10 strange behaviours you might encounter on an airplane

Have you ever been on an airplane and you had to put up with people that were so rude that you just wish you could kick them out of the plane? Let’s face, it no matter where you are travelling to, you’re cramped in the small compartment like cattle. So unless you are travelling by business class – you’re the cattle class or simply the economy class. And if you happen to be travelling to India from Canada, the USA or Great Britain then you are stuck for at least 10 hours and more and might have to endure strange behaviours of other passengers.

India for kids
10 rude things you might encounter on an airplane
Me onboard Air India quietly having my dinner trying not to be rude or be annoying to anyone

Here are 10 strange behaviours you might encounter on an airplane

Taking both the arm rests

Many of us would have faced this situation where the passengers on either side have occupied the arm rests and you had to sit with your arms on your lap. Think about it, if there are 3 seats in an aisle, this means there are 4 arm rests – you can do the maths yourself.

Someone getting drunk

Most airlines serve alcohol. The last thing you want is to get drunk or even worse, be sat next to some one who is. Since you’re flying in a pressurised cabin the chances are that one can get high a lot easier than if they were on the ground. When people in airplanes get drunk, they start getting restless in their seats; they’re frequenting the toilets more often while some are even laughing their head off when watching a movie on their screens in front. My husband does this all the time. In fact, he makes me get the drinks and he drinks them all – (and eats my peanuts too) – absolutely annoying.

drunk in airplane
Looks like someone is drinking my whisky and eating my packet of peanuts

Talking on the phone during take-off

It is common knowledge that mobile phones and other electronics are not allowed during take-off and landing. Some pretend to put them away and when the stewards are not looking they would start talking again putting everyone’s lives in risk.

Skipping a bath 

Mind you, this happens all the time. I have sat with people who have smelt so bad that when the passenger was asleep, I asked the air hostess if they could change my seat.

Vomiting on the lap of the passenger next to you

So far this hasn’t happened to me but I do get air-sick. Imagine someone who gets so air-sick that they can’t control themselves and puke on all over the place including on other passengers. This is perhaps one of the worst case scenarios.

Someone farting

Most of us can control this activity but what happens if one can’t; how embarrassing this would be. Now if this were to happen on an airplane, it can ruin the whole dam trip.

Someone asking you to fill their immigration forms

If you’re travelling to India, then you will have to complete a “arrival disembarkation card” to hand to the immigration officer. It takes a few minutes to fill them out. As soon as you’ve done yours, you might find other passengers requesting that you fill theirs too specially if you are travelling from the Middle East (perhaps due to a stopover). This is either because they’re illiterate (mainly Indian labourers working in the Middle East) or can’t read or write English (the elderly). It can be quite annoying if you have to do a few of these.

Others taking your overhead luggage space

Some passengers carry over sized hand luggage’s and completely occupy your space. Many of us Indians love to take lots of luggage around no matter where they’re going even it means going abroad.

Children and parents behaving rudely

Some parents are no unaware that they are inside an aircraft or don’t care about their surroundings. In addition, why do some parents force their children to eat making their children so upset that they start throwing the food around? I have personally seen this and looks so idiotic. This is a case of bad parenting, not planning ahead ending up creating chaos onboard.

Patna to Delhi
While on board to Delhi, I noticed that the man in the circle was so excited that he even stood up to look out of the window during taking off.

People spending hours in the toilets and making a mess

While you’re bursting to go to the loo, some idiot is spending hours doing god knows what in the toilet. Why do people take so long in airplane toilets knowing fully well that there are people waiting outside? The worst thing, after holding on for so long, when you step inside the toilet, you realise that they haven’t flushed the toilet. How rude is that?

What are the other strange and rude behaviours you can think of while on the airplane?

69 thoughts on “10 strange behaviours you might encounter on an airplane”

  1. Here’s a few more for you, Shalu.

    1. The person in front of you has just received their meal from the cabin crew and doesn’t have the sense to put their seat-back upright. This happens on almost every flight that I take. I have to ask the cabin crew to give the person in front a gentle reminder.

    2. As shown above; The person in front of you drapes their hands over the back of their headrest and onto your TV screen, just as you’re watching the movie. You tap them on the hand and they turn round and look daggers at you.

    3. I’ve managed to get an emergency exit seat for a long flight and am quietly chuffed that I don’t have to deal with the above two scenarios. But guess what? The idiot behind me adopts the position of putting their feet up on their seat and kneeing me in the back every so often, as they make themselves more comfortable. Grrr!

    Lastly; this actually happened a few years ago on an Ethiopian Airlines flight fron Addis Ababa to London:
    I was sitting next to this Ethiopian woman who was seated by the Emergency Exit door. She’s jabbering away to herself while looking at the release handle on the exit door. We’re at 30,000 ft. I’m thinking ‘please don’t go for that handle, lady, because I will be on top of you in a second.’ I needn’t have worried; because just then she turned round with her knees on her seat, glared at the woman who was seated behind her, and SPAT in her face.

