Hey, Air Travelers: You Are Extremely Disgusting People

The Wall Street Journal has an article that we could barely finish about absolutely disgusting behavior that air travelers are exhibiting on airplanes. The article details the foul, rude and unsanitary things that you all are doing out of some sort of misguided aggression towards the airline. We have news for you, pig pen, you’re only hurting yourselves… or, more specifically, the next guy to sit in that seat.

From the WSJ:

Patrick Kerr, who like Mr. Cuzzone participated in a FlyerTalk.com online discussion among frequent travelers of disgusting things people do aboard airplanes, was flying from Reno, Nev., to Dallas when a nearby passenger put a wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth and spit juice into a plastic cup throughout the flight.

As passengers left the plane, Mr. Kerr, a technology manager in St. Louis, said, the man made one last deposit then tucked the cup deep into the seat pocket.

“I said, ‘Hey, you left that.’ And he said, ‘It’s OK. They’ll get it,’ ” said Mr. Kerr, who then alerted a flight attendant.

Flight attendants often say that the biggest messes they have to deal with are dirty diapers left in seat-back pockets or worse, handed to them while they are serving beverages and snacks. “Would you hand that off to your server at a restaurant?” said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing workers at several big airlines. “It’s amazing how people treat the inside of aircraft cabins as opposed to other public spaces.”

My god, were you people raised by wolves? Clean up after yourselves.

“Putting a melting chocolate bar in a seatback is a way of punishing the airline for shoddy treatment,” said Robert Bor, a clinical aviation psychologist in London.

We disagree. Evil behavior such as this is actually a way to punish nice people who just happen to be on the airplane after you, and who would really rather not be covered in what appears to be baby vomit, the possible origin of which will plague them for days afterward.

Can you think of some more constructive ways to punish an airline for poor service? Department of Transportation complaint? Nasty letter to your mutual fund manager about excessive airline CEO pay? Amtrak?

Flying Foul: Passengers Behaving Badly [Yahoo!]

(Photo: JohnKit )


Edit Your Comment

  1. halftank says:

    You could ask if these people would do the same thing @home. Sadly the answer would be yes.

  2. apotheosis says:

    Here’s an idea, if you want to “punish” the airline, withhold your business.

  3. madrigal says:

    I live in Boston, and I see this on the T everyday. People drop banana peels, snotty tissues, and other garbage. It’s gross.

  4. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    I was flying first class once (blew all my frequent flyer miles for my honeymoon) and saw a woman change a baby right next to me. Not really the first class experience I had in mind. She got up to do it again later and the flight attendant made her go to the bathroom to do it, which seemed to highly offend her.

  5. Jabberkaty says:

    Great, as if people really needed to combine fears of flying with germ phobia. Gah, unclean! Unclean!

  6. unklegwar says:

    AS long as all the laws allow the airlines to crap all over people, people will cling to behaviors that give them any slight illusion of having some control.

    I ask the same thing (would you do that at home?) about the people who use my workplace men’s room, in an office building with supposed professionals. I swear there are people who drop their pants, and then spin in a wild circle while urinating.

  7. dragonfire81 says:

    I believe this kind of stuff is common with most forms of public transportation, I’ve seen it on city buses, airplanes and Greyhound coaches.

  8. TVGenius says:

    I’m all for the Amtrak method of punishing the airlines. Much better for the environment too.

  9. Technick says:

    I agree, its amazing how unclean some people are. As Unklegwar stated, I work in a professional building complex as week and I frequently see people from other floors coming to use the bathrooms on my floor and making a huge mess in there. I swear some people need to be dragged outside and beat or possibly even put down.

    I remember flying on Spirit Airlines the first couple of months they started operating and by that point some douchbag parent let his child scribble on the back of a couple of seats with magic marker and crayon.

    Kinda wish they make you pass a common sense / IQ test before going to the movies, flying on a plane and getting a drivers license.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    There are a few movie theaters that now have premium theaters. They offer tables, servers to bring meals to you right in the theater, in some cases cocktails and children-free showings. Of course they charge a premium.

    It seems to me that there could be a premium airline (not simply first class, but a dedicated flight) that would have all the amenities that used to be part of civilized travel. Highly trained and attentive staff, better food service, no nickel & dime extras, no kids, large, well spaced seats, on and on and on. Basically eliminating all the annoyances we all have come to expect as part of air travel.

    And just like a a hot nightclub, you’d have to behave (and dress) appropriately. You don’t, and you’re banned from future flights.

    I think a enough people would be willing to pay for the reduced hassle for an airline like this to be highly profitable.

    Hmmn, Perhaps Richard Branson could make a separate division, Extra Virgin Airlines?

  11. sgodun says:

    The headline in use here is perfect, except remove “Air Travelers” and insert “Everybody” in its place.

    People are, as a rule, disgusting, filthy, self-righteous, self-important people who believe that rules — even common courtesies — apply to everyone except them. I find myself more frequently cheering on the bad guy who wants to destroy the world in all those sci-fi movies.

  12. ramblingasian says:

    I’m not surprised. Every time I’ve flown on an airplane (with the exception of Singapore Airlines), there’s been some big mess in the plane, whether it be a still wet puke stain to a kid taking a dump on the ground outside the bathroom (not kidding).

    I’ve seen cleaner alleyways than airplanes. And it’s only going to get worse as all the airlines are trying to cut costs.

  13. buzzybee says:

    Come on, what are you supposed to do with your trash? There’s no waste receptacle next to the seat. If the only thing that flight attendants have to complain about is people handing or leaving them trash, then the airline business must be doing pretty well. But I think we all know that isn’t the case.

  14. esqdork says:

    Fact: People suck. I’ve seen people change diapers on dining tables at restaurants. People smoke and litter on public transportation. Public property gets vandalized and destroyed all the time by numbskulls who threaten people (me) when they are asked to stop. I think Singapore got it right when they caned that U.S.-born delinquint for vandalism.

