If you’ve ever traveled abroad before, then you’ll know that there are two kinds of airline passengers: the good ones and the bad ones. Sadly there is nothing you can really do about bad airline passengers on your flight, even though they really will test your patience. 

As if it wasn’t bad enough that most international flights are super long and tiring to begin with – the added annoyance of such passengers can make things even more taxing. 

While flight attendants can try to make suggestions, the worst airplane passengers cannot be stopped. Whether they’re loud snorers, have noisy children, talk loudly, fart loudly, pick their nose or kick your chair, we wanted to tell you that it’s going to be okay. You’re not alone in your bad airline experiences. 

That’s why we will share the top 50 worst airline stories for you to commiserate with – and for to know what not to do an airplane!

How many of these have you personally experienced during your travels? 

See also: How to Entertain Yourself at an Airport

Bad airline passengers experiences
Bad airline passengers

The top 50 worst things to do on a plane 

We asked travelers for their worst airline stories on our Facebook page and got some pretty hilarious (and nasty) stories.

Here are some of the responses to the question:

‘What is the most annoying thing another passenger can do on a plane?’. 

  1. “Vomit or shit themselves. The rest I can cope with.” – Amy.
  2. “Don’t use their headphones when watching something.” – Aleah.
  3. “Clip their nails.” – Lee.
  4. “Trying to open the exit door during the flight!” – TC. You may have been sitting with a madman!
  5. “Encroaching on both the armrests completely.” – Svetlana.
  6. “Take off your shoes. The feet smell is awful!” – Doogan. Keep your dirty feet covered up while flying, or better yet – keep your feet clean before liftoff!
  7. One of the most common complaints…kicking or pushing the back of your seat.
  8. “I had a guy next to me really digging into his nose for over 1/2 hour. Even the flight attendant looked disgusted. I kept staring at him (not a good idea), so he would be aware of his nasty habit, but it didn’t work. I was worried about what he’d do with his “treasure” once he dug it out. Gross.” – Deena. We’re really sorry you went through that! 
  9. Bad airline passengers recline their seats into your lap.
  10. “Kick the seat, especially when it’s a kid, and their parents won’t stop them.” – Aimee. 
  11. Loud coughing during the whole flight. 
  12. Farting during the flight, as if no one would notice!
  13. “Not bathing for a couple of days. I could smell a certain person that sat 5 rows behind me.” – Robin. 
  14. “Talking on cell loudly at landing and take-offs.” – Hum. 
  15. “Eating something crunchy…” – Nina. 
  16. “Fiddling with TV buttons as hard as they could. I also hate that poking feeling at the back of my seat.” – Najia 
  17. “Jut their elbow into my “space”” – Brenda. 
  18. Laughing loudly while watching a movie.
  19. Bringing smelly food on the plane.
  20. “Eat their split ends from Atlanta to Seoul even during breakfast, lunch and dinner.” – Craig.
  21. Clapping when the plane is landing.
  22. “Use a toothpick to place the food particles from the toothpick on the serving tray …I was disgusted” – Sipho. 
  23. Bringing a young child, such as a two-month-old.
  24. “Thinking I won’t notice any lewd acts with an aisle in between, half-covered by a blanket and dimmed lights” – Jan. 
  25. “Open a newspaper onto my lap.” – Sally.
  26. “Scream for two hours straight.” – Marion.
  27. Loud snoring during a nighttime flight.
  28. “Sit next to me.” You may actually be one of the bad airline passengers if this is your attitude!
  29. Opening the window. 
  30. Chewing and eating loudly.
  31. “Others not knowing how to control their toddler. Worst experience EVER. I’ve never seen a worse child.” – Michelle.
  32. Hogging the armrests.
  33. Being rude to the flight attendants.
  34. Getting up to go to the bathroom while not in the aisle seat – multiple times.
  35. Bad airline passengers constantly put their feet up.
  36. Falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder!
  37. Bad airline passengers refuse to get up when asked.
  38. Showing too many public displays of affection.
  39. “Forgetting to wear deodorant.” – Katja W.
  40. Trying to speak to strangers about your life story when they are clearly not interested. 
  41. Touching someone else’s luggage.
  42. Rushing to get up after the flight lands, pushing everyone in the way.
  43. Standing up while the seatbelt light is off.
  44. “Standing in the aisle, talking loudly to a friend during a long overnight flight.” – Ashley.
  45. Bad airline passengers leave a lot of garbage in their seats.
  46. Changing a baby’s dirty nappy in their seat.
  47. “Stand up and walk many times.” – Eric. 
  48. Trying to swap or steal your seat.
  49. Hogging the floor space of a full flight.
  50. “Complaining loudly during the entire flight.” – Emma. 

Now that you know…don’t be that bad airline passenger

Want to know how not to be one of the bad airline passengers we’ve been talking about? That’s simple; you just need to not do the above and treat your fellow passengers with respect.

The above are the worst airplane passengers who make the worst airline stories possible. While it’s a sad truth that there are so many unpleasant passengers, we hope there are enough excellent passengers on your next flight to balance it out! 

Remember to bring an extra pair of noise-canceling headphones next time, just in case young children are around! 

And to sum it all up, here’s Alexandra’s response when asked, “What is the most annoying thing an airline passenger could do?” 

“They push their seat back into you, try to talk to you when you’ve got headphones in, get up to the bathroom 50 times when not in the aisle seat, call the flight attendant every 5 seconds for some bs reason, not controlling their kids… flying rage is also a thing, Along with personal grooming, plucking eyebrows, clipping nails, painting nails, being barefoot. anyone who is rude to the flight attendants and won’t put away their phone or return their tray/seat to the upright position.”

Did we leave anything out that you think is one of the worst airline stories of all time? Let us know, and we’d love to add it to our list of what not to do while flying. 


  • Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.