That’s Just Plane Annoying!

Unruly kids and drunk passengers… GoCompare reveals holidaymakers’ biggest in-flight irritations


New research from GoCompare has revealed UK holidaymakers biggest in-flight irritations, with seat kicking and drunk fellow passengers topping the list. GoCompare Travel quizzed over 1,300 UK adults who had flown abroad in the last five years and asked them to pick the things which annoy them most when travelling by plane. Armrest hogging, unruly or crying children, rude cabin crew and other passengers filling up the overhead lockers are all in the top ten of things most likely to raise their blood and cabin pressure.

Rank Plane annoying behaviour %
1 Having your seatback kicked 57
=2 Drunk passengers 48
=2 Sitting next to someone with a personal hygiene problem 48
4 Unruly or crying children 46
5 Having to pay for expensive plane food and drinks 35
6 Sitting next to an armrest hogger 31
7 Rude cabin crew 28
8 Other passengers filling up the overhead lockers 27
9 Sitting next to a chatty stranger 23
10 Noise from other passengers’ headphones / mobile devices 17


Whilst it seems that many holidaymakers have a low annoyance threshold for children, noise, rowdy behaviour and poor service when flying, there are signs that people are either becoming more tolerant of their fellow passengers or we are becoming more considerate flyers.

When GoCompare ran the same survey in 2013, 74% of respondents found having their seat back kicked a pain in the backside (down to 57% in 2017), 61% found unruly and crying children a major annoyance (down to 46% in 2017) and 55% were irritated by drunk passengers (down to 48% in 2017). 41% were annoyed by rude cabin crew (down to 28% in 2017).

Martyn John, from GoCompare Travel commented: “With cheap flight deals making air travel more accessible than ever before, our study found that people’s biggest in-flight irritations are overwhelmingly the actions of fellow passengers rather than airlines or flight conditions.

“That said, over time we’ve found people’s annoyance levels have dropped significantly, so perhaps we’re gradually learning not to sweat the small stuff when we’re on our holidays, or showing a little more regard for other people when flying. It’s hard to tell whether in the last four years the things that have the potential to annoy us have either diminished or we’ve just accepted it’s all part of the flying experience. Hopefully a combination of more consideration and greater tolerance will make everyone’s flight a little less turbulent.”

GoCompare have produced a guide to choosing and buying the right flights. For more information go to

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