Airplane travel can be a bummer. There are a few obvious pitfalls to flying, which are not limited to getting stuck in a middle seat, enduring a surprise pat-down from TSA or waiting around for a delayed flight.
In other instances, it’s fellow travelers that make traveling a true nightmare. Being stuck in close quarters (on what is essentially a germ-infested can) with other people doesn’t have to be intolerable. But more often than not, there are passengers who lack self-awareness and patently ignore the rules of the sky.
Below, you’ll find just a few examples of the worst passengers you might encounter on your next flight. You may nod your head in understanding, but what’s most important is that you vow to never commit such crimes on any flight in the future.
Is that turbulence you’re sensing, but only in the center of your back? Did the airplane just turn into a weird amusement park ride? Nope. The person behind you has decided to stretch his or her legs by pressing up against the back of your chair. Please keep your feet out of someone else’s seat.
The shoe shirker
You don’t need to actually see it to know a passenger has shed their shoes (and socks) mid-flight, since your nose is acutely aware of the odor filling the plane. Moral of the story: If your toes need sweet relief from your shoes, invest in more comfortable shoes.
The smelly snacker
Airplane food gets a bad rap, and you might want to bring some of your own grub for sustenance. Totally fair.
But there are a few foods that are positively wrong to bring on a flight, including but not limited to tuna fish and egg salad, for obvious reasons. Beyond the explicitly stinky stuff, foods like fries can also be irksome because they incite a craving in those who don’t get to actually eat them. Bringing something like Shake Shack or Panda Express onto your flight means everyone will be jealous — and will be shooting angry glares at the offender.
A gum-smacker, boisterous chip chewer or open-mouth eater can ruin a flight. This person disturbs any possibility of a peaceful atmosphere on board. Soda slurping is also unlawful.
The incessant talker
Inside voices are not enough for plane rides — in-flight voices are decibels lower and required for a pleasant journey. Nothing ruins a great plane nap like seat mate yapping away — either to you or to their neighbor — at great volume.
The buddiest buddy buddy
It’s perfectly civilized to engage in light conversation with seat mates, but some travelers have a hard time picking up on cues that talk time is over. And while it’s well-intentioned to ask a fellow passenger where they’re headed, that should pretty much be the extent of the conversation: The rules: speak for 30 seconds or less, then politely end the conversation and drift off to dreamland.
The personal space invader
The armrests provide perfectly clear dividers of personal space, but some choose to ignore this physical boundary. This type of deviant will spread their limbs and possessions, encroaching on others’ seat territory. No passenger should be subjected to intrusive skin-to-skin contact with a stranger.
Sleep apnea and snoring are real medical conditions. But that doesn’t make cartoonish breathing any less irritable. While one person lets their roaring snores rip before the plane even takes off, the rest of the plane will suffer through sleeplessness.
The quality of headphones matters. It’s absolutely crucial to have some earbuds with a good seal — or neighbors will be involuntarily subjected to the Justin Bieber that are supposed to be for personal enjoyment. No matter how amazing someone’s taste in music may be, the Spotify playlist coming out of their earphones should be for them only.