    Air travel. Don’t you just love it!!

    • Terry

      I would be terrified to see someone near the emergency exit and doing something to the release handle.

      I know what you mean about someone not straightening their seat up during meals. It happens all the time and wonder why people do it.

      Air travel specially on long hauls can be a nightmare.

      Thanks for commenting and pointing out some of the other awful behaviours of some people on airplanes.

  2. Hi Shalu,

    This one was indeed an interesting post, and a one most of us could relate to 🙂

    I had a good laugh going through all your points that were so well thought of and written. These are indeed the things that many people do when they are on a flight, and what amazes me is that nowadays even the flights are becoming almost like a train journey, not to mention the similar messy toilets!

    That’s a lovely picture of yours enjoying your dinner. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend 🙂

    • Hi Harleena

      I am happy you could relate to the points. I am glad you liked it. I know exactly what you mean about flights becoming train journeys. Thanks for your comment and sharing.

  3. Hello Shalu Sharma,

    I generally travel maximum 5 hour journey. Among all these strange behavior, I saw People pass lots of time in toilet. I love the picture of peanut you added. In Emirates Airlines, I love their peanut most.

    Another thing, in plane Airhostress must serve mild alcohol drink. So one can\’t get drunk.

    Anyway have a nice flight next time 🙂

  4. I guess the best way to counter this is to give them in kind… if someone sits next to me and drink – the smell will make me vomit – and will make sure to vomit on him…

    Lucky for me that I haven’t faced any such situations, but this article has surely got me thinking… it is all down to civil sense, and some people will never have it, no matter where they are.

    Uttoran Sen,

  5. I was late to buy a ticket to a last minute destination last summer and I got the very back row of seats for my granddaughter and I. We were right by the bathroom. First passenger to use it must have had a large dinner. The entire back of the plane reeked of poo after he was done. It was nauseating.

    I also have had to deal with very unpleasant and power-hungry flight attendants. Since 911 many have become quite rude since they know the TSA will drag anyone off a flight whether warranted or not.

    The worst though is getting stuck on the runway, waiting for takeoff during poor weather. You become, for all intents and purposes, a prisoner. Hours can be spent with “the seatbelt sign lit” and your bladder full.

    Flying used to be such a pleasure. Now it is a hassle. Great article! Loved it!

    • Hi Karin
      If something like this happens then its so bad, it would have been a horrible experience for you. The trouble is what can you actually do if you are stuck in such a situation.

  6. OMG! You killed it with this post! Love it. I remember sitting next to an older man on a flight from Grenada to UK and he kept farting all the while there. I seriously thought of opening the window and just dying rather than endure his grossness. Days after I had the scent of his gas stuck in my system. Ewwww. I literally shudder just thinking about it. 8 hours of relentless farting. Ugh.

  7. I’m on a ten hour flight to Cuba in April, my first long haul. I hope I don’t experience anythig like this or inflict on other passengers. Just read your post about the swiss woman. very sad.

  8. Totally laughing through this! Or, the person who insists on talking my ear off about things/people/events I know/care nothing about and yet despite my intentional non-response jabbers the entire flight!

  9. I have seen all this and more. But I must say there are some wonderful people on planes also. When my son was four years old we went to visit my family to Finland for the first time in his life.
    He has ADHD and the flight was really hard for him. Finally he couldn’t take it and started screaming and kicking and punching the man sitting next to him.
    I couldn’t switch places because if I had let him be on the aisle side, he would have been all over the plane in no time.
    The man was wonderful and understanding, and polite through the whole time. I think he must have thought that my son was a totally spoiled brat, used to get what he wants, which isn’t the case. He just had a sensory overload and the inaction made it worse for him.
    Finally I got him calm and he slept for a while. But it was a long and hard flight. And I respect the gentleman sitting next to us.
    Sometimes people are amazing.

    • You are right about some people, they can be real angels. These are real human beings who are kind and considerate and underhand people, and don’t make a fuss. About ADHD, you might consider fish oils, they seem to have helped a relative of mine.
      Best wishes and please do come back to share your valuable experiences in the form of comments.

  10. Hi Shalu,

    I was laughing through this post! It is so true. Crying babies, cell phones, people doing disgusting things…Phew!

    I have to add the seats. Now I am only 5 foot tall and petite. When I get on a plane, I’m uncomfortable because I feel squished. I only could imagine a “normal” sized person sitting for all those hours.

    For the price paid to fly, at least they could give us more room! Well that’s my pet peeve.


    • Hi Donna
      happens all the time. Don’t you just hate long haul flights. I know what you mean about prices. They take the money and all they give you is a cramped space in return. That’s another annoying point.
      Thanks for your lovely comment.

  11. What makes me mad is that all these things happen on full flights and you can not even ask to change your seat…and with limited personal space on the flight you can just hope that the flight reaches destination quickly.

