Top 12 Most Annoying Things About Air Travel

Our cousins by marriage over at Consumer Reports recently published the results of a survey where air travelers were asked to rate, on a scale of 1-10, those aspects of air travel that most get under their skin.

Not surprisingly, the two top spots on CR’s list — luggage charges and added fees — involve customers having to pay extra money.

Three items on the list involve other passengers, while only two deal with airline customer service or lack thereof.

Without further ado, here’s the list of the Dirty Dozen (numbers in parentheses indicate that particular gripe’s average rating on the 1-10 scale):
1. Luggage charges (8.4)
2. Added fees (8.1)
3. Rude or unhelpful staff (7.7)
4. Can’t reach a live service rep (7.6)
5. Poor communication about delays (7.1)
6. Seatmates who hog your space (7.0)
7. Flight delays (6.8)
8. People who hog carry-on space (6.7)
9. Long waits at baggage claim (5.9)
10. Long lines for security or check-in (5.2)
11. Puny/no snacks (5.1)
12. Crying babies, unruly kids (4.9)

What annoys travelers most [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    Nothing shuts up a crying baby like locking eyes with an angry stranger with a face full of murder.

    • Blinkman987 says:

      Actually, it doesn’t help with most people. Consider that the people with poorly behaved children can do little about it, either because it’s an infant or the child is poorly disciplined. Then add in some entitlement by the parent and the fact that you literally cannot murder them.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I agree. I can probably whip out a glare that would freeze hell, but it won’t do a thing to parents who don’t particularly care their kids are bothering the entire plane and whose precious snowflakes are running amok in the cabin. Those people are like humanity’s kryptonite.

      • SissyOPinion says:

        I bet I literally can murder them if I chose to.

    • It'sRexManningDay! says:

      You know the discomfort you feel in your ears when the cabin pressure changes? Well, small babies experience that as real pain, and they have no other way to express pain but to cry. So if the “unruly child” happens to be an infant during takeoff (or worse, landing) please give the parents the benefit of the doubt. The child is most likely genuinely hurting.

      Children running all over the cabin bothering other passengers and being obnoxious brats is entirely another story.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I posted about this downthread. My problem isn’t that babies who can’t help themselves cry – I get it. What bothers me is that a lot of parents feel that everyone else can accommodate their experience. Changing cabin pressure is something that can be expected – there are always people who just don’t bother to figure out how to avoid some of this discomfort, for the sake of the kid and everyone else.

        • It'sRexManningDay! says:

          OK, but shooting a death stare at every parent with a crying baby (as implied above in the OP) is not going to help. Especially if the crying didn’t start until descent. If that happens, you can be pretty well-assured it’s due to pain. Pick your battles!

        • thedude says:

          I concur – I have traveled extensively with my kids, including internationally and have always made an effort to anticipate issues – avoiding cabin pressure problems by giving them a bottle or snack during takeoff/landing; bringing ample entertainment (books, small noiseless toys and DVDs); trying to schedule plane/train trips during their normal naptime and just generally paying attention to the kids. It pains me when I see other parents who do nothing and wonder why their kids are in pain/bored/unruly.

          Oh, and as a Texan, +1 for your handle

          • NumberSix says:

            And when they still cry, what then hot shot? What then?? Sometimes there just isn’t anything you can do.

            • dg says:

              Then you TELL them to shut up. If the parent starts up – then you ask them if they’re the controlling adult. If they say yes – then your answer is “Well, you’re doing a lousy job. Quiet the kid down already. Enough.”

              • mizmoose says:

                Seriously? You “TELL” an infant to shut up?

                Next time you’re next to a 6 month old baby and it starts to cry, try saying, “SHUT UP!” to it.

                Good luck with that. Let us know how it works.

      • Vivienne says:

        Well them maybe mummy and daddy should care enough about their wittow baby precious to not put the damn thing in a place where it is going to experience “real pain.”


      • Salty Johnson says:

        So why again should I give parents the benefit of the doubt? It seems like you said that the reason the kids are crying is that their parents bring them on a plane where they experience real pain from pressure changes. So now I’m not going to be staring the parents down because the crying baby is an annoying pain in my ass, but because they are causing pain to their baby AND the baby is an annoying pain in my ass. That sure throws your argument straight out the window, doesn’t it?

        Please, people, just leave your kids at home or take a train.

      • bdgbill says:

        Like most parents, you don’t get it. We are not mad at the BABY for crying. We are annoyed with YOU for bringing the baby that you knew very well was going to scream for most of the flight on the damn plane. Babies do not need to go anywhere. Tell Grandma to get her old ass on a plane if she wants to to see your Little Miracle so bad.

        • jamar0303 says:

          Haven’t been to China, huh? The younger members of the family go to visit the older ones instead of the other way around. Or you might end up burning bridges. Which is bad. On the plus side it meant an epic load of frequent flyer miles for me (free first class trip to Milan for summer vacation at the end of fifth grade).

        • partofme says:

          Like most assholes, you don’t get it. We are not mad at YOU for crying. We are upset with YOU for being a whiny little bitch who thinks they’re too damn perfect to ever annoy anyone, or have to put up with being in the presence of people. You do not need to go anywhere. Tell your worthless company that your ass is staying home since you can’t function in a society with people of all ages.

      • subtlefrog says:

        So here is what you do – how do you equalize that pressure as an adult? You swallow. On the ascent, you give the infant a bottle. when there are major pressure changes, the baby is then swallowing constantly, equalizing the pressure in its ears. On the descent, bottle time #2 comes around.

        Bonus, after feeding, baby tends to sleep. Now, was that so hard?

      • drrictus says:

        As long as the parents are making attempts to resolve the problem, I’m fine with the crying.

        Parents who can’t be bothered to lift their heads from their books to do their jobs should be chucked out the emergency row.

