The Top 5 Worst Airplane Passengers

worst airplane passengers

Whether you’re flying for business or traveling on vacation, you’re likely going to encounter people who are just horrible airplane passengers. Here’s my list of the worst airplane passengers, ranked by irritation factor from lowest (#5) to highest (#1). Whether it’s thinking that the rules don’t apply to you, or complete disregard for personal space, you are ruining it for everyone else. If you do any of these things, maybe you don’t realize how much you’re bothering your fellow passengers. But trust me, you’re the worst.

#5 The person who can’t wait to unbuckle their seatbelt the second they land.


You know who you are. The second those rear wheels hit the runway, a chorus of click click click! echoes throughout the cabin. Except the pilot always comes on the loudspeaker and reminds all passengers (yes, that includes YOU!) that you should keep your seatbelt fastened until the plane comes to a complete stop.  Why is this? Well, the plane stops short sometimes. This actually gives me great pleasure because the started “oh!” usually comes from one of you, oh Safety Shunner. Sometimes, you are taxiing for an ungodly amount of time (I’m looking at you, JFK). Sometimes, you have to wait for another plane to move before you can park at the gate. Either way, the flight isn’t over until the pilot says it’s over.

And what is your issue? Is the seatbelt SO uncomfortable that you can’t bear to wear it a second longer? I mean really. You’re not special. Keep your goddamn belt fastened and sit down.

#4 The person who has to stand up and get their bag or go to the bathroom after the plane has boarded/ is about to take off or land.

Unless you’re crapping your pants like an Olympic marathon walker, you can sit there and wait until we’re in the sky like the rest of us. SIT. THE. EFF. DOWN.  I don’t care if you don’t speak English (or Spanish or whatever the flight attendants speak) – don’t play dumb. It’s clear that the seatbelt sign is on and we’re about to, I don’t know, TAKE OFF, so sit down so we can get on our way. You don’t need whatever’s in your bag. You don’t have to stretch your legs. You don’t need to pee that bad. If you do, you should have thought of that before we boarded the plane or in the hours prior on the flight.

You are not special.  You should be fined for what you’re trying to pull. Welcome to making my list of the worst airplane passengers.

#3 The person who stands in the aisle and blocks everyone BOARDING while fiddling with their bag OR IGNORING THE LAWS OF PHYSICS AND GEOMETRY.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your overstuffed bag is not going to fit in that overhead compartment, no matter how much you halfheartedly squish it down as you try to shove it in the bin. It’s twice the width of the space you’re trying to put it in. It’s just not going to happen.


Except you don’t realize that, and you stand in the aisle, shoving at your bag with the strength of my 82-year-old grandmother, not letting everyone who’s waiting to get past you. There’s a line down the jetway now waiting for you to realize you’re not the only person in the entire world. But you don’t. You won’t stop until the flight attendant comes by and tries to help you, then breaks it to you that, well, honey, you’re going to need to check that bag. Sorry.

But, please, feel free to open your bag, take everything that you need for the flight out, then zip it up….while still standing in the aisle. Because this is your world, sweetheart. And we’re just living in it. Congratulations! You are one of the worst airplane passengers ever.

#2 The person who doesn’t lock the lavatory door.

Did you know that every airplane lavatory has instructions on the interior door on how to lock it? One would think this is a secret. You need to slide the latch until it says it’s locked. The lights even don’t come all the way on until you do this. Because if you don’t lock the door, someone who just expects everyone to – get this – lock the bathroom door when you’re on the toilet…will try to open the door. Because otherwise the bathroom looks open.  That’s like, day one stuff.

But, you’re right, f*ck ME because I opened the door on you. Luckily I didn’t see your manhood while you yelped like a little girl and yelled at me. I wouldn’t have recovered from that. I deserve for you to basically yell at me for opening an unlocked door with a green light. It’s not like normal people lock a bathroom door when they’re using it. That’s just ridiculous.


Just in case you don’t know where the lock is.  Photo credit:

This actually happened to me on the last transatlantic flight I was on with Virgin Atlantic and the flight attendant and I had a really great laugh about it.

#1 The Person who doesn’t realize they’re not at home.

This is an airplane. It’s a public space. This is not the place to clip your nails (or worse, your toenails). This is not the place to put your bare feet on the tray table. Your feet do not belong on the armrest between the seats in front of you. You have to wear clothes. You should at least wear socks if you’re going to take off your shoes (that’s why airlines give you socks in your little passenger comfort kit on overnight flights!).  Anything that you should be doing only in the comfort of your own bathroom or bedroom SHOULD NOT BE DONE IN THE CABIN OF AN AIRPLANE. I’m not talking about snoring – you can’t help that. But you can help not making out  – or worse – with your seatmate – whether it’s your S.O. or someone you just met.

Just don’t be disgusting. You’re in public.

In other words: Don’t be a disgrace to humanity. Is that so hard?

Maybe. That’s why Passenger Shaming exists (one of my favorite Twitter accounts). It’s amazing what some people will do on airplanes. Which is what makes some the worst airplane passengers ever.

How To avoid being one of the worst airplane passengers ever

The moral of the story? Don’t do these things. They’re not difficult to avoid – be a good fellow passenger and while you may not be thanked by your fellow travelers, I guarantee you that they’re not cursing you in their heads, either.

What are your flight pet peeves? Share them with me in the comments!

2 thoughts on “The Top 5 Worst Airplane Passengers

  1. Michele says:

    Can I add the people who don’t wait for their aisle’s turn to exit and make it harder for you to exit. Sit the F down and wait your turn. You learned that in preschool.

    • says:

      Yes! Or the person (usually the man, let’s be honest) who stands up, gets into the aisle, and just stands there while everyone around him (or her) is trying to get their bag down.

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