Mental Floss
PLANES

The Most Annoying Things People Do on Planes

Ellen Gutoskey
Would this man's sandwich harsh your mellow?
Would this man's sandwich harsh your mellow? / amriphoto/iStock via Getty Images
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Imagine, for a moment, that you're finally on vacation. The only thing standing between you and your highly anticipated beach trip is one quick plane ride. But right as the ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign comes on, a funky odor hits you like a truck. You look to your right and realize that your seatmate has not only stripped off their socks and shoes, but is also savoring a Limburger sandwich. Though you can’t pinpoint which behavior is upsetting your sense of smell the most, both are offending your sense of propriety in equal measure.

According to a new survey conducted by Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino (a.k.a. paysbig.com), however, not everyone would agree with you: Whipping out some pungent cheese on a plane is apparently far less likely to rankle the other passengers than exposing your toes. Of some 1000 participants, 90 percent think it’s unacceptable to remove your socks and shoes during a flight. A surprising 94 percent think it’s totally fine, however, to bring a smelly snack.

Wearing your pajamas on a plane is a slightly more polarizing custom than you might expect, as only 59 percent of survey respondents deemed it OK. When it comes to reclining your seat, an overwhelming majority consider it fine no matter the flight length—but roughly 50 percent of respondents specified that you should always ask permission from the passenger behind you first. (No word on what to do if they say no.) 

On the subject of asking permission, 78 percent won’t fault you for asking another traveler to switch seats. And if there’s an empty seat in your row, 56 percent believe you should slide over in order to maximize the space between you and your seatmate. The gap could make it more difficult to strike up a conversation, but plenty of travelers think that’s just fine, as 35 percent consider it annoying when a stranger tries to chat.

Find out more travel takeaways from the survey here.

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