my return flight on Thursday, I was in 10A and the passenger all the way on the other side of the plane decided to watch his movie on his phone without earphones Everyone around him was looking at him like, “Is he insane?” but no one said anything. I was just about to get up and say something when the flight attendant told him to put headphones on. And he was pissed.

3. Listening to Music Super Loud
I’ve had countless seatmates listen to music so loud that I could hear the thumping beat from a row or two away … and they had earbuds on. I was guilty of this once and my seatmate told me. I was embarrassed and apologetic, but that’s why now I never play music or listen to movies at full volume and I take my earbuds off my ears to see if they’re emitting noise.

4. Using Speaker Phone
I find people watching videos without earphones the worst offenders or talking on Facetime or speaker phone. It’s like they think they’re the only ones in the world.

5. Loud Talkers
On the same flight, the passenger in 6G was greeted by his friend/wife/girlfriend in the aisle and she sat there speaking really loudly for about twenty minutes in the middle of the flight. Most passengers were sleeping or watching movies so it was not the time and was disturbing the surrounding passengers.

6. Cutting Toenails or Fingernails
Believe it or not, this has happened on more than one occasion.

7. Painting Their Nails
Ding. I just rang the call button and pointed to the passenger. The flight attendant jumped on them because it’s a fire hazard.

8. Flossing their teeth
I kid you not: On a flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Cathay Pacific, the lady across the aisle was flossing her teeth. With her HAIR!

9. The Mad Farter
Why do airlines serve gassy foods onboard or in their lounges? I can personally confirm that masks don’t mask the odor, thanks to my rude seatmate the other day.

10. Parents of Out of Control Kids
I have two little kids and I understand they’re not easy to travel with but parents who don’t even attempt to discipline kids drives me nuts.

Sadly, I have a lot of pet peeves when I fly and I usually can’t bite my tongue. So I usually say something to the passenger(s) or, better yet, ask the flight attendant discreetly to deal with it so things don’t escalate. These days, you never know who has a gun or weapon on them or how they will deal with it on the plane or when landing. I don’t need any bounties on my head. Occasionally, the passenger doesn’t realize they’re being loud or inappropriate and appreciate you bringing it to their attention … but that doesn’t happen often. Usually, they get pissed so it’s best to have someone with some authority, like the flight attendant or pilot, deal with it, someone who can make them stop by having them arrested, fined or banned, depending on the offense.

Did I leave something out? What irks you?


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26 Comments On "10 Air Travel Pet Peeves and How To Deal With Them"
  1. Benesse|

    100% AGREE! Those are my pet peeves as well and may I add another, rather controversial one: reclining one’s seat. I feel it is perfectly OK to recline when no food is being served whereas some people would rather you never do it even on a 5+ hr flight. 20-30 years ago no one complained about people in front of them reclining their seats–it was what people did. And now all of a sudden it’s become an issue.

    Bottom line; all this is connected to the prevailing lack of manners.

    1. Marlin Yoder|

      I agree with you, the seats are made to recline, if it’s such an issue, then the airline should make so that they don’t. Till then, that’s what they are for, I don’t care if the person in front of me does it.

  2. Kelly Loeffler|

    You sound like the type of person that is my pet peeve! Arrogant and opionated on what everyone else is doing with their lives instead of worrying about your own.

    1. Ryan S|

      @Kelly Loeffler You sound like the type of person who does all the things listed in the article Nice handle BTW lol

  3. Deborah|

    In the old days,
    People who spend a long time in the aisle stowing their bag, on boarding, and don’t seem to realize there are other people trying to get past.
    Gate Lice. Worse is when they are allowed to board before their time.
    People who, as soon as the plane touches down, are out of their seats blocking the aisle.
    People who recline without consideration for those behind.
    People who kick the seat in front of them, or grab it when they get up.
    I could go on…

  4. Laurie|

    Right on! Oh my goodness

  5. Marlin Yoder|

    If I am vaccinated, why should I care if the other people are not wearing masks?