  12. Just as our faces are different so do our thoughts and behaviious, i just can’t imagine some of these strange behaviours happening to me on an airplane, some people are just careless and don’t mind if they will hurt others by their actions. Well the way you handle the situation can go a long way in determining how you can relate with such individual through out the flight.

  13. I hate long flights and people with no common sense.Drinking too much, not closing your mobile when the crew asks you to and basically ignoring the other people’s needs are very unpleasant. And if on top of that, you get a crying baby..:) it couldn’t possible get worse!

  14. Hi Shalu,

    Hahahaha! Hey were we on the same flight? 😉 I just flew Air India from Chennai, to Mumbai, Mumbai to Delhi, and Delhi to New York City 3 weeks ago 😉 Loved it! And those peanuts they serve – pictured above – were very tasty…..although everybody grabbed those bags in the flight crew serving area so quickly hahahaha…..

    I have seen all this stuff minus the vomiting. I am always writing blog posts or watching movies, keeping quiet…..although I break to exercise, walking up and down the aisles, once every hour…too….

    Great share!

    • Hi Ryan
      Looks like we were on the same Air India flight and eating the same peanuts. I think I might have seen you writing away frantically on your laptop. ha ha got you there didn’t I?

  15. hello shalu. i know a person who have a habit of staying so long in the toilet that only God knows what he do. One of my husband’s relatives. he has no consideration at all to people who are waiting for their turn. it really pisses me off. good thing i am no longer residing in my husband’s family home. i am staying today in my house while my husband is working overseas

  16. Good guide for people who are planning to board a plane for the first time, they should be ready to encounter different characters of Humans!
    And those in the habit will learn from it also.

  17. i can’t travel in airplane i will travel in airplane in the future these points are helpful to me.These points are helpful to new travellers.Thank you for this post.

  18. Interesting write-up!
    I had a hearty laugh. 😀
    I once remember sitting next to someone wearing a crumpled t-shirt and jeans and head tightly wrapped inside a muffler.
    This guy dozed off in the middle of a 6 hour flight and he would want to rest his head on my shoulder every few minutes.
    Needless to add, I pushed off the jerk every time he tried doing so.
    Minutes before the plane was supposed to land, this guy went to the wash room and out walked one of the most dashingly handsome guys I had ever seen.
    You can imagine my disappointment for not having let him sleep peacefully!! 😉 😉 🙂

  19. It can’t be helped. You will tend to find people like that when riding a plane. Whether its plain curiosity for some or just their own personal behavior, it can be somewhat rude to others. Thanks for sharing your experiences and like any passengers, I do find these quite rude.

  20. ha ha.. Nice article Shalu Ji… You have brought out some real facts here. There are some people who keep clicking pictures and thats irritating too… Waiting for the next post to come.

  21. Every time I fly I am surprised by the way people act. The worst is having bad parents that either let their kids run or those that are way too strict and raise their voices…it’s about time someone created a social platform to allow us to rate other fliers and choose who we sit next to.

  22. Hi Shalu,
    Flying is one of my favorite things to do. It is so interesting to go at that speed and go that fast. However, the worst part about it is the people. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to go more than 4 hours by plane. What usually ends up happening is there’s always those parents who can’t get their kids to stop crying and it ruins the whole trip for everyone, no matter which class you decide to fly. Thanks for sharing what you think are the worst behaviors,

  23. Agree with Terry about people not putting their seats upright while everyone is eating. Another thing that happens to me a lot is the person behind me stretching their legs out and kicking my feet. Worst of all though is the child behind you that keeps kicking, punching and pulling on your seat back – why do parents let their children do this!?!

  24. Very clearly mentioned… You reminded all those horrible experiences :p

    Farts … yuckieee
    Big lines near washroom, and whenever u get a chance to enter, there is an announcement that you must be on your seats :-s

  25. This set of articles cites several situations I have encountered while traveling. It’s curious behavior as people there where repeated travel. Haria need a guide in order to avoid situations knurls.

  26. I must admit when I’m flying and somebody is acting oddly, I do get very nervous. In a confined area on a plane, with little space to move and get away it vital that the cabin crew are well trained in dealing with passengers who act in an anti social way – to my mind, the actions of the crew are of utmost importance! –

  27. Great post and quite topical for me. I have just flown back from Portugal and even though it was only a 3 hour flight, I just couldn’t take anymore of screaming kids and one even urinated on their seat which then dripped onto my shoes! Unbelievable and I have two kids so it is not as if I am against children!

  28. LOL…you might encounter? Check yes next to all. Still it’s pretty amazing that we can be shot across the sky in a metal tube and see wonderful India whenever we wish

  29. Thank you miss Shalu Sharma for sharing your nice experience for us. I think you are daily passenger. As per my knowledge in flight all telephonic gadget including mobile phones might be danger. so totally switch off the phones, no silent mode, no flight mode.


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