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Experiencing Plane Peeves, But It's Not All Bad.
By Louise Osborne ~ Weekly Exclusive - Global Views On Recent Trends
Monday, 23rd December 2013

Exclusive Feature: Stretching up on my toes and holding my heavy hand luggage high above my head I struggle to push it into a stuffed overhead locker;

I am boarding the flight back home to Berlin and, as one of the last to board the plane, have only limited space to squeeze my bulging case into the already well-packed space.

My neighbours watch me, rolling their eyes and mentally tapping their toes as they wait for me to settle.

According to a study recently published by travel website Expedia, I am breaking some of the rules of airline etiquette. I am a "carry-on baggage offender" or perhaps an "overhead bin inconsiderate", I'm not sure, but either way, I am causing people to have to wait.

For me, however, it is the flight attendants and other passengers, who are the inconsiderate ones, watching on as I struggle to fit my bag in the tiny space, not even offering the pretence of assistance. Fuming, I push my bag forcefully until it will go no more and squeeze into my cramped seat.

Buses, trains and boats all offer their own annoyances and grievances, but is travel by plane that is the cause of most angst as passengers are squashed together for hours at a time with their annoying habits and, even worse, their children.

In Expedia's 2013 Airplane Etiquette study, it was "inattentive parents" that ranked as the biggest annoyance on flights, with 41% of those surveyed saying it was their pet peeve, while travelling by plane.

In second place was the "rear seat kicker" with 38% saying that was the most offensive action carried out by fellow passengers on flights, while "the aromatic passenger" followed behind with 28%, "the boozer" at 26% and "Chatty Cathy" at 23%.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryUnlike other forms of transport, flights guarantee an intimacy that makes these particular forms of annoyance more likely and perhaps even more aggravating.

What could be more annoying than rushing to find a decent seat on a low-cost airline only to find that, not only do you have a parent with a two-year-old sat behind you that they cannot control and who is constantly kicking your chair, but that in front of you is a passenger reclining their seat so they are almost on your lap?

It is a situation that many of us have come across, although one many of us have simply had to put up with until we safely if not in a slightly worse condition than we arrived disembark at the final destination.

The experience of flying has changed dramatically over the decades as cheaper costs have enabled more and more people to take to the air. And while that, in principle, can only be a good thing, it is sad that it has meant such drastic changes in the experience of flying. Courteous service from some flight attendants has fallen to the wayside, while a quiet and relaxed flight can seem little more than a dream.

Still, it's not always like that. Sometimes, it turns out just as you would hope, with pleasant service, a nice neighbour sat beside you and good food served shortly after the plane takes off. And, just sometimes, you even get help taking that heavy bag out of the overhead locker.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from is not permitted.

Louise Osborne is a correspondent and editor based in Berlin, Germany. She began her career working at regional newspapers in the UK and now works with journalists across the globe as part of international journalism organization, Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA). Living abroad for the second time, she continues to be fascinated by places both near and far, and boards a plane eagerly, as often as she can.

Louise writes a weekly exclusive column for

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