        (Father of 3)

    • adamczar says:

      I (and my wife, i think) have decided that when we have kids we aren’t going to travel by air until they are older because there’s no stopping the ear pain and no reason to subject everyone else to the cries. We don’t NEED to go anywhere by plane that badly, and if we want to go somewhere we can drive, take the train, etc.

  2. Baelzar says:

    Greyhound or Amtrak. Seriously, take the bus or train.

    Louis CK said it best:

    • bennilynn says:

      The only problem with Greyhound or Amtrak is that they are both very expensive for the service you’re getting and you can expect what would be a two hour flight to turn into a 16-hour bus ride with a 9 hour layover in Podunkville or a 19 hour train ride which goes in six wrong directions before it goes in the right one.

      I just drive.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Let me know when the bus or train go to Europe.

    • YamiNoSenshi says:

      Let me know when I get get from NJ to Seattle in less than a day.

    • Segador says:

      12 Most Annoying Things About Riding on a Bus

      1. I’m on a bus
      2. Jesus, I’m on a bus
      3. God, these people smell
      4. That dude next to me just peed
      5. Takes 10 times as long as flying
      6. The stops all have awesome dining, as long as you like beef jerky
      7. Its effing hot in here
      8. I’m so glad they oversold tickets so I get to sit in the aisle
      9. I’m glad that I took a bus from CO to CA instead of flying, so it takes 90 hours instead of 3
      10. Man, these seats sure are comfy to sleep in
      11. Seriously, WTF am I doing on a bus
      12. I think that dude just robbed and shot the driver

      • s017jrs says:

        You nailed it. I took a bus once. 24 hours from Dayton OH to Buffalo NY and some seriously pungent people sitting somewhere near me was more than enough to get me to play nice with the airlines.

      • dohtem says:

        You forgot the piss-soaked bathrooms with the concentrated smell of piss and pine-sol. I have used the bathroom on a greyhound bus before and let’s just say I’m thankful I stand up to pee.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Oh GOD I rode the bus back from CA to MO and I will NEVER DO IT AGAIN. It was the shits. I’d rather fly, fees and all. Actually, I’d rather hitchhike.

    • redskull says:

      Wow, second post. That didn’t take long.

    • Southern says:

      Departs Houston: 5:10 AM
      Arrives New Orleans: 2:55 PM
      Duration: 9 hours, 45 minutes
      (Distance: ~300 miles)
      Cost: $48

      Departs Houston: 1:45pm
      Arrives New Orleans: 2:45pm
      Duration: 1 Hour
      (Distance: ~300 miles)
      Cost: $93

      While Amtrak IS cheaper, I’m not sure the added 8 hours, 45 minutes are worth $45.

      And from something like Houston to New York? Shortest trip is *51 hours*. on Amtrak, and the cost is only $25 cheaper than SouthWest (Trip takes 6 hours on SouthWest, with one connecting flight).

      While I would love to travel by train, the extra time required to do so (thereby eating into vacation time that can be better spent AT the destination) makes it unworkable, at least for me.

      • BridgetPentheus says:

        What makes this country so screwed up that 95% of the time or more it is cheaper to fly between Newark and DC or take a bus than to take Amtrak (reg Amtrak lowest price trains usually about $200 (I don’t have triple A-no car), plane with carry on about $120 bus $40. Stop screwing the Northeast Amtrak.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      If I have time, I choose Amtrak, simply based on comfort. No TSA to send me into a hulk-like rage and plenty of leg room. I’m not tall at 5’7″, but holy crap, can I get leg cramps on a plane or bus. I’d rather enjoy my travel on a spacious train where I can walk around, view the scenery, and sleep without pain.

      • fs2k2isfun says:

        Don’t worry, the TSA has been trying to get into Amtrak for quite a while. Don’t you know the terrowists could be after you!

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Last week while in Paris I met three new “Aussie” friends that had been travelling the US and they told me of their experience with Greyhound in New Mexico from last month; was left out in the middle of the night outside of Alberqueque with no one to help, no food, no water, and hours to sit and wait for another bus. And the former bus driver said nothing of the long wait in the first place.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      Greyhound or Amtrak. Seriously, take the bus or train.

      From: Portland, OR (PDX)
      To: New York – Penn Station, NY (NYP)

      Shortest trip: 70 hr, 40 min (2.9 days) $248.00
      Shortest Trip: 3d, 4h, 40m $187.00
      <SARCASM>Yes! I think having one day of my week long vacation spent NOT getting to or from my destination is a sweet deal. Sign me up!</SARCASM>

      • jamar0303 says:

        Really, I wonder why America isn’t pouring money into cheap high-speed ground transportation the way China is. Now we’ve got trains that go over 200mph set to cover the main routes in this country, and at least the slower routes are WAY cheaper (sleeper train from Shanghai to Hong Kong takes 20 hours but costs slightly more than US$100 roundtrip in first class sleepers with luggage limited only by compartment space; equivalent plane tickets cost 8x more and have luggage weight limits).

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      Or boat…don’t forget that awesome boat ride that would be required to visit my wife’s family in Taiwan.


      • jamar0303 says:

        Well, going to Taiwan at least you should have a good choice of airlines that don’t screw you over quite the way the US airlines tend to do. While CI isn’t the best in terms of its safety record, you do have loads of other choices.
        (On the other hand, my final destination is Nashville, TN- flying out of Shanghai all non-NA carriers can only take me as far as a large hub before pushing me onto an American or United operated codeshare; the only real foreign competition is Air Canada)

    • Baelzar says:

      You all misunderstand.

      These are your choices. If you can’t handle the awful airlines, then you are stuck with train, bus or boat. Traveling used to take weeks or months.

      Or stay home.

