The 14 People You Don’t Want to Be Stuck Next to on an Airplane

Having spent more than my fair share of time on airplanes and in airports, I have definitely seen some cringe-worthy things. It can be difficult to say which ones are most deserving of a place on this list, but I think it’s safe to say the following behaviors definitely merit a shout out. Hopefully these people don’t take offense, and I’m praying they’re not on my next flight, but these are the 14 people you don’t want to be stuck next to on an airplane.

The 14 People You Don’t Want to Be Stuck Next to On an Airplane

The 14 People You Don't Want to Be Stuck Next to on an Airplane-Kids Are A Trip

1. The one with the stinky food

I know it is horrible that the airlines force us to bring our own meals on board, but for the sake of your fellow passengers, please don’t bring anything with an offensive odor. Yes, I’m looking at you, lady in 12D with the curry that you scarfed down and I had to smell for the remainder of the flight. Wouldn’t a salad be tastier? And friendlier? I’m sorry, I just don’t want to talk to you after you put me through olfactory torture.

2. The ones that take off their shoes and socks

Let me just say, I understand the desire to take off shoes on long haul flights. When you want to sleep on a Trans-Atlantic flight, by all means, take those shoes off, but leave your socks on! Then there are those special souls that think it is ok to head to the lavatory in their socks. Please, don’t. Ever think about those kids that might have missed the toilet? Hopefully you will now. Keep those shoes on when you walk around the plane.

People You Don't Want to Be Stuck Next to on an Airplane No Shoes-Kids Are A Trip
Photo credit: Creative Commons

3. The one that thinks it’s ok to floss their teeth

Is it wrong of me to say this is the same person that ate the curry? I kid you not! Please do not ever, EV-ER floss your teeth at your seat, that is what the bathroom is for, so head down the aisle before you take out that floss.

4. The loud talkers

You know the ones I’m talking about. Not the ones talking to you, but the ones in front of you. The ones having a conversation, loudly, while everyone else is trying to sleep, or just trying to relax. Somehow, they’re oblivious to the fact everyone is giving them the stink eye or clearing their throat. For some reason they think we want to hear their “important” conversations. We don’t. And, especially if you are on a late night, or early morning flight, be considerate of fellow passengers. They’re probably exhausted and you should respect them by keeping your mouth closed.

5. The one that doesn’t use headphones

I have to admit I haven’t seen many adults guilty of this one, but I have seen parents let their kids play video games and watch movies without using headphones. The noise is ridiculous! I have three kids and I would never want to bother anyone on the plane with the obnoxious tunes coming from their devices.

6. The one that changes diapers on the seat

Yes, I’ve seen this and I’m calling you out! Parents, I know the lavatories are small, but use them. No one wants to smell what is coming from your baby’s diaper.

7. The one watching inappropriate shows while they sit next to a kid

Ok, I get it, you just had to watch that episode of “Spartacus”, but couldn’t you fast forward through the orgy scene? While my son probably appreciated the sneak peek he got, I was not so thrilled. I know you couldn’t change the fact he sat next to you, but maybe next time, be a little more discreet, please?

8. The one that needs to use the restroom but won’t

It’s a small, confined space. You’re not fooling anyone by “holding it in”. I smell you, my kid smells you, go ahead and use the restroom and stop killing everyone around you.

9. The one that needs to use the restroom all the time and sits in the window seat

Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. How many times can a person possibly go to the restroom during a flight? This is the person you do not want to sit next to as you will be out of your seat more often than you are in it.

10. The one that talks loudly on the cell phone before take off or after landing

Hello? It’s me. I’m at the airport. Now the whole plane knows because you’ve been talking so loud, we can’t help but notice. If you have to talk on your phone try to keep it short and sweet, because no one wants to know your life story. Oh, and definitely don’t put it on speaker phone!

People You Don't Want to Be Stuck Next to on an Airplane Cell Phone User-Kids Are A Trip
Put that phone away!
Photo credit: Creative Commons

11. The one who doesn’t discipline their children

My children are not perfect. When I see kids running up and down the aisle, climbing over seats, hitting one another, slamming their tray tables, and kicking the seat in front of them, I die a little inside. This is not acceptable behavior, ever. Yet I have seen it countless times because parents don’t tell their kids to stop. Parents, airplanes are not playgrounds. Lay out the rules and make your children follow them. It makes the rest of us look bad when your kids don’t behave.

