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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.
#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.
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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Baby boi- it’s America, get use to it and stop whining
People who wear backpacks while walking down the aisle of a plane…hitting everyone sitting in the aisle seats. Take the bag off your back and carry it in front of you!
I was on a 2-hour flight recently. The person in front of me slammed their seat back in conjunction with the plane lifting off the runway.
The part that shows why reclined seats made the top 3 list? This clueless fellow traveler then spent the entire flight hunched forward over their laptop and left their seat several times for extended chats with someone a few rows away! Never once enjoyed their enhanced recline and totally oblivious to anyone else.
I’m with you on most except for the recline. My back is severely problematic and the angle of a plane seat really affects pain levels. Reclining very slightly even if it’s for a 30 min flight makes all the difference.
How dare people try and feel a bit more comfortable on a flight? Make use of a minor comfort feature available to EVERYONE on board. How awful.
I’m guessing perhaps the odd times YOU may want/ need to recline a little to relax, that’s ok isn’t it?
Airlines have a very specific way of having you board its’ aircraft but it’s a free-for-all when deplaning. Would love the cabin crew to announce “please remain seated until your row is ready to exit the aircraft”.
Yes, that is one of my pet peeves too! If you have a tight connection reserve a seat up front. People that hurry up to deplane drive me crazy! Another pet peeve is people who take up a seat at the gate for their luggage. People have to stand around while luggage has a seat-crazy, huh?
I could write a novel about getting hit with luggage or people who are healthy yet can’t lift their own bag into the overhead but I won’t. I will say I agree about the seat back grabbers. The problem with people putting stuff in the first overhead they come to is the airlines fault. We’ve had FAs for years preach to us during boarding about how full the bins are and how you should use the first one you can find. As far as the seat recline. I agree that if the seat pitch has to be profitably tight then the seats shouldn’t even recline. I also think it’s cute that you still try to use a laptop in economy. It’s like serving beverages on a 30 minute flight. It just shouldn’t happen 🙂
Dang, these comments are harsh. I agree with all of Dan’s comments. I know some disagree and that is great but I for one am reading this to be more educated so if a post doesn’t resonate or I disagree I can do that and remain civil.
#1 is especially a problem if you have longer hair and they end up yanking your hair when they pull themselves up in the seat.
#3 is a problem because you can’t keep an eye on your bag to try to prevent theft!
I love to see parents that are prepared with snacks and various entertainment for their children. Unfortunately this seems to be a minority.
Guys wearing singlets, their hairy armpit hair smelling, dropping all over the place. Shirts only morons. And the bad BO. And you might think everyone wants to look at your body dude, we don’t.
Women in such small shorts we can see what they had for breakfast. I don’t want to look at your smelly beaver sweetheart. Especially if you’re a fat thing.
I agree with number 2 so much!
Why even have it an option in short haul planes?
I have trouble sitting straight up for long periods of time (Hello 13 hour flight to Tokyo) so I have to have the seat reclined at least one click, but I always check with the person behind me before doing so.
I’ve experienced when someone did that so quickly and and almost broke my screen. Then they freaked out at me that I had to shove his seat back up quickly to save my laptop.
Yes – one reason I like flying Frontier is that they have their seats “pre-reclined” in that they are a bit further back than other airlines’ seats, but they don’t recline
I agree with all three! Especially the seat grabbing- so annoying when they get your seat AND your hair! Plus it is JUST AS EASY to use your OWN seat back to PUSH UP from. Sigh.
The bag thing is crazy and something I wish that flight attendant’s would handle better. The bins have seat numbers on them that correspond to your row. As silly as it sounds even business/first class does this because people don’t want to put something in front of them under the seat so they use the row behind them’s bin space. And then half that row can’t put their bags in the overhead and have to gate check them…slowing everyone down because they have to go back up front with their bags and disembark and re-embark.
The reclining thing is more, for me, about doing it slowly so you don’t kill the laptop of the person behind you, or not doing it at all if you don’t use it (during eating, etc). I am frequently coming back from overseas trips and my last leg of 30+ hours of travel is a 1-2 hour “short” flight that I am going to pass out on, and may in fact recline my seat on, but never suddenly, or without thinking about who is behind me!
The common theme in all this is selfishness! Think about others in the tin can please.
#1 -using the seat to pull yourself up – yanking the crap out of the person ahead.
#2 – Recline, when you do not even use it. Like working on laptop, or eating. Sitting totally upright.
# 3 – barely mentioned. Loud talkers or music.
Storing luggage ahead… that is often just being petty. Let it go.
Trying to get off plane quick. Reality manages this 99% of the time. Not worth discussing.