  3. Blinkman987 says:

    I guess if you haven’t flown in the last 2 years, luggage charges are a bother. If you know they exist, well… math is hard?

    #6 – Seatmates who hog your space – is bad enough that it qualifies for all top 10. Well, maybe there’s room for “poor communication about delays.”

    • Preyfar says:

      The endless battle over who gets to have the 2.5″ of armrest space, yeah. =P

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      It’s so horrible that it makes your top ten list ten times, but it’s apparently not horrible enough for you to pay for a wider seat. Boo fucking hoo.

      • Blinkman987 says:

        Actually, I get free upgrades to the bigger seat and the occasional comped first class. Still, this is America– sometimes it’s still not enough. PEOPLE BE EATIN’, MAN! =(

      • Mike says:

        “It’s so horrible that it makes your top ten list ten times, but it’s apparently not horrible enough for you to pay for a wider seat. Boo fucking hoo.”

        So wait, you are suggesting I should buy a more expensive, bigger seat because the person next to me is spilling into mine? Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the person who can’t fit in their OWN seat to buy a bigger seat?

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Yes, I am saying that. You buy the better beer instead of bitching that the cheapest possible beer is swill. You buy the better mattress instead of a secondhand hotel reject so you can sleep better. You buy everything else more expensive in order to increase your pleasure and comfort. Why are you so insistent that you not be required to pay for your desired level of comfort and pleasure in this one particular narrowly defined situation?

          • ShinGetterPoPo says:

            To use your own analogy: Regardless of the quality, I buy myself a beer so that I can drink it, not so the guy next to me can. I buy myself a seat so that I can sit in it, not so that the guy next to me can. I only want what I paid for, nothing more, and definitely nothing less.

  4. Preyfar says:

    #1 Actually flying.

  5. UUMickey says:

    – Being presumed guilty until proven innocent (ie being treated like a criminal) while trying to get through the airport security line.

    – People who just can’t grasp the concept of how to get through a security check point without holding up everyone else.

    And I’d move 12 up a bit on the list.

    • Segador says:

      Cool, when you have kids, I totally expect you to stay at home for 12 years.

      • consumerfan says:

        Because having children means you HAVE to go abroad or they lock you in your home.

    • Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

      Amen. The New Normal here in the USA is pure security theater, engineered strictly to LOOK like government is “doing something.”

      When I recently flew domestically in Australia, nobody asked me for ID, nobody ordered me to take off my shoes, and nobody expected me to throw away my water bottle. It was depressing to realize how less free the USA has become.

      • cromartie says:

        I’ll second this. I was wanded and patted down in India as part of the process of passing through security. Didn’t have to take out electronics, didn’t have to take off my shoes.

  6. defectiveburger says:

    you forgot people who breastfeed their children on planes. Disgusting. Why the fuck do people insist on breastfeeding in public anyway?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’ll admit that I don’t really care to see someone breastfeed in public, but I also mind my own business. If you’re in public and people notice you’re doing this, you’re doing it wrong. Most people are very good about discretion.

      • dcaslin says:

        So here’s a question for the people with baby issues: Would you rather have public breastfeeding or a screaming baby? One of the best things to do to help a baby with takeoff/landing is to give them something to suck on to pop their ears and otherwise occupy their mouth.

    • Marshmelly says:

      Agree with the comment below. As long as they’re being discreet (most mothers usually are) and not making noise I don’t really have a problem with it. Its not like babies know they’re in public when they need to be fed, and plane rides can be long…I’d much rather have the baby fed and quiet than screaming because its hungry lol

    • Blinkman987 says:

      I do not approve of your anti-boob position.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Because babies insist on being hungry in public. Jesus, I want to knock you upside the head.

    • It'sRexManningDay! says:

      Oh my god…is this a joke?
      1. Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby’s health and immunity.
      2. Not breastfeeding (or pumping) can cause the mother extreme discomfort, not to mention result in a crying, hungry baby you will probably also complain about.
      3. Airplane bathrooms are dirty, cramped, and not at all appropriate places for eating food. Would you eat there? Why should a baby be forced to?

      I sincerely hope you forgot your sarcasm tag in your post. Breasts are meant for feeding children.

      • Blinkman987 says:

        I will state that if breast milk gets on my shirt, the woman is paying for the laundering. Other than that, I don’t really care except maybe the “you couldn’t possibly have pumped that at home” passing thought.

        • Firethorn says:

          Two thoughts:

          About ‘pumping at home’ – Are they even allowing milk bottles past security today? I still remember reading about the incident where the TSA agent more or less forced mamma to take a sip of her own milk. While I’m not going to disagree that the agent was an asshat, I also don’t think momma should be squeamish about drinking anything that she’s going to be feeding to her baby.

          Second – I know that women, as well as the baby, are on a more or less synchronized schedule. And it’s not a long one – given a slightly longer than average drive to the airport and showing up early enough to make the airlines and TSA happy, and non-direct flight, I can easily see it being feeding time. The mother’s breasts would be getting towards ‘uncomfortably full’ around the same time.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        I agree. I cannot understand why it bothers a person when a woman breastfeeds. I can only think that they’ve been traumatized and should seek counciling.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          No, in this case it hurts his (it cannot possibly be a woman saying this) precious little squeamish feelings to see a naked boob with a baby’s mouth on it. I suppose he swoons and clutches his pearls whenever he sees a Madonna and Child representation in church.

    • TheSkaAssassin - College Man says:

      nobody ever likes the anti-boobie man

    • defectiveburger says:

      Nowhere did I say I’m anti breastfeeding. I’m well aware of its benefits for children and am pro-breastfeeding.

      I said I’m against having to see people pull their boobs out in public and leak everywhere and see children attached to it.