12. The one who doesn’t use deodorant

I think this one is self explanatory.

13. The one that imposes on other’s space

This probably bothers me the most. We all pay for our own space. I am not a seat recliner, nor do I move the arm rest up between our seats. Please do not do this to me or I might go crazy on you. Stay in your space and we’ll all have a pleasant flight. Yes, I want the arm rest down.

People You Don't Want to Be Stuck Next to on an Airplane Space Hogs-Kids Are A Trip
The only one I will ever share space with is my kiddo!

14. The one with an older lap child

I will probably take a flogging for even saying this, but I’ve been there. We all try to save money on the outrageous price of tickets, but when your baby gets older and wants to move around, you HAVE to get them their own seat. It’s too difficult to try to contain them (and you) to that small airplane seat. Trust me, you will both be happier if you buy a ticket for you and your child.

 Which person do you not want to be stuck next to on an airplane?


  1. I love this! I’ll add creepy man who stares at your laptop screen the whole and comments on what he sees!

  2. Or anyone that isn’t my family — and sometimes even them 🙂

  3. Grosss!!!! I have an 8-10 hour flight to visit my family, depending on the route that I fly, and I generally can be considered a people-person until we step onto the actual plane. Not sure what it is about air travel that makes a surprising amount of people exhibit questionable (to put it nicely) behavior, but wow. One of my biggest pet peeves is when it’s time to get off the plane, and the travel bros are the first to jump up and grab their stuff and proceed to stand there/hit people with their bags in the aisle for the next 15 minutes, before the aircraft door is even open. We’re all going to be off the plane five to ten minutes after that door is open, I simply cannot understand the unecessary rush. Anyway, you were spot-on with this list!

  4. I’ve had nearly all of these next to me, plus another one not mentioned: the snorer!

  5. I have never had that. That would freak me out!

  6. Ha! Too funny.

  7. This was a great read. I’ve definitely had a few of those as seatmates, and I may have been one or two myself, if I am honest.

    My two most difficult experiences were:

    1. Pair of travelers behind me talking loudly, and doing their nails on a 12 hour flight?!?!?! Yes, with polish remover!
    2. The parent…not the child…constantly hitting my seat because they couldn’t sleep laying down in the 3 seats they had to themselves!

    Fortunately, the flights are usually a lot shorter than the holiday 🙂

  8. How about the person who brings more than the required allowance of cabin bags on board, arrives late, and then moves (or removes) everyone’s else’s stuff to make way for theirs! This attitude then usually extends to everything they do on the flight.I personally hate the space creeping people. As a small female, men always think they have a right to take over my space !

  9. You are so right Kerri! The entitled traveler. Seen a few in my day. And yes, my space is my space period. We all paid to be there.

  10. No!!! Not nail polish remover? How do they even get that on the plane? Shouldn’t that be illegal or something? And a parent acting like a child? Come on. Enough already!

  11. Oh gosh. Did you bump them and try to make them wake up?

  12. Right! Those people that jockey for position. Where do they think they’re going? The same place as the rest of us! Grrrrr.

  13. It just made them snore louder 🙂

  14. How about the guy spitting into the barf bag for 12 hours and then leaving it for the cleaning crew? And also the tray table slammers?

  15. I am so sorry. I have been these people at times. I won’t give all the details, but it involves our 2 year-old, us forgetting to pack clothes in his onflight bag (so weird) and the Pull-up that he wasn’t wearing, then me on hands and knees scrubbing the plane floor with disinfectant and gloves provided by the flight attendant. It was mortifying.

  16. That’s hilarious!

  17. Ok, both of those are horrible!

  18. I can only imagine. The good news: You probably never saw those people again. : )

  19. Great tips, but you’ve forgotten one. The barfer – ewwww. This lady, was pregnant, so I can’t blame her, but it was pretty yucky. On my last flight – #13. This lady was playing Sudoku on her tablet while poking her elbow into my side, for basically the whole flight. I figure if someone gets to age 60 or so without learning some basic manners, you aren’t going to teach them to her on an airplane flight.

  20. That is just horrible! I probably would spend a lot of time re-arranging myself on that flight in hopes she would take a hint!

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