Home Travel Airline Passengers’ Biggest Pet Peeves

Airline Passengers’ Biggest Pet Peeves

by SharonKurheg

Air travel is stressful. Sure, it can be exciting sometimes too, but there’s a whole lot that can make your day more negative than positive. After all, when you’re at an airport, you’ve got to deal with long queues, flight delays, busy waiting areas, lost luggage. Oh, and other people.

And that was BEFORE all the #coronacrapola started.

Actually, other people’s behaviors seem to be a pet peeve for a lot of air travelers, to the point where YouGov (a global public opinion and data company) did a survey, pre-COVID times, to see what people thought were the most annoying passenger habits in airports. Here are the results:

10. People who accidentally pick up others’ luggage

OK yeah, lots of black bags look alike. That’s why you should get a really cool luggage tag that really pops. Maybe get 2 and put them on different parts of your suitcase.

9. Those who queue at the gate before it’s open


a.k.a. “gate lice.” This one drives me up a wall, for sure. Southwest wins an award in my book for figuring out a way for it not to happen. United seemed to have a good idea to avoid it, too, but then they stopped using it.

8. Travelers who set off the metal detectors at security

The consensus seemed to be against those who set it off because of something they were told to do, but didn’t, like remove their belt because of the huge metal buckle.

7. People who don’t stack their trays after going through security

They’re probably the same people who finish at the supermarket or big box hardware and leave their cart right next to where they were parked, even though the cart corral is only, like, 20 feet away.

6. The ones who run through the airport and knock into other people

You get brownie points (and probably reading classes and an AARP membership) if you remember this series of commercials 😉

5. Travelers who overpack and then repack the SECOND their stuff is off the X-ray conveyor belt – and therefore hold up the queue

Plan, people. PLAN!!! And hello, there are benches 10 or 20 feet ahead of you, and lots of open space, too. Re-pack THERE!

4. People who don’t understand or follow security rules

All it takes is a quick Google to find this – it tells you everything you need to know.

3. The ones who don’t have their ID ready

Because it’s a surprise that you’re going to have to show your ID at the airport?

2. Travelers who put their bags on seats in the airport


Oh yessss! That’s a big one. It even made the first entry in this list of ways not to be THAT guy/gal

And the #1 pet peeve of airport passengers?

1. Queue jumpers

I don’t think they mean the ones who have been in line and have to pee; almost anyone should be able to deal with that. I mean the ones who either (A) sneak into the queue to see how far ahead they can get or (B) their friends/family have been in the queue while they walked slow, got something to eat, or whatever, and they joined up with their people. No, if you all must stay together, then THEY should move to the back, where YOU are, not vice versa.

So what’s YOUR biggest pet peeve when it comes to people at the airport?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


mike murphy June 13, 2019 - 3:16 pm

noxious perfume is on the top of my list

SharonKurheg June 13, 2019 - 3:29 pm

Agreed. And the same goes for aftershave and cologne.

mike murphy June 14, 2019 - 9:47 am

s, they are all in the same category. seems like the wearers become less sensitive to the smell and keep putting on more and more

Levy Flight June 14, 2019 - 3:37 am

Airlines that make you queue to tag your own bags. What an unnecessarily demeaning and unpleasant way to start a journey that customers are paying for.

Barry Graham June 19, 2019 - 9:34 am

My biggest peeve is people who complain about other people’s behavior 🙂

SharonKurheg June 19, 2019 - 10:53 pm

That’s OK…one of my biggest pet peeves is people who complain about complaints about other peoples’ behavior 😉

Tag, you’re it! 😉

Helen June 19, 2019 - 10:09 am

Passengers who put their luggage in overhead bin in the rear of their seat and then when deplaning push past everyone behind them to get to their bag. I had one guy do that on the last flight and then instead of staying where he retrieved his bag, he pushed passed us again to get back to his seat to deplane from his original seat.

SharonKurheg June 19, 2019 - 10:55 pm

people who leave their stuff in the front of the plane and walk to their seats further back, so the people who have the seats towards the front don’t have space for their stuff…but not what you described. I think that’s even worse!