      It’s called a breast pump. Bottle your effin’ milk and feed them that. You all drink milk from a plastic carton in the store, not straight from the cow’s udder. Same concept.

      • kalaratri says:

        Because we don’t stop lactating just because we’re on the plane. Unless you want women to whip out the breast pump on the plane, which is noisy and a disruption to other passengers, STFU.

      • Firethorn says:

        Is there any particular reason other than your visual comfort that you want mothers to use what I remember to be a couple hundred dollars of equipmennt, less fresh milk, and having to deal with the soreness/whatever of full breasts?

        Like other posters mentioned, just don’t look. For that matter, why are you so disturbed by a natural process anyways? It’s not like it involves piss or shit either.

    • MrEvil says:

      Nothing disgusting about it. Kids’ gotta eat. After all, nursing is what separates mammals from the ones that tend to eat their young.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Don’t look. They’re not doing it for YOU.

    • varro says:

      At least the kid is getting a free meal on the plane. Jealous much?

    • bdgbill says:

      I find this gross as well.

      I see lots of people down below stating that this absolutely cannot be helped. I’m 40 years old and cannot remember ever seeing a woman breastfeed in public until about 2 or 3 years ago and now I see it all the time.

  7. bdcw says:

    Cramped seats.

    • dangermike says:

      Seriously, I can’t think of anything more annoying than the small, decrepit seats and constant knee bruising I have to put up with while flying. I suppose it’s a bit telling that more people want to blame the other passengers (items 6, 8, 9, and 10) than address the root cause of simply having more people on an airplane than there ought to be.

      • Jevia says:

        That and seriously, unless one is super tiny (or a child), the seats are just too small for comfort. I’m not even talking about spillover, just the fact that the seat is “just big enough” to outline my butt, that the person next to me, even if not “overflowing” feels way too close for comfort. And as stated above, you can’t friggin move in the seat to pick something off the floor or god forbid the person in front of you reclines. Serious sardine cans.

    • lihtox says:

      This is the major reason I hate flying. Security has gotten a lot better (in my experience) since 2001, I don’t care so much about the fees because that’s just the cost of flying, and I bring my own food onboard if I need it. But when I have to sit in that tiny little seat, with the adjacent person’s leg pushed up against mine for the whole trip (and they don’t have to be particularly large for that to happen), when I drop something on the floor and can’t reach it without pulling a muscle, when the guy in front of me reclines which makes it impossible for me to use my laptop… I would rather drive 12 hours then put up with any of that.

      #2 on the list would be the lock-in: once you buy your plane ticket, you are stuck with that flight no matter what happens, unless you want to pay an additional $100. That’s too much pressure; I’m not a spontaneous person by nature but I like some flexibility.

      #3 is when you have to wait in the terminal for a delayed plane, and you have no idea when it’s going to board. I’d rather be told that the plane will be leaving an hour late, then to be told it will be leaving “any minute now”; in the former case I can go read a book or something, but in the latter I end up staring at the gate, unable to concentrate on anything except how much I hate them for not telling me when they’re really going to board.

  8. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Sooo… are cousins by marriage fair game, or not? I’ve been trying to get an answer about this for the past few months. Thanks!

  9. MikieJag says:

    Don’t know why the fees and charges top the list it has only come full circle. Everyone wants reduceds fares, well airtravel has not really gotten cheaper, they have just moved the price around.

    Either you pay $99 for the ride, $40 for the bag and $10 for the meal or we should just accept the $149 as the cost to fly.

    This is what happens when everyone looks to the cheapest carrier. Yes the numbers are made up but the method is what matters.

    Personally I would move 9 & 10 further up. Nothing is worse then waiting to check in just to wait to get through security. Which is what has led to flying taking almost as long as driving.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Yes, this is true. The real issue isn’t the price so much but the fact you can’t ever shop for flights. Given that each carrier has a plethora of hidden fees. The solution is to make the advertised price, the actual price. No taxes added, no luggage fees, no security fees, no seating picking fees, no misc. fees they forgot to publish. This is the issue. Just raise the fare and be transparent about it. This is all we want.

      Having griped about that, I’d also like fares to based on the trip and not have to worry about how booked the airplane is: if the seat costs $300 today, it would be great if the seat cost $300 next week and the week after. I know that won’t happen.

  10. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …what about the asshat customers? I fly an awful lot – and it doesn’t take much skill to spot seasoned travelers who know how things work, and won’t get their panties in a bundle every time something doesn’t go exactly perfectly…and the novice and/or asshat travelers who either have no clue about what they’re doing so they panic all the time, or they just generally do their best to make everyone around them miserable.

    I’ve seen people do the meanest, stupidest things to flight attendants et al that just blow my mind…and the nervous novice traveler can really drive you up the wall with their freaked-out sweaty panic they work themselves into.

    Sure, luggage charges suck (hint to airlines: bump yer ticket fees a few bucks if you’re that hard-up), delays suck (may or may not be the airlines’ fault), so on and so forth – so there’s nothing on that list I don’t agree with. But when John Q. Public behaves like a moron to the detriment of all involved, it’s just sad.

    • Blinkman987 says:

      Every study on airline prices show the exact opposite to what you suggest. Customers are incredibly price sensitive, and they will choose the fare that is the lowest on the flight price aggregate. Until people behave differently, the airlines must behave the way that they do in terms of fees, and that’s not even considering the way in which fees are currently taxed as opposed to the ticket itself.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Yes, because people are gullible consumers who can’t be bothered to figure out that a $100 ticket with a $50 baggage fee is a worse deal than a $130 ticket with no baggage fee.

        Marketers market to the lowest common denominator.