  15. jawtry says:

    I agree with most of what’s been said, although the flight attendant shill comparing the plane cabin to a restaurant is a bit of a stretch.

    Maybe passengers hand the diapers to an attendant while they’re serving because it’s so &$*#ing difficult to get out of your row in the first place and they shoot you the stink eye if you get out of your seat while the drink cart is deployed.

    If I was in a restaurant and had that kind of mobility, then yeah, I’d probably hand a used diaper to a server.

  16. buzzybee says:

    @SkokieGuy: Would you really be willing to pay more? How much more? I think the demand for lower costs is why we have such a lack of service in the first place.

    Perhaps it would be best to get rid of the attendants all together. When was the last time one actually attended to the needs of a customer? Their role is long gone, it’s time to cut the overpaid, lazy attendants and give that money back to the customer.

  17. johnva says:

    @buzzybee: I can’t believe anyone would even consider changing a baby’s diaper in a cramped airline seat inches from a perfect stranger. That is so disgusting and incredibly rude that it should be punished by being tossed out of the plane at 35,000 feet. I don’t care how difficult it is to get up. I’ll gladly move for you rather than be subjected to that. And I would definitely politely but firmly object if someone started to do that beside me.

  18. ElizabethD says:

    I believe this has little to do with punishing the airlines. People are just slobs. We live near the waterfront, and all summer hundreds of people come to the nearby town beach and walk the trails along the bay across from our house. Every morning I go out and clean up bag after bag full of their crap. Yes — dirty diapers. Styrofoam take-out containers. Dog poop. Hollowed-out cantaloupe rinds. From the late-night crowd: beer bottles (often smashed) and used condoms.

    It’s simple laziness and thoughtlessness. “Someone else will pick it up.”

  19. sponica says:

    People in general are pigs. I worked in a toy store, and one day while closing, we found a dirty diaper BEHIND the Chutes and Ladders boxes. SERIOUSLY! When I worked in a movie theater, someone found a large cup filled with urine. I always clean up after myself wherever I am because I have been that person cleaning a movie theater alone after a sold out kids movie.

  20. keith4298 says:

    With all due respect, if you want people to behave as if they were in a restaurant or at home … then treat them that way.

    Seats that are so cramped as to make one feel they are in a sardine can??

    Taking away meals??

    Taking away headsets??

    Try going to a restaurant that sticks you in a corner and doesn’t serve you food and see how much respect the customers give the staff.

  21. johnva says:

    @ElizabethD: I HATE people who litter. I feel those people are almost the worst scum imaginable. We SHOULD punish it by caning ala Singapore.

  22. chrisjames says:

    @johnva: What I’d like to see are more people speaking up for themselves when they see this happen. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell the person “Hey, you take that kid into the lavatory right now because you are not exposing its shit three feet from my face.” It disgusts me that other people would be appalled, but wouldn’t act, as if their courtesy is merited in spite of the other person’s lack of it.

    The same goes for leaving messes and other disgusting habits, though it’s a lot less offensive than a face full of poo.

  23. Milstar says:

    @buzzybee: You carried the item/trash on the plane with you and now you’re saying that you can’t carry it off with you?

    I agree I’ve seen some pretty crappy things on airlines, That also goes for a movie theater. I’m still dumbfounded by how many people lazily leave all their junk food trash behind and how much they spill.

  24. johnva says:

    @keith4298: I don’t buy this theory that it’s about “punishing the airlines”. If that was the case, then why are these people doing things that punish their fellow passengers as well? I think they are just disgusting scumbags who should not be allowed out of a fenced confinement area.

  25. uncle_fluffy says:

    “It’s amazing how people ARE treatED ON the inside of aircraft cabins as opposed to other public spaces.”


  26. Milstar says:

    @keith4298: For some reason your “coach class” pocket book mentality seems to imply that you deserve “first class” You pay more, you get more.

    Don’t blame the airline for providing affordability.

  27. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Been in a public restroom lately? Sometimes it’s like someone stood in a stall, bent over, and played gatling gun with their excrement. I don’t for a moment believe people do that in their own homes.

    Some people are just assholes, plain and simple, and are the reasons why we as a society can’t have anything nice.

  28. RookOmega says:

    I agree, in all my years of flying, I’ve seen people do disgusting things on airplanes for one reason or another…

    Usually, they are the first to complain when something isn’t exactly right for them…

  29. Yuck. This is why I hope tickets go up in the long run, so idiots like that are priced out of air travel.

  30. Trai_Dep says:

    From a story here several weeks ago.
    The Good News: your seatmate didn’t ejaculate all over the seats.
    The Bad News: your seatmate did so all over you.

  31. mhedgesjr says:

    You know, often its not the act itself but rather the way its performed that makes it obnoxious/insulting. I chew tobacco on nearly every long haul flight. I put the Skoal into my mouth neatly and discreetly, I spit into a small bottle which is opened and closed upon each use. You probably would never know i had chewed the entire flight next to you, which has nothing to do with the chewing tobacco and everything to do with the fact that i am a considerate and polite person.

    The fact that the flyer spit into an open cup the entire flight is rude and inconsiderate, but leaving the cup in the seat back is flat out disgusting. But before anyone crucifies the person for the use of chewing tobacco on the flight (and before some know it all has to prove their knowledge, I dont care if it is or isn’t “allowed” on planes), while i enjoy my Skoal in peace i bare witness to the most inconsiderate behavior i have ever seen.

    The real issue here is that this guy was ignorant to or totally unconcerned with how his use of chew could be unpleasant to other passengers. As for leaving the cup of spit in the back of the seat, his answer displayed the mentality behind the act itself. That mentality is “i am going to do what i want, when i want, and since i paid for this flight i will leave behind whatever disgusting garbage i feel like leaving.”

  32. buzzybee says:

    @Milstar: No, not really. I don’t think it’s my responsibility to carry trash off the plane when I’m paying someone to do it for me.

