10 Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Airplane Habits: Are You Guilty?

Photo by Ruth Black/Stocksy. Design by Erik Mace for Yahoo Travel.

By Johnny Jet��

Not everyone who behaves badly on a plane is a celebrity who lets their kid pee in an airsickness bag, an angry Chinese tourist who opens the emergency exit to protest a lack of air conditioning, an entitled businessman with a knee defender, or an airline executive who flips out because her macadamia nuts are served in a bag instead of on a plate.

Sometimes the worst-behaving passengers are just regular people with astonishingly bad manners. In fact, the more I travel, the more it seems passengers are becoming increasingly selfish or oblivious to their actions on a plane and how they impact the people around them. You could argue that makes them the most blameworthy offenders, because they know these things are wrong, but they do them anyway. Below are ten terrible, horrible, no good, very bad airplane habits that I commonly see, along with suggestions for what to do if you find yourself suffering from —or causing one. Are you guilty of any?

1. Stinking up the plane with your poor personal hygiene


This is one way to deal with other people’s body odor. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

As a common courtesy, you should at least walk onto the plane clean and not reeking of BO. One of my worst flights involved a couple who smelled so bad that the passengers in the two rows around them literally had to plug their noses for the flight. Later, the flight attendants actually encouraged the offended passengers to write to Delta to complain and get a gift certificate. A close second in terms of hygiene-related offenses is when you see people clipping their nails, tweezing their eyebrows or putting nail polish on. It’s not only rude but it’s also illegal to put on nail polish on planes because it’s highly flammable. If you ever see someone putting it on, either tell them to stop or ring the call button and ask the flight attendant if they smell nail polish. And don’t get me started about the person across the aisle who I saw flossing their teeth.

Related: “Passenger Shaming”: Social Media Takes on the Rudest Passengers in the Air

2. Stinking up the plane with your smelly food


Food tastes — and smells — different at 30,000 feet. Nobody wants to knjow you’re eating tuna fish. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

A McDonald’s cheeseburger may smell pretty good when it’s right out of the kitchen, but it doesn’t smell the same way once you’re airborne. The worst is tuna fish! Think twice about what kind of food you bring on your flight and be considerate of the people around you.

3. Taking your socks off


An airplane is not your living room. Get comfortable, but not barefoot. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

I can understand passengers wanting to take their shoes off after takeoff (don’t do it before, as it’s a safety hazard) but if you do, make sure your feet don’t smell. And regardless of whether they smell or not, don’t take your socks off so everyone can see your toes. This isn’t your living room! And don’t ever walk into a lavatory with bare feet or socks that you plan on wearing again. An airplane bathroom floor is a breeding ground for germs and is just plain disgusting.

4. Annoying everyone by blasting your music or videos


If other passengers can hear your music bleed through your earbuds, it’s too loud. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

You’d think that people would know that it’s not okay to play music or videos without earbuds/headphones on. But sadly, many don’t. The only thing worse is when passengers have earbuds/headphones on but they’re playing their music/video so loud that others can hear the noise. Not only is it bad for your ears, but it’s also rude. Tip: Bring earplugs and earbuds for yourself so you can put them on if you can’t get a noisy seatmate to turn their volume down.

Related: Ridiculous Travel Accessories That Will Drive Other Passengers Nuts

5. Sneezing/coughing without covering your mouth


You would think adults would have learned that they shouldn’t sneeze on people. You’d be wrong. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

My name is Johnny Jet and I’m a germaphobe. There. I said it. And I hate when passengers are coughing and/or sneezing without covering their mouths. No one should do this (here’s why) when they’re outside in the fresh air, let alone in a metal tube, 30,000 feet in the air — especially with so many viruses out there. I carry two masks when I fly: one for me and one to give to a rude or sick passenger who might need it.

6. Forcing everyone to listen to your loud conversations

It astounds me when I hear people speaking so loudly on their phone or to a seatmate that I can hear them five rows back. It’s rude and careless—especially if it’s about sensitive business. You have no idea who’s listening and in this day and age of social media, you have to assume everyone is indeed listening. So speak softly no matter whether it’s a sensitive subject or not. Rest assured: Your loud voice is annoying everyone around you.

7. Being rude or impatient with flight attendants and crew


Take it from someone who used to date a flight attendant: Their jobs are hard enough without snide comments from you. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

I used to date a flight attendant so I know how difficult their jobs are…and this was before all the cutbacks. There’s no excuse as a passenger to be rude to a flight attendant unless the flight attendant is being rude to you. It’s not their problem that you didn’t notice that you don’t have seats together or that the entertainment system is down — although if you’re nice, they’ll do their best to help you. They’re just doing their job, and it’s not an easy one. I almost always bring flight attendants chocolates or Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes and greet them with a big smile. If there’s a problem during the flight, I know they’ll take good care of me — with or without the tokens of appreciation. Their job is to help, and most will do it with a smile if you’re friendly.

8. Pushing, pulling or kicking other people’s seats

Unless you’re really old or handicapped, there’s no reason to push, pull, or kick people’s seats when you’re getting up or walking down the aisles. Somehow, this happens all the time because people aren’t being considerate of those around them. Don’t be that person.

Related: “Knee Defender” Passenger Speaks: “I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed

9. Ignoring your out-of-control kids

Usually, I find that kids are well-behaved and it’s the parents who aren’t. But once in a while you’ll see that out-of-control kid just running up and down the aisle screaming or playing their video games without headphones, and the parents couldn’t care less. We all know that wrangling kids can be a challenge, but as a parent, just do your best to control the situation. That’s all anyone can ask. Ignoring it is what will irk everyone around you.

10. Pretending your dog is a service animal


I know a number of people who say they’ve bought “service dog” vests so their animals fly for free. (Photo: Johnny Jet)

I’ve been seeing an increase in travelers with dogs recently, and most of them have their companions wearing service dog harness vests. Unfortunately, I think many of these dogs aren’t really service dogs, as I know a number of people who say they’ve bought these vests so their animals fly for free, which is really pathetic in my opinion. I’m sure the industry is going to crack down on this sooner or later, which is only going to make it more difficult for those who really need a service dog and that’s a real shame.

I can think of many more bad airplane habits but first, I’d like to hear what you think should be on this list! What passenger airplane habits drive you bananas?

More from Johnny Jet:

12 Ways to Find Cheap Flights

15 Tips for Surviving a Long Flight

10 Passport Tips that Will Save You Time, Money and Headaches

WATCH: Flying Singapore Airlines in First Class for an Hour Ruined My Life

Let Yahoo Travel inspire you every day. Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Watch Yahoo Travel’s new original series “A Broad Abroad.”