    • Blinkman987 says:

      In my previous post, I did forget to agree that the general public is absolutely miserable when it comes to flying. People like to have an illusion of control. When something goes awry, the default reaction seems to be to scream because they can potentially make themselves so unpleasant that an employee will do whatever it takes to pacify them. Unfortunately, this behavior is condoned by most businesses in their general customer service practice. Plus, there’s no real consequence in most transactions for this behavior, so it’s a free-roll.

      When it comes to transportation, it’s a bit different. Some employees have a lot of power to help a customer, and it pleases me on some level when someone is raising a fuss because I know that customer service agent now has less motivation to help them. People can’t fathom that there is a problem where there is no good solution. Often there’s a solution, and sometimes that solution is to take a hotel overnight and fly out in the morning. Airplanes break down unexpectedly, and weather is not an exact science.

      The TL;DR of this is that I completely agree with you about the behavior of casual fliers. The ones that yell and scream are the worst bunch and utter trash.

    • Veeber says:

      Amusing read about types of passengers

    • Clyde Barrow says:


  11. kaptainkk says:

    The whole baby/children should not be allowed on airplanes comments makes me livid! And now here we go again because from the first few comments I can tell they’re coming. All you DINKs and SINKs shut the eff up! It’s so easy to point fingers and give excuses as to why the kid is crying when you have no realization of what it takes to raise a kid. Misbehaved kids on a plane are one thing but a child crying because they are in an unfamiliar environment or their ears are hurting etc. is a totally different situation. Only if your parents’ had believed in abortion… this world would be such a better place!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You misunderstand. I don’t care why the kid is crying – I just want it to stop. I just want the kid’s parents to take it upon themselves to fix the situation. I’m not interested in excuses, I’m interested in solutions. Just because a child is frightened does not give the parent an excuse to not do anything about it. It’s in the best interests of me, the parent, and the kid that the kid is comforted so he or she can STFU. Whose fault is it if a baby cries on a plane because he or she is in pain? Certainly not mine. It’s the parents’ responsibility, and that’s why crying babies and unruly kids bother me so much. It’s not just the noise, it’s the fact that parents often do NOTHING to fix the situation, or they think everyone around them can just “deal with it.”

      • kaptainkk says:

        I have never been on a flight where there was a baby crying and the parent not do anything to comfort the child or help alleviate the crying. What kind of parents just lets their baby cry and expects others to deal with it?! As a parent, I do everything I can to make sure my children are not a nuisance to others when we are in a public forum.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          Me either. When I went to visit the “friend” in March, a couple with a young girl and a baby boy sat in front of me, and they were very attentive and had tons of distractions for the kids. The little one was prone to drop/toss toys, sunglasses, book and other things on the floor, which I picked up as they rolled by me and handed back to the mother. She thanked me nicely each time. I wanted to video them and post it somewhere as a lesson on how to fly with small kids the RIGHT way.

          I didn’t mind picking up the things; they were keeping me entertained, LOL.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        Your comment shows me that you are an egotist with an elevated view of your needs without the ability to use empathy for others around you. You must be quite a treat to live with.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Wait, so I’M an egotist because I think other people should take responsibility for their own children? I have plenty of empathy for people – I get it, kids cry, and people aren’t always going to be able to handle it in the best way. But the kid who was across from me on my latest flight would not stop crying, and what did grandma do? Nothing. Just held the kid as he was crying. Obviously holding wasn’t working, how about we try something else? Nope, just let the poor kid suffer. Kid screamed his head off for half an hour during take off. No pacifiers, no toys, nothing. I don’t feel bad for the parents, I feel bad for the kid.

          • phonic says:

            I totally agree, I do not have kids yet, but even I know a few tricks to help infants with the change in cabin pressure not to only make them feel better and not cry but to make those having to sit around us happy. It is called responsibly parenting. More people should try it.

          • partofme says:

            …and what do you do after you DO try everything, and the baby still cries? Come back after you’ve had a kid, tried every trick in your “top 100 ways to quiet a baby”, and had the baby still bawls its head off. Oh, and just in case you didn’t realize, babies don’t give you any advice on which one of the 100 things will work, if any. You don’t think most parents also “just want it to stop” and have spent the entirety of their life since having a child trying to cause exactly that? You’ve had to deal with a baby crying for a couple of hours. They’ve had to deal with a baby crying for months. They’re inherently more qualified than you… even if some of them are stupid.

            • phonic says:

              I work retail, most of my customers do not care if their kid is screaming its head off. If they don’t care in a store, what makes you think they will care on a plane? I at least give credit to the parent who tried to quiet their child, but majority do not care.

              • partofme says:

                Regardless, stupid people with babies is a strict subset of stupid people. Regardless of how big the set of stupid people is. We don’t need a category for stupid people with babies. We need a category for stupid people. Because they will find a way to annoy me immensely, with or without baby in hand. Furthermore, the correlation between being in the set of stupid people and annoying me is much higher than the correlation between being in the set of parents and annoying me… precisely because the set of parents includes those who are stupid AND those who are not. Whereas the set of stupid people only contains those who are…. stupid.

            • bdgbill says:

              Where are you going that you think it’s important enough to put 100+ people through 4 hours of misery to get there? Hopefully it’s for life saving cancer treatment because if your taking little Brittany to see Grandma, you are a selfish douche.

              • partofme says:

                I don’t have a child… though you probably whine like one on a plane. Maybe I can take you with me next time I fly. I’ll beat you proper.

      • Scoobatz says:

        Lumping crying babies into the same category as unruly kids makes you sound like an ignorant, immature adult. God forbid you have children of your own.

      • dg says:

        I agree with you – Shut Your DemonSpawn UP! It’s not anyone’s problem but theirs when the little ratbastard is crying it’s head off. Yeah, kids whine during take off and landing – I hate it, but deal. But when the kid screams for the ENTIRE flight, or kicks the seat incessantly, or pounds on the tray table – that’s utter BULLSHIT.

