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Reality Check: Are You a Problem Passenger?

­­­­­­­­By Terri Lynn, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Managing Editor, Nov. 19, 2015 – Tim Winship is a syndicated frequent flier guru who launched the FrequentFlier.com website and the FrequentFlier Crier weekly e-mail newsletter in 1997.

Tim knows the ins and outs of travel better than most and has spent most of his adult life traveling the world  developing and managing frequent-travel programs for Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Hilton Hotels. In the course of his work, he traveled to dozens of countries, on many of the world’s airlines.

His recent article delves into Expedia’s just-released “Airplane Etiquette Study,” the 17 most-annoying traveler types. With the holiday season approaching we are sharing his timely article.

Even surrounded by the most courteous and considerate fellow travelers, flying ranks as one of life’s high-stress experiences. Long lines. Crowded waiting areas. Full planes. Crusher airline seats. Cancelled or delayed flights. Harried customer-service workers. The very thought of an airline trip is enough to raise one’s blood pressure.

Add to that toxic mix of irritants one or more passengers who can’t be bothered to align their behavior with generally accepted norms and you have a recipe for air rage, your own or others’.

If asked, most flyers would probably swear that they were among the good guys, models of traveler decorum. But is that true, or are they — are we — guilty of at least some of the bad behavior that contributes to other travelers’ discomfort?

To ensure that you’re not part of the problem, consider which lapses in common courtesy most irritate other travelers. According to Expedia’s just-released “Airplane Etiquette Study,” the 17 most-annoying traveler types are as follows:

Rear Seat Kicker (cited by 61% of respondents)
Inattentive Parents (59%)
The Aromatic Passenger (50%)
The Audio Insensitive (talking or music) (50%)
The Boozer (45%)
Chatty Cathy (43%)
Carry-On Baggage Offenders (38%)
The Queue Jumper (rushes to deplane) (35%)
Seat-Back Guy (the seat recliner) (32%)
Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (stows bag in first available spot, rather than nearest to his/her seat) (32%)
Pungent Foodies (30%)
Back Seat Grabber (27%)
The Amorous (inappropriate affection levels) (26%)
Undresser (removes shoes, socks, or more) (26%)
Mad Bladder (window seat passenger who makes repeat bathroom visits) (24%)
The Single and Ready to Mingle (13%)
The Seat Switcher (13%)

In my travels, I’ve encountered most if not all of the annoying types identified in the Expedia study. While I’d agree in rating seat-kicking as among the most egregious inflight behavior, I would have ranked seat-reclining among the top-three annoyances as well. But quibbles with ranking order aside, the Expedia list looks to be accurate and comprehensive.

More importantly, I wholeheartedly believe I’ve been mostly innocent of any of the cited behaviors. The one exception: that time I brought an In-N-Out burger onboard and ate it during the flight. In that case, it was a Pungent Foodie, no doubt. It must have been torture for my seatmates. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Otherwise, I see myself as a mostly model flyer. I can only hope my fellow passengers would agree.

About Tim Winship

When Tim Winship took his first travel-industry job with Singapore Airlines, he had only the vaguest idea where Singapore was, and no particular interest in the travel industry. As a recent college graduate, with student loans to repay, he just needed the work. That was almost 25 years ago.

As an extension of his efforts to help friends and family understand and make good use of frequent flyer programs, Winship launched the FrequentFlier.com website and the FrequentFlier Crier weekly e-mail newsletter in 1997.

He  is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.com and OAG Frequent Flyer. He also writes “The Extra Mile,” a syndicated monthly newspaper column. His latest endeavor: “Mileage Pro – The Insider’s Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs” with co-author Randy Petersen. The book was published in November 2005 and received glowing reviews from the New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

Terri Lynn has earned a reputation as a dynamo in the fast-past world of high profile public relations. Her blue chip press contacts, dazzling creativity and unstoppable determination, combined with superb writing skills, consistently produces extensive media coverage for her clients. She’s regarded as tenacious, persuasive and always gets the job done!