There are plenty of unpleasant things about air travel. Many of them have to do with how commercial aviation operates these days. You just have to read our readers' comments to see that.
However, some of the annoyances of modern air travel are caused by fellow passengers. A new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index finds airlines are among the lowest-rated industries when it come to customer satisfaction.
Sometimes it's the airlines' fault. Sometimes it might not be.
Travel Math surveyed 1,097 air travelers to find out which passenger behaviors they find most aggravating.
Personal space invasion
Since personal space is at a premium in coach these days, it may not be surprising that travelers take the most offense when their limited personal space is invaded.
According to the survey, the most annoying thing about other passengers is when the person behind you kicks the back of your seat. Interestingly, leisure travelers took more offense at this than business travelers – perhaps because frequent fliers are more accustomed to it.
The second biggest gripe is sitting next to a passenger with strong body odor. Women also take offense at sitting next to a man who has been rather generous in applying cologne.
Number three on the list is when the passenger seated in front of you decides to recline his or her seat all the way back. Sure, he or she is comfortable but you've got a seat back about six inches from your nose.
The rest of the list is pretty much a recitation of grievances every air traveler has experienced at one time or another.
There's the passenger who takes off his shoes. Really? No one wants to smell that.
How about the passenger who is obviously ill but still gets on a crowded aircraft, germs and all?
Some passengers hit the airport lounge before take off, perhaps to steel their nerves, then have another cocktail or two in the air. Besides the smell, the loud voice and slurred words can be annoying to lots of survey respondents.
Then, there are passengers who don't need alcohol in order to be obnoxious. They are a talkative lot and are convinced the passenger next to them, trying to concentrate on a book or magazine, is dying to hear what they have to say.
While not directly experiencing annoying behavior, plenty of travelers have observed it. Among the most commonly observed offenses are travelers rushing up to crowd the boarding gate, people saving seats with suitcases, parents allowing children to misbehave, and travelers standing still on the moving sidewalk.