Flight Guide: Don't Be 'That Guy' On the Plane

We've all experienced an annoying aeroplane passenger before. You know, the guy that gets drunk on the plane, sticks his knees into the back of your seat, and wakes the quietly sleeping baby.


Our fellow Nomads share their pet peeves and common annoyances up in the air. From boarding to arrival, follow this advice for the beginning of a hassle free adventure.

1. It’s an Aircraft – Not Your Bedroom

I’m all for dressing sensibly for a long haul flight. Loose, comfortable clothing – preferably a light layer or two that you can adjust as you go will make all the difference when you land. Getting into your long-johns, robe and slippers – just because we’re going dark for a few hours – is inexcusable.

We don’t need to see you go through your usual nightly routine, various lotion applications, brushing teeth & combing hair. I’ve travelled, probably a little more than the average bear – and I can tell you, that there isn’t a flight path on this planet long enough to necessitate these parades of vanity.

Think of it as like camping – but instead of sleeping on the ground in the forest, you’re sleeping in the sky. You’re already sleeping amongst the clouds – how much more comfortable do you really need to be?

- Dave Couri 

2. It’s an Airport Lounge – Not Your Personal Lounge Room

Nobody enjoys waiting around for their flight to open, but it’s made a little more bearable if everyone can remember some basics on how we, as adults, behave in a shared space.

I don’t need to hear your phone conversation, your terrible choice of music through your headphones, or your beeping gadget buttons. You almost certainly don’t need to take a nap across 3 seats, or sprawled out across the ground amongst your plethora of gizmos and chargers.

- Dave Couri 

3. Unfortunately - Kids Need to Fly Too

Some people have such a greivance about children on a plane that they will even compete with your IPod to share their opinion with you. Kids are a fact of life, I can almost remember being one myself. The further away from me they are the better, but flying means you simply have to share the space with people who you would never make your Christmas card list.

IPod's are great for blocking out the child's wailing, because they only really want their parents attention. The black cloud sitting next to you wants everyone to know that they are being put out more than any one else by an upset child.

- Harry Wellington

4. Everyone Complains

Irrespective of how loud you turn up your music, complaints will still pierce your sonic barricade. The food's inedible; another fact of flying that you just learn to accept. The service is slow; the people paying three times as much as you are to fly can rightly claim preferential treatment.

There's no leg room; it is a mode of transport not the poolside sun lounge that you are hopefully heading for. As I crank my music up so loud that my ears are still ringing a week later, I usually realise that I needed to heed my own advice. The complainer is just as inevitable on a flight as what the crying child and plastic food are.

- Harry Wellington

5. Basic Human Courtesies Are Winners!

Don't stuff your hand luggage with every known kitsch souvenir that will either break mid flight or be confiscated on arrival. Wearing well fitted pants that don't fall down when reaching up to the overhead compartment will also be appreciated by others, as will packing a toothbrush to rid the stale alcohol smell after you have spent the last couple of hours before boarding scoffing cocktails of courage.

Control your thirst for the free bevvies and also your wandering hand from the hostess's backside. She/He will be thankful. Its also an idea to refrain from taking a few sleeping pills as soon as you get on your flight if you are seated in the aisle seat. This will save your neighbours form having to climb over you with a full bladder. 

- Lisa Fryar

6. How to Arrive in Style

Once you disembark from your flight, your arrival into another country is just that - it's an arrival into another country. This means adhering to the law of the land that you are now in, not asking to take photos with the regimented military border control carrying AK47's.

The airport behaviour should not include a race to the immigration desk, an argument with the customs agent or taking anyone else's bag because you like the look of it. They may just be carrying something you don't want to be caught with. Like S&M nightwear and nothing else. Or worse. 

- Lisa Fryar

What are your aeroplane annoyances? Share your story below!

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  • Johan said

    Dave Couri - why dont you just shell out a couple of hundred extra dollars to fly busines class if the idea of people dressing for comfort in packed spaces and long flights disgusts you so much? Some people have to go straight to a meeting/appointment/even funeral straight from the airport without time to groom themselves, but god forbid they get it done on the plane. How much more comfortable does one need to be? When you're on a long flight in economy with the person in front of you reclined all the way, the answer is anywhere from 'a little bit' to 'considerably'. Given this fact, sleep (for many) is almost unattainable and god forbid that might be why you see someone passed out in an airport lounge. <br><br>Should I whisper on my phone in an airport just so I don't disturb you? Being a seasoned traveler, why don't you travel away from someone who wrongs you so considerably in an airport lounge? At least there you have the ability to do so.<br><br>Every other point, whether agreeable or not, has solid justification and for the most part makes sense. Those first two give the impression that this is a blog for people who fly business class. I might not be a 'seasoned traveller' but I'm certainly not some yuppie with my head up my own... well you get the idea

  • Deniable Packrat said

    My biggest complaint is the fact that the FAA thinks that my e-reader or my iPod will somehow magically interfere with the plane's navigation or electronics. I was a Federal Air Marshal for five years and I can personally tell you from my experience that almost all electronics with the exception of radio jamming system like the ones the military uses will never interfere with the plane's navigation or other systems. Its been proven time and time again and it drives me crazy when the flight attendant walks up and down the aisle reminding people about the electronics. Its time for the FAA to update their bs and come up with something more important like properly trained TSA agents.

  • lisaf said

    I never could work out why you cant listen to music during "take off" and "landing" on your ipod? I like to listen to my music to distract me during these times and always get asked to take my earphones out. Is this so I can hear the captain / hostie if theres an issue?<br>

  • Allan Cooke said

    The reason you can't listen to iPods / MP3 during take off landi is obvious surely.... These are the most critical / dangerous time of the flight and in case of emergency the stewards needs you alert and responsive to any instructions they give you.

  • dave couri said

    Johan - thanks for your reply. For me, the point here is less about money/status/elitism in travel and more about how human adults learn to behave in shared spaces. It doesn't matter whether we were sharing the first class lounge or the crummy floor at the check-in desk, that shouldn't guide your behaviour.<br>Not sure where you earned your very excellent sense of entitlement - but the "go to the lounge/upgrade to business if my behaviour bothers you" routine is exactly what leads to my comments in the article above. I have no doubt that you have places to be when you step off your flight, and no doubt 500 people behind you also have various places to be. What is in your mind that makes your own journey a little more important is what I'm trying to draw out here. <br><br>It's just about having a little respect for the comfort of those around you - not just ensuring your own. So yes, using your example - you should speak quietly (what my grandma used to call 'your inside voice') when using your cell phone. Not just in the airport lounge, but any time that you're in public. In your own house - yell down the damn thing all you like. Have a little spacial/social awareness, mixed with a few 'pleases' and 'thankyou's' will ease your journey & that of your fellow man.

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