Air travelers can be annoying, rude, smelly, inconsiderate, loud, and gross. It’s not pretty finding yourself shoved into a small metal tube with many members of the traveling public. Have you found yourself on a plane with a terrible seatmate? Take a look at our list of the 13 worst people you might find on your next flight.
Some travelers seem to have all the bad luck. Are you one of them? Instead of sitting in first class next to some glamorous celebrity sipping champagne, you always find yourself sitting in the last row of economy next to the bathrooms with “that guy” or “that girl” as a seatmate.
Here are the worst kind of passengers you might find on your next plane flight. (And yes, we picked 13 for a very good reason.) Have you flown with any of them?
1. The Chatty Cathy
Exchanging a pleasantry or two with your seatmate as you get settled on a plane is just good manners. But what do you do when your seatmate just keeps on talking? You’ve encountered the most common annoying seatmate in the not-so-friendly skies, the Chatty Cathy. Put on those noise cancelling headphones and pray for the best.
2. The Armrest Hogger
As airplane seats get narrower and narrower (and the average American gets wider and wider), airplane armrests are a veritable battlefield. Some passengers just can’t seem to share. The Armrest Hogger plants his or her elbows and dares you to make skin-to-skin contact.
3. The Man Spreader
A close cousin of the Armrest Hogger, the Man Spreader is a flyer (usually a man) who insists on sitting with his legs spread as far out as possible, eating into your already very limited legroom. His creepiness is further amplified in the summer months when travelers are more likely to be wearing shorts and skirts.
4. The Drunk Dude
The natural habitat of the Drunk Dude is on flights to and from Vegas. But Drunk Dudes and their other gender equivalents, Lush Ladies, can truly be on any flight at any time. They are prone to committing a variety of in-flight sins: being loud, reeking of booze, needing to take frequent bathroom breaks while sitting in a window seat, and slumping over asleep on the shoulder of the person sitting next to them. If you are sitting next to one of them, you’ll likely need a drink, too.
5. The Flight Attendant Pesterer
Long gone are the days of flight attendants having a glamorous profession. The reality is that they are overworked and underpaid. Yet there are some passengers who insist on treating flight attendants like their personal servants. If you ring the call button, you might be a flight attendant pesterer. If you ring it more than once in a flight, you definitely are.
6. The Personal Groomer
Apparently there are some passengers who do not realize that airplanes are not spas, hair salons, nail studios, or their bathroom back home. Do we really need to tell you not to clip your nails on your next cross-country flight? Apparently so.
7. The Nervous Nelly
Have you ever seen a guy or gal white knuckling the arm rests and not-so-secretly popping a Xanax? If so, you have flown with a Nervous Nelly – someone deathly afraid of flying. Even though flying is statistically the safest way to travel, the logic escapes them. While they are often harmless as seatmates, they risk turning into Chatty Cathies or Drunk Dudes as they seek ways to cope with their anxiety. Proceed with caution.
8. The Typhoid Mary
The guy sitting next to you may be hacking up a lung, but he is determined to fly that day. After all, it’s so much better to be the jerk who exposes 200 people to a highly contagious respiratory virus than it is to pay a pesky airline change fee.
9. The Constant Recliner
While the Constant Recliner is not a problem as a seatmate, he is the worst kind of traveler to sit behind. The Constant Recliner jams his seat back into full recline position the moment the plane pushes back from the gate. He does it as fast as possible to make sure to break your laptop in the process. (When he gets up to go to the bathroom, you secretly hit the button to raise his seat. Go ahead – we won’t judge.)
10. The Headphoneless Harry
We all enjoy a good in-flight movie to pass the time on a flight. But there are some travelers who insist on sharing their movie selection with everyone by listening to it at full volume without headphones. An extra penalty goes to travelers who watch an R-rated feature while sitting within earshot of your impressionable 6-year-old.
11. The Pungent Passenger
In tight spaces, having someone or something next to you that smells foul can really wreck your flight. The Pungent Passenger comes in a few varieties. Sometimes the passenger himself or herself is the culprit. On other occasions, the Pungent Passenger inflicts pain on seatmates by bringing the most malodorous food possible aboard on the plane. Either way, it stinks.
12. The Screaming Baby
That cooing baby may look cute coming down the aisle during boarding but you know as soon as the cabin pressure changes, he will be wailing. The Screaming Baby especially strikes fear in the hearts of travelers everywhere on redeye flights. No sleep for you!
13. The Inattentive Parent
Many of us can forgive the screaming baby. As TravelingMoms, we’ve all been there and done that. What is unforgivable, however, are the parents who travel with screaming babies and tantruming toddlers while doing absolutely nothing to address the disruption. The inattentive parent puts on his or her headphones and watches the in-flight movie while Junior runs screaming up and down the aisles, spilling drinks, and wreaking havoc. We know you’re not that kind of TravelingMom, right?