Traveling is great, but there’s no denying that the act of actually getting to our dream destination is something most of us would press fast forward on if we could. There’s no place that raises our travel-related stress levels more than the atmosphere of an airport. If we’re not spending time fretting about missing our flight or having it unexpectedly canceled on us, we get agitated waiting in line for what seems like days at the check-in and security queues – and to top it all off, the airport never fails to provide us with the worst bugbear of all – other people!
Of course, the majority of fellow travelers are just trying to get through the whole thing with minimal fuss just like the rest of us, but every so often, you can’t help but run into people who like to play fast and loose with the etiquette of plane travel by making every part of it ten times more stressful than necessary. Need an example of the kind of irritating traveler we mean? Travel experts over at The Telegraph and SmarterTravel have weighed in on irritating airport behavior and thanks to a survey done by travel blog Just The Flight, 5,000 flyers were also pressed about what grinds their gears the most where their fellow travelers were concerned. Here’s what they found...
20 The Person Who Left Their Passport At Home
Discovering we’ve lost our passport at the airport is surely a worry we all have when traveling, but it’s pretty rare that flyers actually find themselves in this conundrum, right? Wrong. It happens more often than we might think. So much so that a whopping 48% of people in the Just the Flight survey chose this as the most annoying trait in people at the airport.
Unless your passport gets stolen on the way to the airport, it’s kinda hard to feel sorry for these people. You literally need this one little thing to fly, and without it, you’re holding up the line for travelers who were actually prepared. Harsh but true!
19 The One Who Acts Like A Celeb At Check-in
No matter how much you dress the part, you’re not automatically guaranteed the high priority service that an A-lister will have when traveling. Unfortunately, some passengers seem to be under the delusion that certain rules and regulations don’t apply to them and for all the tired and jet-lagged fellow travelers, this can get really old really fast.
In The Telegraph Travel section's rundown of the 13 Most Infuriating People At Airport, numero uno goes to the quintessential check-in diva – the ones who demand special treatment upon arrival whether it’s overlooking an extra baggage fee or requesting a specific in-flight meal at the last minute. Yep, these people are bags of fun.
18 Those Hogging The Luggage Carousel
When it comes to waiting to retrieve our luggage at our destination airport, most of us will do the decent thing and stand back a considerate distance from the carousel to spot our suitcase from afar, thus allowing everyone else the chance to do the same.
Unfortunately, when the carousel hogs strike, they tend to form in packs and massive herds around the entire luggage belt to the point that even a flare being sent up from your luggage couldn’t help you identify it. Unsurprisingly, 25% of those surveyed by In The Flight chose these people as among the worst people you come across on your travels.
17 Parents Of An Unsupervised Child
The airport must be many parents idea of hell in lots of ways since A – there’s a lot of potential for boredom and B – the jet lag can mess with a child’s body clock, which will make them either tired and cranky or the dreaded latter – over-stimulated!
According to award-winning travel site SmarterTravel.com, parents who let their children run wild is a major pet peeve at the airport. Well-meaning parents at the airport have our utmost sympathy, but as for the ones who are totally chill with the fact that their child is running around a busy airport and using the terminal as a race track with their siblings? Not so much.
16 The One Rushing To The Front Of the Gate
While it’s sensible to arrive at your gate in plenty of time, some travelers can take things a little too far, and these peeps are known as the gate rushers. 24% of travelers found this the most irritating trait when it comes to airport behavior and almost a quarter of irate passengers can’t be wrong – gate rushers are a real pain!
Airport announcements are there to make sure passengers know when their gate opens and when boarding begins, but a gate rusher will storm to the head of the queue up to an hour before necessary – meaning that priority passengers like young families and the elderly are forced to wait behind these obsessive early birds.
15 The Airport Security Newbie
We should try and be forgiving of first-time flyers and younger passengers, but honestly, in this day and age, people should take it upon themselves to read up on the basics of airport security. As harsh as it might sound, a sizeable 34% of people in the survey voted in the security newbie as one of the most irritating fellow travelers.
