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There are many things that can detract from the air travel experience. Significant delays, for starters, like I experienced flying out of O’Hare last month. I just love getting to my destination 3.5 hours late, at nearly 1:00 in the morning.

But that comes with the territory. Another unfortunate thing that comes with the territory is the fact you are stuck in a metal tube with a bunch of other people. Most are kind and courteous, and I even had a couple great conversations on this last trip. It’s nice when you can chat with a seat mate, yet not feel trapped when the person wants to talk your ear off for 5 hours straight.

There are other people that trigger my travel annoyances. Sure, these are all “first world problems”, but  Here are my top three:

#3 – The seat is not a handle

This one never fails. I think it happens on literally every flight. Trying to doze for a bit essentially guarantees that someone grabs a fistful of the headrest and yanks themselves up with all their strength, violently jarring the seat.

I understand we are in a cramped space. It’s also true some people have mobility difficulties that necessitate something to steady them as they stand up or walk. I get it. But those aren’t the ones I am talking about.

When I flew with my kids to Paris in May (SEE: Delta 777 Economy Review: Seattle to Paris), the kid behind my daughter routinely used the seat as a handle. She didn’t mention it to me until after the flight, but this picture tells all.

a boy and girl sitting on an airplane

#2 – Do you really need to recline on a short-haul?

There is nothing better than pulling out my laptop to work for an hour on a regional flight, just to have someone recline into the little space I have. My laptop already doesn’t sit at an ideal angle for me to work. But I can manage. However, with the seat reclined, I usually have to give up on the tray table and move it onto my lap. Not to mention the people who come crashing back with zero warning and more than enough force to break a screen should it get caught in the tray table latch!

I really don’t get what that extra inch is really going to get you on a 90-minute flight. Heck, I hardly ever recline my seat on cross-country flights these days. It’s just so much easier for everyone to leave it up. I guess one of the benefits of flying Frontier is that the seats don’t recline. Oh wait, just kidding. They come “pre-reclined”. I understand reclining the seat to sleep on a long-haul. But on a short-haul?

#1 – Storing luggage rows ahead of where you are sitting

I don’t think anything bothers me more than this. In my opinion, it’s one of the most inconsiderate things you can do as a traveler. Storing your bag in the front bins when you are seated in the rear rows is both frustrating to other travelers and logistical nightmare. On the second leg of my flight back east, I got to both see an experience it firsthand.

When I first entered the 737-900 headed from SFO to ORD, I was greeted by a flight attendant laying into a guy ahead of me for trying to store his luggage in the first class overhead bins. She stopped him out before he got very far. As suspected, he was seated in economy. She had to hold up the line as he came back to fetch his bag. But I was so glad she called him out.

luggage on the shelves of an airplane

Moments later I watched the couple in front of me take the last available slot in the Economy Plus overhead bins that would have accommodated my bag. They then walked five rows farther back and sat down. My bag ended up three rows behind me.

This was one of those instances I probably should have spoken up. I mean, the flight attendant had just done it. I bet should would have backed me up. It just wasn’t in me to call out a guy and his wife who are probably in their late 60s.

If I had been in a rush to deplane in Chicago, I would have been upset. Even though my bag was only three rows away, there was a constant flow of people headed off the plane, making it difficult to head back and fetch my bag. I let a good number of people go by before I caught a sufficient break and could fetch it. The lady across from me was in the same situation.

So you’re part of this problem, please stop. It may be helpful for you, but it is aggravating for many others, including the flight attendants.

Yes, there are lots of other pet peeves

I’m sure anyone could fill out a list of a dozen. Or more. There are the large, hairy, slobbering “emotional support animals” or the bare feet on the arm rests and in the aisle, along with a slough of other things that make air travel unpleasant. But if I had to pick out three things that are both commonplace and frustrating on most flights I take, it’s these.

What about you? What are your air travel pet peeves?

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