    Their plane, their job to keep it clean. Not mine.

  33. Youthier says:

    As a teenager, my friends always complained about how messy my car was – food wrappers and such all over the floor.

    “Why don’t you just throw it out the window?”

    Sorry… I don’t mind the mess, really but I’m not going to inflict on other people. It’s so rude (and illegal).

  34. GothamGal says:

    “My god, were you people raised by wolves?”

    Ah Meg, this comment made my morning.

  35. johnva says:

    @Youthier: My parents taught me not to litter when I was still a toddler. I can’t believe anyone can actually reach adulthood and still be such a pig.

  36. BlondeGrlz says:

    @buzzybee: You’re the guy who can’t carry his empty popcorn bucket out of the movie theater too, aren’t you?

  37. DownwardSpiral says:

    ‘So Bob what do you do for a living?’
    ‘Oh I’m a clinical aviation psychologist’

    …. wait, what?

  38. misskatybean says:

    Actually, I am a server in a restaurant and the crap people hand me and especially leave on their tables for the busboy to clean up is disgusting. I don’t think this is limited to airlines, I think that some people just don’t feel the need to clean up after themselves.

  39. consumingall says:

    A lot of the people flying these days have very little class, but flying itself has transformed into such a crass experience that you can hardly blame the passengers.

    Somehow, I don’t think this behavior was prevalent 25 years ago, when flying was a little more refined, when you weren’t crammed into a tiny seat and tossed a bag of pretzels if you’re lucky.

  40. bbagdan says:

    And yet, if you were to smash a hammer into the nose of one of these boors, YOU would be the one going to jail. frigging ridiculous.

  41. axiomatic says:

    I could care less about any of this stuff if you other travelers would just TAKE A SHOWER!!!


  42. snoop-blog says:

    I’d so quickly trade all flying for $2/gal gas! Who cares if it would take longer to get there.

  43. Traveshamockery says:

    @mhedgesjr: So, like most tobacco users, you really don’t care so much about the “rules”. Is that what you were trying to justify in that post?

    After playing baseball for many years and being around the stuff all the time, it’s just disgusting. And unless you chew/dip the unscented stuff, the people next to you can smell it just fine.

  44. jdmba says:

    No one should be surprised about any activity people undertake with regard to their kids and babies. After all, THEIR baby is special.

    I am not at all surprised that a parent would hand a diaper to a flight attendant or stick it in a seat back.

    In the case of babies people DO bring them into movie theatres (the heck with everyone elses viewing experience), into nice restaurants (the heck with everyone elses dining experience), and get morally outraged if they can’t breastfeed in public. Why do you expect any behaviour other than absolute ‘it is all about me’ from them on an airplane?

  45. AcidReign says:

        I’ve changed an infant diaper in an airline seat. There wasn’t much choice. The Southwest flight from the east coast to Oakland landed four times, and in flight, the seat belt sign would only go off for 10 minutes. Half of the people in line for the restroom wouldn’t even get to go, before they were herded back to their seats.

        My daughter was about a year old, and every time the plane took off, her ears would hurt, she’d scream, and blow a huge wad of extremely smelly diarrhea into her diaper. Now, we could have let her scream, and allowed the front half of the plane to smell like sulfur, for the entire trip. But no, each take off, we cleaned her up, which silenced the screams, we deposited the diaper in the airsickness bag, and sealed it up. Viola, only a few moments of unpleasantness, rather than spending hours and hours listening to a child scream, with microscopic bits of turd tickling your nose hairs.

  46. AcidReign says:

        And no, we didn’t stuff the full bag o dirty diapers under the seat.

  47. scienceclub says:

    To anyone who is shocked by babies being changed in the open cabin, I invite them to try changing a baby in the airplane restroom.
    Taking a baby on a flight is about as tricky as changing out the transmission on a Fiero.

  48. katylostherart says:

    if you’re a pig in public, generally you’re worse in private. i would not under any circumstances want to get near the people that do things like that.

    the chaw is extra gross. not only is that a habit that requires spitting as an integral part of it, leaving a cup of your spit and partially broken down chewing tobacco in a public area is about as disgusting as vomiting into something and leaving that there.

    @jdmba: considerate parents give their kids baby benadryl before flights and don’t take them to the movies. it depends what you define as a “nice” restaurant. i’ve never seen a baby in a restaurant that wasn’t designated as a family dining establishment. outback, applebees, chillis, all those places and those like them have kids menus and therefore expect kids to be there.

    breastfeeding in public should be allowed. the actual point of mammary tissue is to produce milk and feed offspring. it’s not comparable to bringing a baby to a movie theater or handing a dirty diaper to a flight attendant.

  49. irid3sc3nt says:

    I entirely agree. Oftentimes I’ve thought, “Now I see why the villains turned into villains. Are they so wrong about society?”@

    Agreed. I sat behind this guy on the plane who must not have taken a shower for a week. It was so bad, I took my breath freshener spray and rubbed it under my nose. Oh and then he took off his hat and proceeded to scratch carefully at his head for ten minutes.
    People should be screened for that. A smell-o-meter would be nice.

  50. irid3sc3nt says:

    outback? chillis? applebees?
    those are “nice” restaurants to you?


  51. djanes1 says:

    Above posters are right that these disgusting acts are not protests
    towards poor service … these acts are the logical nadir of the
    commoditization of air travel. With fares and service quality so low,
    planes are the buses of today. After years of passengers simply buying
    the lowest priced ticket possible (myself included) this is the bed
    that is made. Diaper changing, credit card pitches, seat bumpings, etc.
    And to the above posters who chew tobacco and change diapers in seats,
    but you know, its cool because they were totally discreet about it and
    stuff … you are still disgusting. Discreetness does not make a
    disgusting, public act acceptable.

  52. aphexbr says:

    @buzzybee: “No, not really. I don’t think it’s my responsibility to carry trash off the plane when I’m paying someone to do it for me.”