        I have rights too – we’re all stuck in some god damned tin can like sardines – so the least YOU can do is to control YOUR damned kid so the trip is less sucky. Making it MORE sucky for the rest of us because YOU are too stupid or numb to deal with YOUR kid is YOUR fault – and YES, I WILL get pissed at YOU. If YOU don’t like it, then YOU stop acting like an entitled schmuck and teach YOUR kid some manners. Children should be seen, NOT heard in public. Control them, or leave them home.

      • BridgetPentheus says:

        Exactly, do something, if you let the baby/child just sit next to you screaming their heads off you fail as a parent, if I see you soothing them, talking to them, offering them toys etc I understand my ears hurt too but I flew often as a child and before we left, lifesavers out, check, gum out check, puzzle books/reading books in seat in front of me to reach for amusement, check. I carried my own carry on, and put it underneath the seat in front of me so if it need to be reached it was there. I had severe ear problems as a child, flew and knew how to be quiet and when I was a kid as I still do now with my husband if my ears won’t pop I squeeze my travellings companion hand hard. I didn’t cry, scream or run around the airport, my parents frequently brought one of my friends with us and many had their first time on an airplane with us and without their parents there they knew how to behave and my parents could reassure them. I’m sick of parents not being parents. You have kids YOU are responsible for them, don’t ignore their antics.

      • NickelMD says:


    • LexLuber says:


    • Geekybiker says:

      Babies and kids should be allowed on any airplane… Except for the one that I’m on.

    • Etoiles says:

      Crying kids, I don’t have a problem with. Kids cry.

      Children under 3 having the occasional total meltdown… it happens. Toddlers and infants freak.

      Children old enough to be in pre-school or kindergarten (or older) being let loose to run around an airport terminal or airplane like little hellions, being disruptive, shouting, getting in the way, and generally making everyone want to kill them?

      That’s a problem. And the problem is, those parents aren’t parenting.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        for some reason when kids cry, I am oblivious to it. a baby could be crying sitting next to me in a plane and my mind just drowns it out especially if I am watching a movie or reading a good mag/book.

    • johnmeeks1974 says:

      I find it amusing that people, when asking for compassion, show little compassion. As an unmarried and childless traveler, I understand that babies will be babies and kids will be kids. As a teacher, I understand that babies and children require patience because they do not know any better. I also understand that parents are trying their darndest to placate their offspring when they are traveling. I cannot understand that fact that many parents do not prepare themselves and their families for air travel. It wouldn’t hurt a parent to bring a coloring book, a small toy or something to occupy their fidgety and restless child. It would not hurt for a parent to ask their doctor for something to alleviate their child’s ear pains.
      Don’t get me wrong, I can deal with a short crying jag from a child. I, however, do not appreciate it when a baby or a kid will squall and bawl for the duration of the flight. It’s not selfishness on my part, it’s common sense. In the meantime, for those who suffer through the minature sirens, I recommend headphones, vodka and a melatonin to get through it all…

    • mizmoose says:

      Gee, I’m single with no kids and no plans to ever have ’em. Thanks for lumping all the people without kids into the people who hate kids.

      Making lump assumptions is bad, ‘mmmkay?

  12. dreamfish says:

    I’m surprised screaming kids isn’t higher up in the list.

    Also, nothing about the person in front reclining their seat – unless that’s covered by (6)

    • Noby Noby Boy says:

      Seriously…having the person in front of you immediately wham his seat down on your knees the second he sits down fucking sucks. Yes I realize that I can also recline my seat and that the bigger problem is that airlines seem to be designed for Middle Ages-sized people.

  13. stephent says:

    My family just got back from a flight that had some particularly annoying children on it. It made me think though there may be a niche market out there that is not being served. I would be willing (especially on long flights) to pay extra if I knew that flight that was designated as kid free. like no one under 16-18 maybe.

    • Vengefultacos says:

      Eh. I hate crying children as much as the next childless guy, but I’ve been far more annoyed by college student twits on planes than screaming children. At least with screaming children, there will be a parent nearby who will at least in theory try to sush them. Not so much with the college kids who are all yelling to each other all over the plane about how psyched the are to go to where-ever-the-hell-it-is they are going.

      • stephent says:

        you but for them all you need to do is grab a roofie out of their bag and slip it in their drink problem solved.

  14. friendlynerd says:

    My pet peeve is the traveler who booked their connections too close together, and suddenly their emergency is YOUR emergency…as though all the people in front of them at security are somehow less entitled to their place in line.

    • dcaslin says:

      It really bugs me that airlines let people book connections as close together as they do. I think lots of infrequent travelers assume “If the airline let’s me book it, it’s ok right?”

      • partofme says:

        This. Airlines shouldn’t sell tickets with connections that aren’t humanly possible. Though, I have used this to my advantage. Girlfriend comes to visit. We get a return ticket for the latest flights of the day… remarkably short connection. When the first leg is somewhat delayed, they tell us she’s unlikely to make her connection, and they’d gladly fly her out of either my hometown or the connecting city the next morning. Then she can call work with a legitimate “I’m not going to be able to make it tomorrow….” Woot extra day with the girl!

    • nybiker says:

      Axiom: Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part

  15. umbriago says:

    Long waits at baggage claim? Seriously? Anyone have a better way? Maybe have one of those little Tugs drive alongside the plane while landing so they can unload luggage faster!

    Oh what’s a poor airline customer to do other than whine about it? This seems to reinforce (for me) that people’s whining control centers (it’s in the brain) just go into hibernation once they get to the airport.

    Also: EARPLUGS. Check ’em out sometime.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      I have to agree, as I can’t remember the last time I had a long wait for my baggage. I do know that it was likely sometime in the mid-90s.

