Holiday travel is so obnoxious that nearly a third of Americans would give up gifts to avoid it.
Unruly children and smelly, inconsiderate passengers — according to new polls by travel website Expedia and manufacturer Honeywell — are just a couple of the annoyances that make flying during the holiday season a test of self-control.
But the top annoyance for passengers, according to Expedia, is “rear seat kickers.” This comes a few months after a flight from Newark to Denver was diverted because people fought over the Knee Defender. It’s a device that prevents the passenger in front of you from reclining his seat, and it’s banned by most major airlines.
Below are some of the other major offenses reported by holiday travelers…
Personal hygiene is a gift we can all enjoy
There is nothing quite like sharing tight quarters 35,000 feet in the air. The experience is made all the more pungent when the person sitting next to you has decided not to shower or use some kind of masking agent.
“The smelly traveler” is the passenger that the highest percentage of Honeywell participants try to avoid, at 41 percent. Expedia travelers ranked unpleasant body odor third in their list of airplane etiquette violations, after “rear seat kicker” and “inattentive parents.”
We recommend packing a clothespin, handkerchief, surgical mask, or other devices that may shield your nostrils.
Good things (don’t) come in little packages
Nearly 40 percent of Honeywell participants believe children should be relegated to their own section of the aircraft for flights that last more than two hours. Women especially want them out of sight: “In fact, 40 percent of women feel this way, compared with 31 percent of men.”
There’s a slightly more popular solution. Another 45 percent would like to see free ear plugs for all passengers if a screaming baby is on board.
We say all flight attendants should receive an “I Didn’t Throw A Screaming Child Overboard” award after each holiday season.
Seasonal survival strategy
How do passengers brave the smells, noises, and seats of their ruder peers? Honeywell says 43 percent sic a flight attendant on the troublemakers, while 27 percent confront them directly.
One-third of Honeywell survey participants said they used sleeping pills or sedatives in flight while 15 percent in Expedia’s study said they “always or sometimes” use medication or alcohol to knock themselves out. You could also just kick the back of someone’s seat until they put you out of your misery.