On my early (7am) morning walk today, I came across a middle-aged lady listening to an audiobook on speaker at full volume. It was so loud and rude, I had to stop and say something on my third lap around. It reminded me of recent flights where I’ve encountered similar situations, so I’ve compiled my top pet peeves while flying below but please, feel free to leave a comment with your own travel pet peeves.
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 last year (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, 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. Using Nail Polish
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 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. Passing Gas
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.
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 … though 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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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.