    1. Ajk|

      I still haven’t seen a straight answer about whether a vaccinated person can vary the virus to another person. My husband cannot get vaccinated and I don’t want to bring it home to him. Jeez, you wear a seatbelt….wear a simple mask!

      1. Ajk|

        *carry oops

      2. KC Adams|

        Just now seeing this, so you probably already know that, indeed, vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others. All the vaccine does (and I don’t mean to diminish its value, btw) is lessen the effects if a vaxed person comes down with Covid. It does not keep one from getting Covid, nor does it keep one from spreading the virus via respiration, coughing, or sneezing. Safe travels!!

  6. Tim McGarry|

    Pet peeve on Southwest flights is when people save seats for their friends and family. I call them seat weasels. One person in a group buys the early boarding pass and is allowed to put books, bags or clothing on the seats in the front rows of the plane.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I don’t blame you. Haven’t heard of that one before but I don’t fly SWA often

  7. L|

    Just to name a few:
    1. Remove shoes and put his/her foot on the arm rest in between both front row seats.
    2. Open window shades in mid air with sunlight shining through the window while flying long haul, while others all are closed as passengers are trying to sleep to adjust to the time zone difference.
    3. Passenger’ knees/legs at the row behind keep thumping the seat in front despite if the front seat is upright or reclined. I understand some passengers have longer legs, but I can also tell if someone who is considerate and try to limit such action.
    4. Passenger at the row in front have his/her hands over his/her head, rests and blocks the screen at the back of the seat.

  8. Benita|

    I detest “man spread” where a man in the next seat thinks he can just spread his legs as far apart as possible — and encroaches on my space.

    Another one is a sleeper who snores, particularly when it is in my ear!

  9. Suzanne Wolf|

    I find it judgmental for you just to assume us ‘anti-maskers’ are liars. I respect (Not agree with) all mandates and follow them when out in public. I would never lie about being vaccinated because it is my personal choice to do so or not. Others may choose to lie, but putting us all in one category under one blanket assumption is part of the problem.

  10. Scott|

    All good ones as far as passengers are concerned.
    I have one about all the airlines who announce an upcoming landing as “we will be on the ground in 30 minutes“ I wonder if this is some kind of dark humor on their part. I would prefer “we will land “ or “We will be at the gate in 30 minutes “. Better Karma

  11. Kelly Stevens|

    As I read down your list, I was like “yep, ya, yes, you bet” On a flight, the watching videos without ear buds is probably my top one. Out in public, the use of a speaker phone is. Who is so self absorbed that the think everyone must want to hear their conversation? My boyfriend teases me and calls me the ultimate rule follower.

  12. Norma|

    People who are seated at the rear of the plane and stow their bags up front rather than where they are seated so that those sitting up front have no room for their luggage

  13. Miska|

    I so very much agree with your list! A few more pet peeves I will add: Parents giving their children VERY NOISEY toys to play with! I understand little children need distractions to help them cope and not be a nuisance, but, having them make lots of noise defeats the purpose! Gum smackers, pen clickers, leg bouncers, and “tray drummers” drive me nuts, also. Another peeve is individuals who feel the flight is their personal office; they have laptops out on their trays or laps and get upset if you move your seat at all, you need to get past them, or you converse with others – it disturbs their work! But, worst one of all are those who watch porn on their laptops; it is uncomfortable sitting next to that – there are only so many places to look in such a confined space!

  14. Patrick|

    As for people opening their window shades, sorry, but I can’t believe so many people close theirs! The view from ~35,000 feet gives a perspective on the world unlike any other, and I’m constantly amazed by how many passengers would rather watch a bad movie than wonder at the view out the window. I’ve been flying for 60 years now and I still thrill at the views on nearly every flight.

