Socks on a plane: 17 most annoying things about air travel, ranked

Breaking news: Getting your seat kicked is annoying.

Socks on a plane: 17 most annoying things about air travel, ranked
[Photo: Gerrie van der Walt/Unsplash]

We are a long way from the golden age of air travel where well-dressed men and women in travel suits would breeze up to the plane two minutes before takeoff and drink cocktails out of real glasses all the way to California.


To rub that fact in our faces before the holiday travel season, Genfare, a company that offers fare solutions to transit agencies, conducted a survey of 2,000 Americans who fly at least twice per year to determine the worst offenses when it comes to flying.

According to the survey, 64% said it’s okay to take their shoes off on a plane, which is somehow fine if they slip them back on before using the bathroom. Things really fall apart, though, over this statistic: 20% of you monsters out there thinks it’s perfectly okay to take your socks off on a plane. It’s not. No one wants to be sitting next to someone while they lift their knee up to their face to peel their socks off in the confined space of an airline seat. Plus, when the socks come off, odor is sure to waft, and 26% of those surveyed said that the inescapable scent of body odor was the biggest plane travel annoyance.

The No. 1 spot, though, was saved for something universally agreed upon as completely aggravating: seat kicking. Among those surveyed, 54% said that was the most annoying thing (probably because they forgot about the barefoot traveler spreading their toe jam all over the shared floor space). The next biggest aggravation was being trapped on a plane with a crying child (27%), which went hand in hand with inattentive parents (21%).


Here’s the full list of air travel annoyances, ranked:

  1. Getting seat kicked: 54%
  2. Crying baby/child: 27%
  3. Body odor: 26%
  4. Talkative passneger: 23%
  5. Inattentive parents: 21%
  6. Drunk passenger: 18%
  7. Seat pulled back or leaned on: 17%
  8. Snoring: 15%
  9. Rushing to get off plane: 15%
  10. Reclining seat: 15%
  11. Putting feet up: 13%
  12. Smelly food: 11%
  13. Man-spreading: 7%
  14. Passenger removing shoes or socks: 6%
  15. Bright screens on phones: 3%
  16. Non-service dogs: 2%
  17. Dressing sloppy: 1%

Luckily, survey respondents had plenty of remedies to combat No. 4 on the list—talkative passengers. In fact, 3% of those surveyed just ignore them. Most people, though, exited those uninvited conversations by putting on headphones (37%) or looking at their phones (13%), while my personal heroes were the 0.5% who called the flight attendant to make the passenger stop talking to them.


About the author

Melissa Locker is a writer and world renowned fish telepathist.


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