      • speaky2k says:

        You don’t fly though Philly much do you? I often get to the baggage claim and have to wait over 1/2hr before any bags start coming out, and that’s when I am in the back of the plane. And it’s all airlines there, not just one or two. Other airports (some bigger then Philly) it’s not as much of a problem, by 1/2 hr after landing all the bags are out and I am driving away.

        • bdgbill says:

          Philly + US Air = Luggage Black Hole

          Nearly every time I have flown to PHA or connected there with US Air, my baggage has not come down the belt at all but has shown up hours later or the next day on another flight. This combined with the fact that PHA is one of the few airports in the country that has no Starbucks has caused me to avoid the airport at all costs.

    • Firethorn says:

      Unfortuantly, I can’t wear earplugs on a plane. Can’t even use in-ear headphones. The changes in pressure really mess my ears up if I do that.

  16. Segador says:


    …seems to be a dominant opinion here. Amusing.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      I don’t know what this “Arcade Fire” nonsense is, but you best be chillaxin’ on the Peggle insults. It’s a game with an f’ing unicorn! How cool is that? :-)

    • RStormgull says:

      My beef is primarily with the parents that don’t even try to calm down unruly kids. I can understand not being successful, but the lack of attempt or any sort of parenting is what gets my goat.

    • bdgbill says:


      ……Seems to be another common opinion here.

  17. alstein says:

    I’m going to lose my job over this. That said, I understand entirely. Maybe I can become a Greek rioter.

  18. captadam says:

    How about the business douchebag who insists on conducting business on his cell phone, loudly, in the gate waiting area?

  19. valen says:

    My three big complaints:

    1. Security. This one takes the cake. The rules and regulations regarding airline security are nearing “US Tax Code” levels of complexity. The whole “guilty until proven innocent” and “check your constitutional rights and privacy at the door” atmosphere really make flying more of a hassle than a convenience.

    2. The Surcharge / Taxes Game. These are your baggage fees, the terminal transfer charge, the airport landing surcharge, the so-called “9/11 Security Fee”, etc. I want to be able to buy a ticket online at the advertised cost. I really should not have to pull out a spreadsheet or a graphing calculator to determine what my out of pocket expenses will actually be.

    3. The Cancellation and Delay Game. When I deal with air travel, there’s a 66% chance that there will be a delay and/or cancellation involved. The airlines need to stick to a schedule. If changes have to be made, make sure everyone knows about them. Nothing sucks more than waiting at an airport for somebody to arrive when the flight status board only shows “DELAYED” as the status. The flight status board should at least give an ETA on the flight arrival if it is delayed.

    If the airports and airlines could fix these three problems, I would be happy to regularly use their services again. As it stands, I generally reserve air travel for emergency usage only.

  20. admiral_stabbin says:

    Poor air quality is my #1.

  21. Holo20 says:

    I can’t believe that the absolute FARCE that is TSA did not rate higher on the list (and, no I don’t mean the “long waits at security”). UUMickey said it above, “Being presumed guilty until proven innocent (ie being treated like a criminal) while trying to get through the airport security line.”

    Wake up, people. We are being TRAINED by the government to be obedient little sheep. Look at the crap that we put up with!!! “Papers please!! Move along! Belt off. Shoes off. Take that out of your bag. Show me your papers again…”


  22. SizroSpunkmire says:

    You now what my biggest biff is? Business Class passengers who purposely wait until the rest of the plane has unloaded before they leave their seats. They just sit there as people file by them reading a fancy magazine as if they’re saying “Hey look at me! I flew Business Class and you didn’t!”

    I was once getting off a plane when an unruly economy passenger a few feet in front of me complaigned to the pilot about the horrible food. There was a business class passenger who chimed in by saying the food in business class was excellent. The unruly dude looked at him and said “Why are you still on board? Real men fly private jets”. Dude didn’t say a word.

  23. Amelie says:

    People who think they have the right to move or squish your reasonable sized bag (with your laptop in it) with their over-sized one. I tell them straight out: Do NOT move my bag.

    Delta phone agents who: (1) Don’t speak English. (2) Want to charge you for ticketing when their crappy website fails. (3) After not being able to help you, ask “if they can book a hotel or car for you.” (4) Congratulate you for being a Silver Medallion member when you haven’t been able to get an upgrade for the past ten flights. When you mention this, they tell you that you “need to work harder to make it to Gold status.”

  24. smo0 says:

    Maybe this comes with age, but…. flying in general is starting to freak me out. First time I was even on a plane, I was a few weeks old (and to add to that, I never cried. NOT ONCE. So sayeth the momma, amen.) In fact, I didn’t cry while out in public. I was a happy baby! With that said. I don’t think kids should be allowed in public… at least until a certain age. YOU had the kid, YOU gave up your social life, YOU don’t have the priviledge of ruining MY day. Not my fault you chose to breed. Unless your kid is 100% angel, I don’t want to hear a peep!
    I hate the security.
    That’s pretty much it.
    I’d feel safer if I had a gun, brought it on the plane and slept with one eye open just PRAYING somebody would start something!
    WAHHHHHH! HIYAH! BANG BANG! … okay no more coffee today.

  25. allinfocus says:

    Speaking as someone who flies on Southwest a lot, I think “Irritating Flight Crew” really needs to be on that list. Your job consists of: 1) showing us how to use the safety equipment, 2) beverage service, 3) direction in an emergency. Your jokes are not funny. Turn off your electronics… and here’s a bunch of other words that end in berry! ho ho!

    The absolute worst was on a flight last week from Sacramento to LA. This guy thought he was the second coming of Paul Lynde, with some Scott Thompson thrown in for good measure. Of course, the sassy fat chick passengers that were egging him on were just as much to blame. I’m sure you’re all excited about going to a taping of the Wendy Williams show, ladies, but some of us have had a long day and just want to get home.

