6 Most Annoying Pet Peeves About Air Travel

Last month, I flew standby for the first time on Southwest. That meant I showed up at the airport at 3:00 a.m. and waited for the first flight with an open seat on it…on Thanksgiving weekend. Yeah, I didn’t plan very well. Everyone travels for Thanksgiving so the flights were super booked, and the only way I even got on my planes was because people overslept and missed their flights.

< Southwest >

Hanging out in the airport for hours gave me some time to people watch, which made me realize that there are some really annoying habits in airports. Getting the last seat on a plane where people can pick their own seats made me realize that annoying pet peeves don’t stop in airports, they continue on to plane pet peeves. Here are my top 6 pet most annoying peeves about air travel.

1. People Who Stand Still on People Movers

< Most annoying pet peeves about air travel: Standing on a people mover >
Image via Flickr by youngthousands

I’ve run to catch a flight more than once. In fact, it happens quite often, especially in big airports like Dallas or Brussels. I take as many shortcuts as I can when running to catch a flight, like running down the people movers. People who stand in the people movers really irks me, especially when they stand right in the middle of the belt. If you’re not going to walk on the people movers, the polite thing to do is to stand to the right and let others pass (I found out it’s the left in England, by the way).

2. Flying Standby

< Airports are so lonely >
Image via Flickr by mxmstryo

I think I pretty much explained this one in the opening paragraph, but flying standby is something I tried once and won’t do again (probably). It was cheap and didn’t require advanced planning, but it was a LONG day of traveling. First, you have to get there for the first flight out, because you have the best odds of getting on a flight. Who wants to fly at 4:00 a.m.? If you’re paying full price, you’re probably going to spring for a later flight that doesn’t require waking up at 1:00 a.m.

< Full flight >
Image via Flickr by brownpau

If it’s a busy day of flying, like a Monday, Friday, or weekend, you still might not get that first flight. Then, you sit and wait until there’s an open seat or someone misses a flight. You’re not guaranteed to get on a flight that day even, although usually you can get out to somewhere. That means you almost always have a connecting flight, and have to play the same waiting game at the next airport. Tip: if you have to choose an airport to connect it, try to make it a small airport that not many people fly out of.

3. Expensive Food and Drinks

< Frozen airport pizza slice >
Image via Flickr by jwalsh

I paid $10 for a slice of frozen pizza and a bottle of soda. Airports should be ashamed of themselves! Whether you’re stuck in an airport all day or it just took 3 hours to get through security, you’re probably going to be hungry at some point. I get the whole supply and demand thing and that airports usually pay higher prices for the food they serve, so they have to charge higher prices, but come on.

< Snacks and a water bottle >
Image via Flickr by jetalone

Shouldn’t those prices be regulated? $10 for a slice of frozen pizza and a bottle of Dr. Pepper?! Tip: pack snacks and empty water bottles before you get to the airport. You can refill a water bottle at a water fountain and eat pretzels, cookies, chips, and anything else that doesn’t need refrigeration during your wait.

4. People Who Don’t Respect the Middle Seat

< Hating the middle seat >
Image via Flickr by dennis

I refuse to pay extra to choose my seat, but I will ask the desk agents if it’s possible for them to switch me when I get to the airport. The middle seat is the worst, there’s no doubt about it. Some airlines, like Allegiant, doesn’t place people together even if they book together, so usually you’re sitting with all single seaters. That makes the middle seat a little better at least, so no one’s talking over you.

Other airlines either let you choose a seat or allow seats first come, first serve. Paying more to choose a seat is annoying. But what’s worse is getting stuck between two bigger people who each choose the aisle and middle seat and leave a squished, tiny space between them.

If you’re flying Southwest where it’s first come, first serve and you’re not lucky enough to be in the first three groups to choose a seat, you’re going to get the middle seat. Tip: Look for couples splitting the middle. They’re likely trying to fend off a third person sitting with them, but when push comes to shove, they will probably sit together rather than let a stranger sit between them and you’ll get an end seat.

5. Crying Babies

< Kids on a plane >
Image via Flickr by Wilson-Fam

Traveling as often as I do makes me realize that when I have kids, they will not come on my travels with me. I don’t want to be the person trying to shush an unstoppable high-pitched five-hour shriek. Babies don’t remember or appreciate travels anyway. If they’re crying for an entire plane ride, they’re obviously not happy – why torture them? Leave them home!

6. Coughers

< Germ protection on a plane >
Image via Flickr by JustoRuiz, Capturing smiles one shot at a time ©

Flying sick is no fun for anyone. It’s not fun for the sick person, who could seriously injure their ear drums with the pressure changes, and it’s no fun for the people around you who are breathing in your germs. Call me a germaphobe, but sitting next to a person who is incessantly coughing is one of the worst things about flying. In my opinion, worse than the crying baby, even!

What are your most annoying pet peeves about air travel? Tell me in the comments below!

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6 Most Annoying Pet Peeves About Air Travel

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10 thoughts on “6 Most Annoying Pet Peeves About Air Travel

    1. I hate to say it too, but it’s a real thing! I get claustrophobic too, especially on long or overnight flights! When will planes realize no one likes a middle seat and change their layouts??

  1. The crying babies. The crying babies. Always. Though, moms will hate us for saying this. Its inconvenient and disturbing. Also, the people movers. In general, I think people need to be more sensitive to needs of others.

  2. For me it’s the ill people. My 21st birthday was ruined by a man with a terrible cold who sat next to me on the plane. I’ll never forgive him! (I used to get annoyed by crying babies too, but have changed my tune now I’m a parent who wants to travel! Now I’m just relieved that it’s not mine crying).

    1. Actually, the babies don’t really bother me much…they’re probably least on the list. I know they’re just doing what they do and it’s probably because they’re uncomfortable with air pressure changes and can’t help it. It’s only when I’m trying to read and there’s a kid who knows better screaming next to me haha. But definitely the ill people – they should definitely know better!! However, you should re-celebrate your 21st birthday 21 times now to make up for it 🙂

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