As you approach the airport security line, there are dozens of posters and signs telling what you need to remove from your bags and clothing before you go through – so looking surprised about the beeper going off when you’re wearing three necklaces and metal-cap cowboy boots won’t exactly warrant sympathy.
14 The Passenger Who’s Never Heard Of Headphones
Thanks to tablets and smartphones, we thankfully have a way to block out the surrounding noise when we travel and while most of us wear headphones to do so, it seems like some less considerate travelers didn’t get the memo on using their headphone jack in closed public spaces.
According to the folks over at SmarterTravel, number five on their roundup of the 10 Worst People You Meet At Airports belongs to the people who leave their earphones at home. While these people are enjoying killing time on a noisy game app or watching half a TV boxset at full volume, the rest of us have to grin and bear it – often getting a migraine in the process.
13 The One Taking Up Half The Seats In The Waiting Lounge
Airports are one of the most crowded places on the planet and after navigating our way through the terminals and standing for ages in the security and check-in lines, it’s nice to be able to take the weight off our feet in the lounges and seating areas by the gate. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible because of - the seat hoggers!
According to 44% of the flyers surveyed, seat stealers are among the most irritating people you’ll meet in the airport. Sure, we get that you’re traveling with about four cases, but that doesn’t mean you get to take up the entire row.
12 Those Who Use Up Every Power Outlet
Just The Flight found that 6% of travelers are not a fan of power outlet hoggers at the airport. You know, the passengers who use up about 10 different sockets for their phone, tablet, laptop, hair straighteners, toaster – you name it! It should be pretty basic airport etiquette that it’s one person to an outlet and therefore one device, but some travelers like to, quite literally – crave power.
We’ve all experienced our phone battery dwindling on us at crucial times, but clearly, these people have never heard of a portable power bank before. You know you’re guilty of outlet hogging when your side of the table starts to resemble mission control.
11 The Traveler Having The Loudest Phone Call Ever
Airports are loud places, so it’s understandable that you may need to speak up on the phone to your boss or loved one for a brief exchange, but there’s a chasm of difference between people making a brief and necessary call at the airport and those who may as well be standing on a soapbox telling the airport their entire life story.
26% of flyers in the survey singled out loud phone users who make sure every jet-lagged passenger in their midst knows exactly how their love/work-life balance is going. If it weren’t for the fact that we needed to listen out for gate change info, we’d probably all wear earplugs.
10 The Ill Passenger Coughing And Sneezing With Abandon
While we can’t begrudge people falling ill, we can feel irritated by those who do nothing to stop their germs from spreading around as much as possible in a public place. It’s one thing to see someone openly sneezing on the subway, but doing the same at an airport kinda quadruples our chances of getting ill too.
According to the In the Flight survey, a quarter of people agreed that passengers who openly coughed, spluttered and sneezed without ever covering their mouth are just the worst when it comes to airport etiquette. We have a special kind of sympathy for anyone seated next to these passengers!
9 Those Who Audibly Tut And Sigh In The Queue
We all get tired and fed up at the airport – it’s not a fun place to be for hours on end! But when passengers start making it obvious to others of their exasperation with loud sighs and tutting noises, it quickly becomes clear that they’re not just tired of the airport, they’re tired of you, taking up all their precious time.
According to SmarterTravel, the impatient traveler is one of the worst people you’ll come across at the airport, and they’re usually loudest in the line for security. Heaven forbid this person will have less time to spend in the lounge now because the guy in front removed his belt and shoes far too slowly!
8 The Passenger Who Overdoes It At The Bar
Vacations are all about relaxing and kicking back, but it seems that some passengers can’t even wait until they get on the plane to start knocking back a few holiday tipples, and this can get pretty irritating for the surrounding travelers.