    • bdgbill says:

      Ah yes, the Southwest Airlines comedians, just one of the many things I do not like about Southwest (the Greyhound of the skies).

      I buy travel for about 10 people at my company. I always try to keep everyone on Southwest because of their free checked bags and liberal refund policies. When I book flights for myself, I avoid Southwest like the plague. There are few travel experiences worse than being handed a “Group C” boarding pass on Southwest. Even worse is to think you have a nice safe “A” boarding pass only to find out that the plane is already 2/3 full of other people when you get on.

  26. luftmenschPhil says:

    How about overweight / unattractive… or male stewardesses? I remember flying in the late 60s to early 80s most all the stewardesses (yes, I still call them that) were beautiful. Nowadays, 90% of them would never have made the cut back then.

    • Santas Little Helper says:

      Actually they did make the cut, they are still there, and they are as bitter about how flying has changed as you are. That’s why there are old sky hags. Go fly a regional and find a flight with low seniority flight attendants (think short crappy routes) that’s where you are going to find the young blonde who you want to service, I mean serve you. Get over it, these people have to make a living, and personally all I want from a flight attendant is somebody who is professional and courteous. If you really want to pay to look at attractive people, develop a reason to fly to Asia more where they accommodate people of your needs.

  27. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Long lines!
    Tiny seats!
    No room for a regulation-size carry-on under the seat!
    Did I say tiny seats? I’m not even fat!

    Screw flying; if this long-distance relationship goes anywhere, I’m moving.

  28. TBGBoodler says:

    How about the $3 bottles of water on the other side of security? If you forget to bring an empty water bottle, you’re stuck. What happened to gouging laws?

  29. H3ion says:

    Most annoying things about air travel?

    1. US Airways
    2. Delta
    3. American
    4. United…well, you get the idea.

    Thank heavens for the Bolt bus.

  30. WhiteWolfAniu says:

    Flying usually isn’t too’s when the person next to me puts their elbow on my armrest.. and then the person in front of me puts their seat back. It’s like being caged in. I just squeeze into a little ball and listen to music or read..

  31. WhiteWolfAniu says:

    Flying usually isn’t too’s when the person next to me puts their elbow on my armrest.. and then the person in front of me puts their seat back. It’s like being caged in. I just squeeze into a little ball and listen to music or read..

  32. Vengefultacos says:

    My least favorite… the last fw times I’ve book a flight long in advance, there’s been a constant torrent of flight changes,, cancellations, and other crap. Often, the airline doesn’t even inform you of them, despite the fact they have your email and you signed up for alerts.

    And then comes the arm twisting to restore sanity to what was supposed to be a simple direct flight. It took me ages on the phone to get one boneheaded airline to realize that replacing a Boston to Rochester direct flight (>500 miles, about 1.5 hours) with an alternate itinerary that would fly me through frigging Chicago and make me spend 6 hours in transit wasn’t a reasonable alternative.

  33. FrankReality says:

    I hate flying because:
    a) I hate the alternating hurry-up interspersed by extended waits.
    b) I hate crowds.
    c) I hate airport/airline food and the outrageous airport prices.
    d) I hate being in a confined space for hours.
    e) I hate being in a tiny seat with no legroom, usually surrounded by other people who are bigger (not necessarily fatter) than their seats. Why must the cabin be packed tighter than a sardine can?
    f) I hate taking my shoes off and putting them back on.
    g) I hate getting “selected” for additional screening – why does this happen to me every darn flight – really.
    h) I hate the risk of losing valuables whenever I go through Atlanta.
    i) I hate having to sit on the tarmac or taxiway.
    j) I hate crying kids, sick kids, misbehaving kids and parents who insist on inflicting us with their progeny.
    k) I hate women who use far too much perfume – you don’t have to take a bath in it, a drop will do just fine.
    l) I hate over-booking and getting bumped when I have a reservation.
    m) I hate missing a connection because my flight is a little late.
    n) I hate corporate reservation agents who put you in the back row of a huge airplane when you have a connecting flight and a short layover.
    o) I hate the smell of burned jet fuel and deicing solutions in the cabin.
    p) I hate people who manage to smash my head when they load/unload their stuff from the overhead bins. On a related point, why don’t the airlines board the passengers sitting in the window seats, then board the ones with aisle seats?

  34. jiminim says:

    Well #1 is not so bad for me anymore. Just got a notice from Delta that by holding a Delta Skymiles Amex my first bag is free after June 1. Though I know they picked that date just for me because I am going on a trip that flies out the end of May and back in June. So I get to pay for my first bag to get to the beach but then it will be free on the way home!

  35. The Black Bird says:

    I’ve seen this “crying baby” stuff come up many times before and what I find amazing is the sense of entitlement some people have. Nowhere is it written that we will be free from annoyances while on a commercial flight, in a restaurant or in any public place.

    Before anyone asks, the answer is yes. I have been on a number of flights where a baby was crying. I have also been in restaurants where a baby was crying. While I am not thrilled about it I accept it.

    No one said that any part of any of our life will be perfect. No matter if it is running out of gas, being late for an appointment or any of the many other things that can, and do, go wrong in peoples lives, and that includes crying babies on airplanes (or anywhere). Let’s face it SHIT HAPPENS!

    I do agree that the parent(s) should attempt to control their crying babies but there are times that no matter what someone does it either doesn’t rectify the situation or it does, but only briefly. For those of you that think yelling shut-up at the baby is the thing to do, I say by doing that you are acting more babyish then the actual baby is. This includes yelling something at the parent(s).

  36. giax says:

    These definitely should be on that list:

    – “Random”, “occasional” SSSS on your boarding pass, and the joys of extra screenings
    – Naked scanners
    – Being treated like a criminal
    – TSA