    I recently flew CVG > SLC > SFO, on a final approach route that took us outside the Golden Gate with a view of the GG bridge and the entire bay area as we flew down the peninsula and then did a 180 to come into SFO. It was really sad to see that easily 70% of the window shades were closed, and those folks missed such an incredible view. Same with coming in & out of SLC, with the stunning contrasts of the salt flats and snow-capped surrounding peaks. That stuff on the tv will be there to watch anytime, at home or in a hotel. The world from a height humans couldn’t even imagine just a few generations ago is only there for the duration of your flight.

  15. Ed|

    that is what America is now.
    The only thing to do is AVOID.
    Or, get the best PR firm to place certain video clips
    of major violators of
    Johnny Jets Pet Peeves
    on a new show


    Then, a few will heed the fear of being ostracized in public.

    But the rest will just go on.
    Besides the 60 years do bad t worse education and
    cultural degrades year after year,
    we are all subject to being the lowest esteem
    and must wade thru the above peeves just to

    i would forget this subject, it’s a downer and needs to be kept
    behind the scenes.
    Who wants to book flights if they know about Johnny’s
    Or, yes, or, Johnny Jets’ new airline!

    Peeves not permitted, peeves are placed at the back of the plane in
    translucent sealed seating where that cannot display their peeves until they
    are offloaded.

  16. Dale|

    I’m a window seat guy and looking out the window is the best form of IFE for me. I specifically choose window seats (when available) so I can look out.

  17. Ed|

    The 2 new Airlines flying out of Ogden, Utah, Allegiant and Avelo, both
    land after the tower is closed and unattended.
    0700-2000 daily are the tower hours.
    It’s not illegal, pilots and students do it daily to get more lesson time in because
    there is less air traffic then, but for a hired hand to land the airliner without tower control seems too risky.
    They do get Salt Lake Center radar normal flight control but Salt Lake sends them to the Ogden Tower Frequency but nobody is there!
    Others operating in and out of that field will announce themselves as approaching and which runway and which traffic pattern but there is no 2 way discussion from who is in the air if they see each other or acknowledge
    they’ll wait for the other guy before turning on final approach etc.

    So how’s that for a buzz kill on those 19 dollar flights?

  18. Debra Bokur|

    Two: The Elbow Invader and The Trash Monster. When I’m in coach and my seat mate thinks it’s okay to hog the armrest and have their elbow jutting into the space in front of me– or worse, jutting into ME, I feel like I’m being physically accosted. And people who leave their trash all over the floor are disgusting. We just flew back to Denver from Detroit, and a family seated across the row from us left dirty diapers, napkins and food items on the floor under the seat in front of them, and chips and food covering their seats. They seemed completely oblivious to how inappropriate this was.

  19. Clem Zawadzki|

    I agree that there seem to be ever more annoyances in air travel these days. But 20 years ago we traveled on the N*******n national airline and it was like being transported to flying in the ’60’s – wide seats and rows comfortably far apart. Delicious meals cooked on the plane, etc (and this was “economy” class) and the flight staff was very polite, cheerful and helpful. Could the crowded, uncomfortable seating, narrow walkways and overbooking be a serious cause of the current problems (along with Covid)? With the load of stressors these days, over-the-top rudeness is becoming the norm when we’re all feeling like life is out of our control every where we look. I remember when the pilot would comment on the particulars of the landscape passing below – the best reason for the windows. I do bring earplugs, eye covering and a neck pillow to help prevent snoring. If I’m in the center seat, I announce (politely) that the center seat gets both armrests and all of the floor space defined by my seat. Luckily, I’ve never had a problem. I also carry extra Kleenex, packs of sterile wipes, and individually-wrapped chocolates for the flight crew. With all this stuff to carry, I mail my clothes to my destination.
    Stay well,

  20. Ali|

    I think everyone has lost sight of the fact that the flight staff is not there as your personal servant, but first and foremost as a lifesaver in case of an emergency. To disregard any requests from the flight staff put your life and the lives of everyone else on the plane at risk if there is an emergency. Is that what you want?

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