    There’s trash, then there’s the things described above. Empty candy wrappers? Fine. Used drink containers, scrap paper, etc.? Fine. Spittoons full of used tobacco and dirty diapers? Not so much.

    Besides, in order to maximise profits a lot of flights nowadays operate on razor-thin turnaround times. Next time your flight is delayed, think about this – maybe it was the asswipe on the flight before you who caused it by leaving crap that took an extra 10 minutes to clean, causing the flight to lose its takeoff window.

  53. katylostherart says:

    @irid3sc3nt: if you’d read it i said “it depends what you define as”.

    to the average american those ARE the “nice” restaurants. the actual “nice” don’t even allow children under a certain age in a lot of cases.

  54. SomeoneElseNotMe says:

    @ buzzybee at 10:31 AM

    Seriously, dude. Trash is a crumpled pretzel bag, your used drink glass, an old magazine, etc. No, it’s not the attendant’s duty to take it, but they’ll do it.

    A diaper isn’t trash. It’s a plastic wrapper full of sh*t. Would you want a total stranger to hand that to YOU?

  55. Geekybiker says:

    I got in a airline seat once and found a dirty diaper in the seat pocket. That’s unspeakably gross. I don’t really care the excuse. Cleaning feces and urine should not be done where people are going to have to sit confined for hours on end.

  56. Erskine says:

    Face it – the airline industry has turned itself into the flying bus industry. The glamour is gone, the standards are no longer enforced – it’s all about maximizing the benjamins.

    I remember, as a kid, having to dress like I was going to church to go to the airport.

    Now, not so much…

    Let’s hear a shout out to the lowest common denominator!

  57. Large says:

    I used to work for an airline and the absolute worst thing people would leave in seat back pockets were used syringes. Diapers are unsanitary and just plain gross, but think about all the health risks that syringes open up. And what’s worse, there were routes that were more predisposed to this kind of behavior.

  58. Erskine says:

    @Large: ATL?

  59. ingenieur says:

    I believe that such behavior comes from a deep-seated psychological urge to resist subjection, & when resistance is infeasible, to strike back. It’s why most people drive aggressively, litter, talk during the movie, take 2 parking spaces, blast that big booty bass, etc. The mentality is like this: I paid $500 for this flight, I can do what I want, f**k the airline industry; I paid $8 for this movie, I do what I want; I have to sit in rush hour traffic, I’ll drive how I want. The thing is, if we collectively stopped this behavior, things would be much better, & we wouldn’t feel the urge. Instead, it’s a feedback loop, & bad behavior breeds bad behavior.

  60. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    There was a premium only airline.
    It was MGM Grand Air.
    Flew only between LA & NYC.
    It’s out of business, not enough people wanted to pay for it.

  61. littlemoose says:

    I think this article needs a “Bad Consumer” tag.

  62. backbroken says:

    Another tragedy of the commons. Can’t escape it.

  63. boxjockey68 says:

    Only a person with some form of mental retardation would arbitrarily give their kids baby benadryl when it is not need for an illness.

  64. katylostherart says:

    @boxjockey68: for thousands of years people have been giving kids little nips of alcohol in bottles without any longlasting ill side effects. or another recommendation has been drink a glass of wine and then breastfeed the child. it’s just enough to make them drowsy, not enough to hurt them. benedryl is also not really for illness it’s for allergic reactions. it’s not the same as arbitrarily handing out antibiotics for viral infections. it doesn’t treat illnesses it alleviates symptoms. giving a kid a dose of benedryl doesn’t make the kid’s immune system weaker and doesn’t contribute to antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.

  65. legotech says:

    @unklegwar: Heh, I agree…where I work we have two buildings, one is largely populated by around 200 18-25 year old video game testers, the other, around 200 executives, producers, sales, marketing etc….guess which building causes more problems…..

  66. bohemian says:

    These people were born in a barn and raised by wolves.

  67. I just came back from home in the UK to NYC via BA. Right when our ‘meal’ came (which if you call fish pie consisting of a tin of Whiskas with a Stove-Top Stuffing top a ‘meal’) this woman decided to change the nappies of her no-longer-breast-feeding child in the row next to me, instead of going into the bog where they actually have changing tables. The scent story was sheer hell.

  68. quail says:

    Hmm, when did airlines become the Greyhound Buses of the skies? I’ll conjecture that if someone did their NY Times research they’d find articles going back to the 1960’s at least complaining about the rude manners of air travelers. It’s just that today it’s more prevalent.

  69. redsonia7 says:

    Granted, changing a dirty diaper in the cabin is gross, but where else is a parent supposed to do it? I don’t even have children but I can’t imagine trying to change a diaper in a cramped airplane bathroom. What, are you supposed to put the baby in the sink?

  70. katylostherart says:

    @redsonia7: i saw a woman change a diaper on a table at a mall foodcourt once. i guess you could put the lid down on the toilet seat and try to change the baby back there. there’s more room in the bathrooms than there is in your lap really.

    i haven’t flown in a while and didn’t think to check but are there handicap accessible bathrooms on planes? if there’s enough room for a wheelchair there’s enough room for a baby. now i’m really wondering if there are, because i mean, if you have the capability to put a wheel chair on the plane (and i’ve seen those) wouldn’t you have to provide adequate facilities beyond that?

  71. smoothtom says:

    Having children involves sacrifice. Maybe one of those sacrifices should be leaving the little shit-factories at home, or at least off the airplane, until they can control when they crap.

    And since I’m going to get flamed for that statement, I’ll continue. One positive consequence of the increasing inaffordability of air travel is that the riff raff who does this kinds of things will be priced out of air travel.

  72. richcreamerybutter says:

    Dirty diaper incidents make me want to scream, “IT DOES NOT TAKE A VILLAGE!”

    Recently, I was on a flight and heard a “tick…tick” in front of me. I peered through the middle of the seats, and to my horror the older lady in front of me was clipping her nails! It was as if the E train suddenly sprouted wings.

