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Airplane Etiquette

Survey Reveals Americans' Attitudes About Air Travel Behaviors

A recent AAA Travel survey revealed travelers' attitudes about two of the hottest topics in air travel etiquettewhether people recline their seatbacks on flights, and their opinions on whether passengers should be able to use cellphones to make phone calls in-flight.

Despite the attention the now-infamous Knee Defender has received, the majority of Americans report they do not recline their seatbacks on airplanes. (Fifty-two percent leave their seat upright vs. twenty-nine percent who recline during most or all of their flight.)

There has been a lot of discussion about whether air travelers should be able to make calls on cell phones during flights, but Americans remain divided on the issue. Forty-eight percent of people believe cellphone calls should not be permitted on flights while forty-four percent believe they should be allowed.

Other major pet peeves? reports the following additional items topping readers' lists:

  • Travelers who aren't respectful of carry-on limits, and take up too much overhead bin space.
  • Anything smelly—food, perfume, lack of showering.
  • Travelers who want favors—to switch seats, borrow your pillow, use your headphones, call you when they visit your hometown, et cetera.
  • Chatty travelers who don't pick up on "I'm trying to read" or "I'm trying to sleep" cues.
  • Passengers who spill their belongings or limbs out of their allotted space.



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