A traveler type that many could do without at the airport, according to SmarterTravel are those that like to drink the airport bars dry before boarding the plane. Luckily if they’re drunk enough, they won’t even be allowed to board, but until then, being stuck in line with someone who could start a fight or throw up on your luggage at any given minute is no-one’s idea of fun.
7 Those Who Hold Up The Tray Belt At Security
According to The Telegraph Travel experts, the travelers who slow down the tray belt at airport security rank fourth in the most infuriating people at the airport. Unless you’re new to flying, most will know that, once it has passed through the scanner, it’s common courtesy to remove your tray of personal items from the conveyor belt and set them aside to keep the belt moving.
Some travelers, however, will stay at the end of the beltline to pick up their coat and re-tie their shoes. All the while, the slew of trays heading down the belt become jammed and everything comes to a halt. Argh.
6 The Frantic Latecomers
Despite being advised about turning up to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight departs, many careless travelers still manage to turn up ridiculously late to the boarding gate - holding everyone else up in the process. Unsurprisingly, this won the vote by the Just The Flight survey for the single worst person you’ll meet the airport with 53% in agreement.
Running late for things can happen to the best of us sometimes, but when it comes to catching a flight that cost you hundreds of dollars, a bit of forward planning and “what if?” kind of thinking is surely the least any traveler should do.
5 Those Who Always Haggle For An Upgrade
The Just The Flight survey found that 8% of travelers have a bone to pick with those who persistently haggle their way to a flight upgrade. At some point in our travels, we’re likely to come across these arrogant passengers who play the “don’t you know who I am?” routine to try and blag a free upgrade.
Asking about the availability of first-class seats is one thing, but flashing your platinum membership card and yelling at an innocent staff member until you get what you want is not cool and only makes the toddler behind you seem more mature and cool-headed than your business suit suggests.
4 People Standing Still On The Walkways
According to 10% of those surveyed about airport etiquette, fellow travelers standing completely still on moving walkways was the biggest bugbear, and it’s not hard to see why. The clue is kinda in the name of a moving walkway – they were designed so that you can zip across the terminal faster than at normal walking pace, so why stand perfectly still?
We get that hauling heavy luggage around an airport gets tiring, but passengers have plenty of time to put their feet up once they get to the lounge. Unfortunately, because of the walkway statues, most of us will be lucky if we even get to our gate lounge on time!
3 The Over-Enthusiastic Perfume Seller
Airports are essentially department stores with planes. There’s no escaping the duty-free shops and vendors trying to sell something to you. But no matter how well seasoned a traveler you are, being stopped by a sales rep never gets any less irritating.
The worst offenders when it comes to the staff at airport shops, according to The Telegraph Travel experts are the perfume sellers at duty-free. No matter how smiley and friendly they are, few travelers wish to be spritzed in the face with an overwhelming scent before catching their flight. We’ll let you know if we want to test it out. Otherwise, kindly put the bottles down!
2 Those Who Pause Suddenly In The Middle Of A Busy Spot
We’ve all been in that situation in a busy street or shopping mall when someone decides to abruptly stop in their tracks distracted by something, forcing you to play Pacman and maneuver your way around them. This can be an inconvenience in most places but at the airport? It isn't just annoying, it’s super stressful!
No wonder then that 15% of those surveyed chose people who stop and block the main pathways as the worst kind of fellow traveler. The only real reason to stop and stare at the airport is to check the departure board for your flight info. Creating a human barrier in the middle of the floor with your luggage is not a reason.
1 The Couples Who Go Full PDA While Queueing
Airports are a prime place for witnessing emotional farewells and reunions between loved ones, and while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, public displays of, shall we say, over affection between couples can get a little irksome – especially when you’re tired and traveling alone.
According to the response from the Just The Flight survey, 6% of participants ranked this among the most annoying behavior from fellow passengers. It may sound grinch-like, but the line at airport security or the queue during the boarding process shouldn’t be used for doing your best impression of Romeo & Juliet. Don’t get a boarding pass – get a room!