Steve June 19, 2019 - 10:31 am

Nothing aggravates me more than having the person in front of me recline their seat. With the reduction of leg room, proper seat etiquette should have changed as well. You can no longer open a laptop with a reclined seat in front of you. I can’t think of anything more inconsiderate but still done so often. It really tells you a lot about a person.

Eve Pillor June 19, 2019 - 10:48 am

People who throw/drop things on the floor and do not pick it up.

People grooming themselves and leaving their nail clippings for others to pick up. Gross!!!

SharonKurheg June 19, 2019 - 10:56 pm


O. C. D. (old, cranky and dangerous) June 19, 2019 - 11:20 am

Un-tamed children who run around the gate area, screaming and are generally uncontrolled: that needs to be in the top 5 of the list. And their parents ignore it or are really slow in calling them back to their sides (it may look strange, but leashes work great). Two days ago, while waiting in line at an AA gate at IAH, flying to DFW, 2 children, 1 still in diapers, thought it was great fun to run back and forth between where the parents were standing (about 50 feet away) and the door to the jetway. The gate agents didn’t do anything….maybe they were afraid to, I don’t know. But as a passenger, calmly standing waiting for boarding to begin, it was very irritating to say the least. Don’t parents know about Valium or something like that to give to these brats before even getting to the gate area? And wouldn’t you know, this same family sat across the aisle from me on the plane….screaming all the way to DFW. Would be nice if the airlines would seat all families with children under 12 in the rear of the plan, and assign seats from the last row, working forward. The noise even invaded my noise cancelling headphones. My siblings and I (5 of us) were raised with manners, and one step out of line, we found out the consequences. I knew a travel agent who used to ask clients: “First Class or with children”, when booking airline reservations. The prepping to fly wasn’t nearly as bad in the past as it is now: you have to also worry about who you will be waiting and sitting within ear-shot, headphones or not.

Scott June 20, 2019 - 5:49 am

Wow…you’re probably a lot of fun at parties

Randy Smith December 4, 2019 - 2:17 pm

I am!!
It’s just manners and common courtesy to behave in confined spaces like a plane or an elevator. Most people over 50 were taught these basics back ‘then’, but it sure hasn’t tricked down very far it seems like.
Oh well.

Billy Bob June 25, 2022 - 8:27 pm

I don’t want to sit anywhere near a bunch of uncontrolled little monsters either.
Control your sprog or even better: drive to your destination.

cliffvettej2 June 19, 2019 - 12:15 pm

All of these so called “comfort animals” on flights now. True many of the airlines are taking measures to egt this problem in line but ONLY true Guide Dogs should be allowed on airplanes. No cats, no birds, etc. Also, remember that comfort animals are NOT defined by law. They are whatever a person wants them to be. They should not be allowed on a plane. Period. Many people just go on line and buy fake vests for their animals and unless they are arranged for IN ADVANCE AND have a Doctor’s note provided there should never be an exception.

AlohaDaveKennedy November 1, 2020 - 8:37 pm

For shame hating on comfort animals. Since the pandemic I have into gardening and vermiculture. My comfort animals are now 10,000 red wigglers which I can fit in a large Ziplock bag for travel. Excuse me, but would you mind holding this bag while I put my luggage in the bin? Oops, I didn’t realize the bag was upside down and not zipped…

Ken O. June 19, 2019 - 12:20 pm

This list covers it pretty well, but I’d like to add people who try to pack everything they own in the whole world into carry-ons and hog all of the overhead space. I realize they’re trying to avoid the bag fees and long waits at baggage claim but c’mon…if it takes a Herculean effort to lift it into the overhead bin, then you’ve probably got too much stuff.

SharonKurheg June 19, 2019 - 10:58 pm

A couple of airlines (Frontier comes to mind first) charge more for carry on than checked luggage 😉

Vickie June 19, 2019 - 8:19 pm

How about the dog that is dressed with clothes that have metal spikes and the owner refuses to us dress the dog to get them thru the security screeners

SharonKurheg June 19, 2019 - 11:01 pm



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