Top Etiquette Violators Include “Rear Seat Kickers,” “Inattentive Parents,” “The Aromatic,” “The Audio Insensitive,” “Boozers” and “Chatty Cathy”; 36% Would Pay Extra for Dedicated Quiet Section on Plane 

Bellevue, Wash., December 9, 2014 –®, one of the world's largest full service online travel sites, today released the results of the second annual Airplane Etiquette Study, which asked 1,000 Americans to rank the most annoying on-board behaviors of fellow passengers. The study was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by GfK, an independent global market research company.

This is the study’s second year. Last year, “Inattentive Parents” topped the list of most aggravating airplane passengers. This year, “Rear Seat Kickers” have displaced the parents, pushing them to second place, ahead of such etiquette violators as the “Aromatic Passenger,” the ”Audio Insensitive,” the “Boozer,” and “Chatty Cathy.”

A full analysis of Expedia’s 2014 Airplane Etiquette Study, as well as an infographic, can be found on the Expedia Viewfinder travel blog.

“Expedia’s Airplane Etiquette Study is a lighthearted reminder that few places require more attention to etiquette than the inside of an airplane,” said John Morrey, vice president and general manager, “You’re in a tight space at thirty thousand feet with hundreds of fellow travelers, so even the small things – helping your neighbor stow a bag or switching seats to put a mom next to her child – can make a huge difference.”

The ranked list of on-board etiquette violators includes:

1. Rear Seat Kicker: cited by 67% of study respondents

2. Inattentive Parents: 64%

3. The Aromatic Passenger: 56%

4. The Audio Insensitive (talking or music): 51%

5. The Boozer: 50%

6. Chatty Cathy: 43%

7. Carry-On Baggage Offenders: 39%

8. The Armrest Hog: 38%

9. Seat-Back Guy (the seat recliner): 37%

10. The Queue Jumper (rushes to deplane): 35%

11. Overhead Bin Inconsiderate (stows bag in first available spot,rather than nearest to his/her seat): 32%

12. Pungent Foodies: 32%

13. Back Seat Grabber: 31%

14. Playboy (reads or watches adult content): 30%

15. The Amorous (inappropriate affection levels): 29%

16. Mad Bladder (window seat passenger who makes repeat bathroom visits): 28%

17. Undresser (removes shoes, socks or more): 26%

18. The Seat Switcher: 13%

Chatting, Drinking and “ing

“Chatty Cathy” ranked sixth on the list of etiquette violators. 78% of Americans agree with the statement, “A little small talk is fine, but I prefer to keep to myself during the flight.” 16% of Americans report that they “use flights as an opportunity to talk to and meet new people.” 65% “dread” the experience of sitting next to them.

While “The Boozer” was a top-five least-favorite flyer, only 12% of Americans report that they drink more than two alcoholic beverages during air travel, while on board or in the airport. 15% of Americans “always or sometimes” use medication or alcohol to help them sleep on a plane, while 80% “never” do. 48% of Americans report that they generally cannot sleep on planes.

A full 5% of American flyers report that they “have been intimate” with someone on a plane. Of that 5%, 3% report having been intimate with someone that they were traveling with. 2% have been intimate with someone that they met on that flight.

Reclining Seats Spur Fights

2014 saw multiple examples of in-flight fights spurred by perceived legroom violations. Within a space of weeks, three separate flights were diverted mid-flight because passengers took issue with “Seat-Back Guy,” the passenger who reclines his or her seat fully during flight.

Men are likelier to recline their seats than women. 32% of men reported that they “do not recline my seat,” versus 38% of women. 31% of American passengers say they recline their seats to sleep. 26% say they do so when the flight is longer than three hours. 12% recline immediately after take-off, and the same percentage of fliers do so if the person in front of them does. 9% recline once meal service concludes.

A full 10% reported that they would recline their seat even if the passenger behind them was noticeably pregnant. 55% of U.S. flyers do not ask permission of the passenger behind them, while 23% do. 38% of Americans believe the practice should be banned entirely, or at least restricted.

21% of Americans report having experienced “major discomfort” due to a reclining seat. Disapproval of the behavior has prompted some consumers to block it, via tools such as the “Knee Defender,” which prevents seats from reclining via strategically placed clips. CNN reports that widely publicized on-board fights have led to a surge in Knee Defender sales.

When Confronted With Misbehavior, 48% Would Ignore, 12% Would Record

The ubiquitous availability of mobile devices has also made it far easier to record, and to shame, passengers who misbehave. When asked how they would react if a fellow passenger misbehaved on a flight, 48% said they would remain quiet and attempt to ignore the violation. 22% would confront a misbehaving passenger directly. 12% would record the incident using a mobile phone or a camera, while 6% said they would leverage social media channels, including Twitter, to shame a fellow passenger. 44% would address a parent if their child was kicking their seat.

Despite the above, American flyers remain largely upbeat. 78% agree that “for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate of other passengers.”

About the Survey

The study was conducted online using the GfK “KnowledgePanel,” an online probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. The study consisted of 1,011 interviews conducted between Oct 31 and Nov2, 2014 among adults aged 18+. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.

About is one of the world's largest full service travel sites*, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. (, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, cheap tickets, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps. With the Expedia® Best Price Guarantee, customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel.

Expedia,, Expedia Rewards, Find Yours, Vacation Deprivation and the Airplane logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners © 2014 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-50

Based on a comparison of other full-service online travel agencies, defined as those providing booking and services related to air, hotel, cruise, car and activities to a global customer base. Data based on comScore Media Metrix for Expedia, Inc. Sites, Worldwide, Average Monthly Unique Visitors, Oct '12-Sept '13.

About GFK

GfK is one of the world's largest research companies, with more than 13,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK's sales amounted to €1.51 billion. To find out more, visit

GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications is a division of GfK. The group specializes in customized public affairs and public opinion polling, media and corporate communications research, and corporate reputation measurement in the US and globally, in addition to delivering a broad range of customized research studies.


For more information, please contact:

Ingrid Belobradic,, (425) 679-8253,

Dave McNamee, HL Group, (646) 274-3635,