    @mhedgesjr: Dude. You may be polite, but perhaps you don’t realize the rest of us can smell this. If I was next to you and was at all aware you were doing such a thing, I’d probably vomit…in your lap.

  73. snoop-blog says:

    @irid3sc3nt: So do you have to be rich to be smug? I wonder what that feels like. Let me ask, do you only consider 5 star restaurants to be nice? remember serendiptiy(sp)? Yeah how classy can a place infested with roaches be? I’d rather eat at a whole in the wall waffle house anyday. And for those born with silver spoons up your asses, you don’t know what you are missing.

  74. clank-o-tron says:

    @legotech: As a former tester myself, I can vouch for things like this. _I_ was always showered, but then again, I also clean up after myself on planes.

    There should be a ‘middle class’ in airlines that has the same cost as coach but is only available to well-behaved frequent travelers. I’d go out of my way to fly on an airline that did that.

  75. rawsteak says:

    people react most to 2 things: grades and penalties. therefore, i propose each passenger gets graded and penalized according to the way they treat their airline seat. and it wouldn’t be public. the stewardess would just walk around, and if she finds dirty tissues/used diapers/melted chocolate/etc., you get a bad grade and your next airline ticket will be a little more expensive. sure there are other rules that have to be in place, but that’s just an idea.

    Maybe this is just a JetBlue “exclusive,” but after they hand out food, and before they land, the ladies come around with trash bags and ask you for your trash, and if you don’t have the decency to throw your trash away, then you need to be taught a lesson.

  76. Javert says:

    @buzzybee: No. You are paying for getting from point a to point b. You are not paying for the right to be a slob.

  77. seamer says:

    Oh you poor people having to deal with a baby’s nappy being changed in front of you. Poor things.

    Bet you complain about breast feeding, and the fact babys are just terrible with English too. :)

    /you were all babies once, dollars to donuts you were exposed publically like this

  78. Erskine says:


    You owe me a dollar and a doughnut.

  79. dalasv says:

    On a PDX to LGA flight, I had to ask the young German couple next to me to stop making out. What are people thinking?

  80. P_Smith says:


    As well as withholding business, waste their time and money. The next time you’re at the airport, get their managers out to “address problems” of your own invention. Or, call the company’s 1-800 repeatedly from a phone booth. Take up the time they are supposed to be doing other things to generate revenue and prevent it.

    Then when you’ve finished, let them know their lousy service is why you’ve taken up their time and made them lose money. This does not apply, however, to check in lines at the airport, since you would be inconveniencing other customers – do it only with their management.

  81. woohhaa says:

    I puked on a flight or two before. I always made it in the bag but I always felt really bad for the suckers sitting next to me.

  82. impetus says:

    I was on a flight once where the asshole next to me pulled both a large liquor bottle and porn mag out of his carry-on bag. Yes, this was post-911.

  83. richcreamerybutter says:

    @seamer: As a matter of fact, many people who support public breastfeeding and proper changing facilities (like myself) just don’t feel the need to be exposed to the olfactory experience of proximal poo in close quarters (it’s not as if I can escape). You might be desensitized to the smell, but I’m not.

    This applies to other behavior as well…for instance, if the people on the third floor in my building had simply asked whether it was ok to keep their open stroller in the narrow hallway between my apartment and the front door, I would have said, “of course!” But, they didn’t.

    I realize parenting is tough, and know there are occasional emergencies or times in which you are so tired you may not realize you have left the next passenger a “surprise” in the front seat pocket. However, I’d say about 45% of parents engage in obliviously rude behavior, as if the world needs to stop for them and their precious spawn.

    Additionally, 10% of that 45% are fully aware, and don’t give two shits about the rest of us.

  84. MrMold says:

    The airline staff isn’t there to pick up after your entitled @ass. They are there to shove your corpulent @ss out in an emergency while you are whining about the lack of slaves to pick up after you.

    If the kid can’t behave, it shouldn’t be there. Even at DisneyWorld.

    I work retail and I’m never going to be paid enough to pick up after you. Many’s the time that a customer wants me to throw away their trash. No speeek Eenglish. I’d rather tell you to go f**k yourself but I respect my co-workers (who’d have to deal with your whine) too much to subject them to listening to your stoopid

  85. chrisjames says:

    @seamer: So you would be okay if I dropped my pants and put my ass in your face? Is that okay on a crowded flight? What if I crapped on my tray table and started playing with the poop? I would build a poop castle just for you.

  86. Asvetic says:

    @apotheosis: It’s amazing what a good ol’ fashion BOYCOTT could do for this country. A shame people are too afraid to “give it up”!

  87. windycity says:

    I don’t have a kid, but my sister does. The changing tables in most (all?) airline bathrooms have a 25 pound weight limit. I’m fairly certain (although those of you with children are free to correct me) that most two year olds not only exceed that weight limit but have not yet been been potty trained, and parents don’t have much choice but to change the diapers in the seats. What are they going to do with their babies – lay them down on the nasty bathroom floor? At which point there is now no room for the adult to stand, much less bend over or squat down and change a diaper.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no more in favor of having a stinky diaper changed in front of me than the next guy, but what’s a parent with a child who weighs more than 25 pounds and is not yet potty trained to do?

  88. Kajj says:

    @katylostherart: It’s appalling of you to suggest that to be considerate a parent must drug their children and knock them out. And if you think a sleeping child means no dirty diapers, you’ve never met a baby.

  89. Kajj says:

    @katylostherart: That’s not even a little bit true. Where on earth do you live? I have plenty of memories of eating in white-tablecloth restaurants when I was a small child, along with a few memories of being whisked out of there like the building was burning when I acted up.

  90. IconoclasticFlow says:

    You could use plastic wire ties to strap the seat belt ends together – wastes the airline’s time removing them, nondestructive, and it doesn’t leave anything for the next flier to sit in.

    Assuming your wire ties aren’t confiscated by security on the way in.

  91. Kajj says:

    @katylostherart: What is wrong with people here? It’s not ok to drug your children!

    God, I just noticed I’ve been replying to the same person every time. Congratulations, winner of the prestigous Consumerist “Screw everyone who’s not me award.” Believe me, the competition was fierce.

  92. Lambasted says:

    People are filthy beasts. I don’t use airline blankets and pillows anymore because I’ve seen one too many people wiping their noses on blankets, sneezing and coughing into them,and wiping their dirty hands on them. And god forbid if someone who has lice uses a pillow before me.

    I dress warmly in layers and never wear shorts or skirts to avoid needing a blanket. And I bring my own travel pillow for long flights.

    I also turn down hotel bedspreads and blankets because I saw a news report that said hotels generally only wash them once a month. When I think of all the nasty body fluids that accumulate over the span of a month…yuck. I don’t want them touching any exposed part of my body.

  93. Lambasted says:

    Traveling on an airplane with babies would put the fear of god in my heart. I don’t know how people do it. Between carrying all that extra crap through the airport (the supplies not the kids), worrying about them crying on the flight, finding somewhere to feed (assuming breastfeeding) and change them, it’s seems like a nightmare. I tip my hat to those who do it.

    I am all for the Benedryl drugging. A crying baby is too much stress on everybody and clearly the baby isn’t happy either. My friend’s sister flies back and forth to Europe on a monthly basis and won’t fly without knocking her baby out first.

  94. Rachael823 says:

    What people think is acceptable behavior in public (on a plane, wherever) is absolutely revolting. I wasn’t a germaphobe before I started reading Consumerist, but the things I’ve read on here about hotels, planes, restaurants… I’m an avid antibacterial hand lotion user now!

  95. windycitygirl68 says:

    I once sat next to a toddler and mother on a Southwest flight. The little guy was forced to tinkle in his Mom’s empty coffee cup. She promptly put the lid on the offensive liquid and called the attendant over for trash, who was only more than happy to unknowingly dispose of the little cutie’s waste. I’m a mother of young children, and this was just more than I could handle. I couldn’t complain to the airline – we asked for the masses to be able to afford airline travel, and now the masses can afford it, and they treat it like their former Greyhound bus, as other readers have noted. In our society of instant gratification, we simply don’t have time or can’t be bothered to deal with the messes we make.

  96. johnva says:

    @Kajj: Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing what she’s talking about. It’s not harmful, and the baby (not to mention the other passengers) is going to be a lot happier if they can sleep.

  97. Major-General says:

    @TVGenius: I’ll remember that the next time

  98. Major-General says:

    I’ll remember that the next time I have to go to Oklahoma from LA

    (sorry about the double post, it submitted midway through writing.)

  99. Geekybiker says:

    @seamer: Its not merely the sight or smell of a diaper being changed. Its the idea of leaked fluids and feces being deposited on the seats and tray. Seats and tray that are rarely ever cleaned, let along cleaned to remove something like that. How would you feel if you sat in a pool of diarrhea seepage? These are functions that need to take place in an appropriate location- not a seat.

  100. Lambasted says:

    What’s with all these lazy people handing their nasty garbage to the flight attendant to throw away?!! A lunch tray and empty cup is one thing but soiled diapers and cups of urine?!! That’s just vile.

    And wait a minute, you mean people are changing diapers in their seats and then handing the dirty diaper to the attendant to throw away?!! Who are these people and where do they come from? Please don’t tell me they are folding down the food tray to put the baby on. If I witnessed that I would ask for an immediate seat change.

    At the very least, go to the back and lay the baby down on the floor on a changing pad. That’s the purpose of a changing pad–to provide a comfortable and sanitary place to lay your baby down to change him. There should never be any whining about there’s no place to change my baby. Be it on a changing table, on the floor or on the hood of a car, if you have a changing pad, you’ve always got a spot to change your baby.

    Any parent who leaves home without a changing pad and pad liners (a must to to keep the pad clean and sanitary) ought to be arrested.

  101. joellevand says:

    @snoop-blog: Sadly, I can’t get to my family in England in a car.

  102. joellevand says:

    @seamer: It’s not the act of changing a child or even possibly witnessing baby bits briefly — it’s the fact that human waste is still considered a biohazard in most places and the public should not be exposed to it. Bathrooms are the appropriate place for all forms of toileting, regardless of whether you use said toilet or not.

    As opposed to feeding, which is not appropriate in a place where human waste belongs, obviously.

  103. Lambasted says:

    oh and another thing. All you parents who change your baby in your seats means you aren’t washing your hands after wiping the caaca from your babies behinds. I don’t know about you heathens but where I come from, it is customary to wash hands after dealing with feces and urine, regardless of whether it’s your own or your babies.

    It’s no wonder babies are sick all the time. Nasty parents are not washing their hands after changing them and then touching their babies with their soiled hands, including putting their nasty fingers in their babies mouths.

    Next time you see a baby sucking on his momma’s finger just know it probably has traces of fecal matter on it.

    I want to vomit now.

  104. forgottenpassword says:

    Well, you have to admit that passengers are often treated like crap these days during the whole airport experience/flying experience. Getting nickel & dimed with fees, incompetant TSA workers who seem to delight in screwing with you, flight delays, getting stuck on the tarmac for hours, surly flight attendants etc. etc..

    The whole airport/flying experience is a miserable one these days….. and if the worse things that happen on flights are dirty diapers, melted chocolate bars, & chaw “spit-cups” being left on board….. then I’d say you’re pretty damn lucky!

  105. bohemian says:

    I blame all of this on the tinkler.


    There has to be a pysch profile for these people.

  106. forgottenpassword says:

    lets not forget that IF you dare to complain on an airplane…. you could get threatened with “interference with a flight crew” & dragged off the plane in handcuffs. Until people arent treated like shit in the airport & on the plane …. expect airline passengers to fight back in small little ways they think they can get away with.

  107. VikingP77 says:

    I work in a really nice office building…vintage even! Anyways our ladies room is clearly not that! When I went to use the toilet last Saturday it looked like someone on the rag had smeared their dirty pad all over the seat. I mean LADIES come on! Then there were drops of blood all over the floor. Usually its the bathrooms at places like Chuckie Cheese that are the worst but now its anywhere and anywhere. Wal-Marts bathrooms are horrible as well.
    I remember back in they day being told stories about Italy and how they had holes in the floor to squat over and how dirty the restrooms were etc…etc….
    Well I never saw blood all over a toilet over there!
    Get with it Americans…have some consideration for other people!

  108. MikeGrenade says:

    This discussion should have ended with aphexbr‘s comment. The shit you leave on planes translates directly into longer turnarounds. PERIOD.

  109. bohemian says:

    @katylostherart: Changing a dirty diaper IN a foodcourt should be a capital offence.

  110. hatrack says:


    Last I heard the primary function of an airline is to fly you from point a to point b safely. Other amenities are a bonus. Don’t remember the last time I walked into a 4 start restaurant and came out in a different city.

  111. @katylostherart: Thank you for bringing some common snese and sanity to the thread.

  112. @joellevand: Bathrooms are the appropriate place for all forms of toileting, regardless of whether you use said toilet or not.

    Oh gawd. That might be the funniest line in this whole thread.

  113. forgottenpassword says:


    That’s probably because a lot of women have some wierd hangups about actually sitting on a public toilet seat. Even a clean one. So a lot of women squat/hover over the toilet & hope their aim is true. You’d probably be suprised to know that women’s restrooms are more likely to have ass-gaskets than men’s restrooms.

    I personally have no problem sitting on a public toilet seat as long as it looks clean (no obvious piss puddles or shit smears). You cant be a germaphobe when you use a public restroom. Germs are everywhere and (nearly all are harmless)… except it.

  114. DeltaPurser says:

    OH, don’t even get me started on this subject! The stories I could tell… I had a passenger actually throw up in my hair while I was seated in the jumpseat for landing. He felt ill and decided to make a run for the john just as we were landing and as the plane jerked due to some serious wind sheer, he got tossed around a little and, as a result, ended up losing it in my hair… Thank GOD it was at the end of a trip so I could take a shower right away!

  115. forgottenpassword says:


    aw come on! Its not like he sought you out & aimed at your hair on purpose!

    We are talking about people who are either oblivious to how they effect others, simply dont care or did disgusting things on purpose to get back at the airlines. Not people that had good intentions (trying to get to the bathroom to barf) & then just screwed up.

  116. itonix says:

    When did being a germopobe become cool ? We have survived thousands of years with antisanitary conditions so some kid being changed in a seat before you will not kill you. The scary stuff will come from some 1st class business man sneezing on return flight from Southern China. Till that time just have another boody mary and think about the fact that being exposed to germs strengthens your immune system.

  117. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    “Putting a melting chocolate bar in a seatback is a way of punishing the airline for shoddy treatment,” said Robert Bor, a clinical aviation psychologist in London.”

    That reminds me of a co-worker I had in college (let’s call him Dave). We both worked for this little pizza shop and the owners were dicks. One day, Dave had had enough and right before the Friday supper rush, he just up and left. When I saw him later at a bar I asked him what was up with him leaving. His response was “I wanted to stick it to the boss”. I said that the boss didn’t seem to care and just started looking through this big stack of resumes for a replacement (whome he proceeded to call and they started the next day). Dave didn’t screw over the boss. All he did was screw over his co-workers since we had to make up for him leaving.

  118. forgottenpassword says:


    I’m more concerned with being forced to smell baby-poo for the rest of my flight than being exposed to baby-poo-germs.

    And yes… I am one of those “I hate your obnoxious children” types. *shrug*

  119. AcidReign says:

        There’s an increasing trend on the cheap airlines (Southwest, United Express, etc.) towards keeping you in your seat the entire flight. No getting up. Baby poos, you’re stuck in your seat. That’s when you pull out the hand santizer, clean up, roll out a changing pad in your lap, and do the diaper change. The tray’s going to be too flimsy, anyway. All detritus from the change goes in the airsickness bag. It’s designed to hold vomit, a bio-hazardous substance, right? Sanitize hands again, and inhale the fumes the rest of the flight. Hand sanitizer actually smells slightly less offensive than baby poo.

        The worst job I ever had was my first: dishwasher/busboy at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. No, cleaning up tables and washing dishes wasn’t the problem. We had to clean the restrooms at the end of the shift. OMFG! In the men’s room, you MIGHT have to sweep up a few cigarette ashes. There’d be almost nothing in the trash can. The Ladies Room…

  120. johnva says:

    @itonix: Not liking people to change a stinky diaper inches away from you is not being a “germophobe”.

  121. overbysara says:

    while we’re on the topic… could all the young women in the audience PLEASE STOP WEARING YOUR PAJAMAS ON THE PLANE. now… a comfy outfit I can understand. but the full blown pajama pants, oversized t-shirt, and house shoes has got to go.

    you are out in public people.

  122. milw123 says:

    Jesus Christ Almighty, Is this child-haters day on Consumerist? My wife and 18 month old daughter flew from MKE to LAX recently and both of them had a ticket. This way, there was enough space for the toddler stuff-like diaper bag, snacks, and what have you. My wife changed my daughter multiple times on the ground before the flight to attempt to “clean her out”. Something about a fresh diaper that makes my daughter want to “go”. They did the flight without incident. You freaks need to lighten up.

  123. johnva says:

    @milw123: Again, not wanting someone to change a stinky diaper inches away from you is not being a “child-hater”. It’s demanding some common courtesy.

  124. backbroken says:

    @dalasv: That’s funny. On a Paris to New York flight, I asked a French couple next to me if they would start making out.

  125. DeltaPurser says:

    @forgottenpassword: I know he didn’t do it on purpose… Nonetheless, that didn’t make it less disgusting. I guess I was off topic :-)

  126. Consumer007 says:

    Actually Meg, no we can’t “think of more ways” because the airlines have made it so that just about anything else you do while on the plane to “punish” them is now considered a terrorist act, even complaining.

  127. Consumer007 says:

    @DeltaPurser: Couldn’t happen to a nicer flight attendant ha ha

  128. Consumer007 says:

    @milw123: Actually you’re the freak thinking we should have to listen to your screaming brat kid for the whole flight. Seriously, we need to have child containers in cargo hold like we do for the pets. Secure play room seats with kiddie videos, oxygen, good lighting, and parents can sit down there too. But most importantly sound proofed so the brats can’t ruin the flight for anyone else. Until them I’m pretty much in favor of $5000 fines for parents who don’t / won’t keep their kids quiet when asked during a flight…


  129. Consumer007 says:

    Here’s another creative idea – decibel meters on each seat – kid exceeds the meter for long enough time limit, parents get fine…that makes it objective and fair, don’t you think? :)

  130. johnva says:

    @Consumer007: As annoying as crying babies and such on planes are, at least in that case the parents really may not be able to do much about it. Changing a dirty diaper in the seats, on the other hand, is active disregard, by the parents, for anyone around them.

  131. Poster99 says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:

    I agree that changing a baby in the cabin is not the best place to do so, and on some Airbus planes(at least the ones the Jet Blue flies), they have a changing table that folds down in the bathroom.

    However there are many others that don’t have a flat surface in the bathroom to change a diaper.

  132. johnva says:

    @Poster99: Even doing it in the aisle on the floor somewhere like the back or front of the plane would be preferable in my opinion.

  133. aphexbr says:

    @forgottenpassword: A couple of observations:

    “Getting nickel & dimed with fees, incompetant TSA workers who seem to delight in screwing with you, flight delays, getting stuck on the tarmac for hours, surly flight attendants etc. etc..”

    The TSA has absolutely nothing to do with the airline. Flight delays and fees have absolutely nothing to do with the flight attendants.

    Maybe the reason flight attendants are surly is because by the time you’ve made it onto the plane, you’ve already been through all of that and taking it out on them? God knows, I’d be surly if my day consisted of being handed dirty diapers and being talked down to for hours by people.

    “you could get threatened with “interference with a flight crew” & dragged off the plane in handcuffs”

    Yeah, well flight crews have actually been attacked in recent years. I’m not talking about 9/11 either, there have been incidents over the years of people getting upset or drunk or whatever, and physically assaulting flight attendants. You think it should be OK for them to put up with physical abuse on top of everything else? The rules are there for a reason. yes, they can be abused by overly paranoid staff, but they are not superfluous.

    I’m not saying they couldn’t do more to improve, but this kind of behaviour is extremely low.

  134. cametall says:

    The best is when they leave used syringes in the pockets of the seats.

    Lots of employees get pricked by them and have to go through months of HIV and STD testing.

    My father works for American Airlines.

  135. DonShaw says:

    Its really easy to tell the once a summer flyer from those of us that have to fly weekly. The Florida bound male tourist sitting next to me decides his toes in his rubber tire thongs need clipping. Aside from looking like he just got up out of bed and went to catch his flight, he had his white wife beater shirt on. As if all this isn’t bad enough, he call the flight attentant repeatedly a “stewardess”. Flying has become the armpit of travel!

  136. shortcake says:

    @johnva: Ah, I thought that was the case last night. Kid screamed and shrieked for well over an hour. Flight attendents were visibly pissed and complained to the other passengers that the parents refused to do anything, even after the flight attendants asked them to. They didn’t give the kid anything, attempt to quiet him or walk him around. Nothing. I cut them a little slack thinking it was a baby. Nope, it was a freaking toddler. That is totally unacceptable and it’s people like that that give all the other parents and babies a bad rep.

  137. SardonicMom says:

    Yes, flying with kids sucks (especially if you’re trying really hard not to be one of *those* parents), and people do gross things. In defense of diaper changers, though, this is 95% the airlines’ fault. Not only do they want you in your seat all the time, but many, many planes – including transcontinentals – have no changing table whatsoever, and the bathroom floor is so small that srsly, I can’t fit a kid and my feet down there (even if I wanted to after Elderly McShakyhands has watered the floor – hell no, I’m not putting my nice changing pad down there). I now ask (loudly) which bathroom has the changing table and, if there isn’t one, where I’m supposed to change the kid. (Answer, invariably: at my seat. But hey, I’m not the one who thinks that’s appropriate.)

    BTW, I’ve also been told (when trying to walk a restive toddler) to get back to my seat and stay there because the galley was “filthy and dangerous” and “no place for a child”. Gosh, NWA, thanks – that made for an easy flight!

    And oh, hey – Benadryl pushers? Why drug some kid when you could drug yourself? Have a drink and go to sleep – it’s like time travel! Or better yet, spring for the Bose headphones and actually hear your iPod.

  138. DeltaPurser says:

    @Consumer007: Aaaaaaaaahhhhh… that’s kinda’ sweet :-) Make sure to give me the secret “Consumerist Handshake” next time you’re on a DL flight and I’ll upgrade you if there’s space :-)

  139. Hamtronix says:

    a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing workers at several big airlines. “It’s amazing how people treat the inside of aircraft cabins as opposed to other public spaces.”

    Except it is NOT a public space. It is a higly private space since one must pay for it.

  140. angiers says:

    As a student I worked in a 24 hour computer lab as tech support and monitor, and I’ve had my fair(or unfair) share of nasty bodily fluid clean up stories. A few lab patrons were fond of leaving chewing tobacco spit in pop bottles under the desks, and we even once found a bottle of urine. The one thing I’ve learned from that job are some people are vile and gross no matter their setting be it on an airline or in a computer lab.