Have You Argued With a Fellow Passenger Mid-Flight?

Posted by Sue Anderson, 25th Apr 2017

It's not unusual for people to feel a bit apprehensive ahead of a flight, but most of the time it's the idea of hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour, thousands of feet above the ground that makes them feel a tad wobbly. But how about worries about falling out with a fellow passenger and then being stuck with them in a confined space for the rest of the journey; do you ever worry about that?

It seems that mid-flight fall outs are a bit more common than we anticipated. We polled 2,332 people aged 18 and over from around the UK, each of whom had travelled on a flight abroad for a holiday in the past year and asked them questions about their interactions with fellow passengers on the plane.

Reclining Seats and Excessive Noise Top Causes of In-Flight Arguments

When we asked, 'Have you ever had an argument or any kind of conflict with a fellow passenger during a flight to/from a holiday destination?' 41% of people said 'yes'. These people were then asked how bad the conflict had been, to which 62% said it was just 'a few cross words', but 21% confessed to us that there had been 'shouting' involved and 4% even admitted that it 'got physical'.

We then asked what the conflict or argument had been cause by (regardless of if it was them or their fellow passenger that was the cause), to which the top answers were as follows:

1. Reclining seats into my/their space - 27%

2. Excessive noise - 22%

3. Kicking my/their seat from behind - 16%

4. Drunkenness - 13%

5. Waking me/them up (either accidentally or on purpose) - 9%

Arguments Most Likely on USA, Mexico and Thailand Routes

Narrowly missing out on the top 5 answers was arguing over 'space in the overhead lockers' (4%). When asked which holiday destination they'd been travelling to/from when their last in-flight row with a fellow passenger occurred, the top three answers stated by the relevant respondents were America (23%), Mexico (19%) and Thailand (13%); suggesting that it's the longer-haul flights on which arguments are most likely to break out.

Those respondents who admitted to having an argument with a fellow passenger on a flight in the past were asked if the cabin crew/airline staff had ended up having to get involved in any way (i.e. to calm the situation) to which 13% said 'yes'.

When we asked which airline they had been flying with when they'd had their last in-flight argument, the top answers given by the relevant respondents were 'British Airways' (27%), 'Thomas Cook' (13%) and 'EasyJet' (11%).

Starting or ending a holiday with a big row during the flight with a fellow passenger is not ideal and is going to leave both parties with a bad taste in their mouth. If you're planning to recline your seat, ask the person behind you if they'd mind first. They might be watching something on their screen or using their fold down table. If the person in front of you reclines their seat, ask them nicely if they wouldn't mind putting it back forward and don't be tempted to fly off the handle. It's just common sense really; stay calm and think before you react or act, so that an argument never arises.
  • Inspire Me!
  • Compare Selected

Search the sunshine.co.uk website: