Expedia®, a leading full-service online travel company, today released the results of the 2017 Flight Etiquette study, an annual survey of in-flight behavior across multiple countries and continents. The survey highlights that Indians find rear-seat kickers (52%), boozers (50%) and loud passengers (49%) most annoying in a flight, while they are most tolerant to flirting singles (33%) and amorous couples (30%). A majority (65%) would pay extra to be seated in a ‘quiet section’ if the airline offered one. Dreading sitting next to someone who talks too much on a flight is a justified fear, as many will engage in conversation. Passengers are particularly considerate to the airline crew and generally follow regulations.

“As flying picks up as a preferred mode of travel for Indians, there is a variety of behaviors that can be seen on a flight. While some of the travelers are patient and helpful, the others are inconsiderate and annoying. The survey highlights that 76% feel that for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate of other passengers and 59% have offered their seat to a fellow passenger in need. 61% Indians use flights as an opportunity to interact with and know new people. Ironically, 68% of the flyers also dread sitting next to a talkative person,” said Mr. Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia in India.


When travelling, we are 

  • 61% often use flights as an opportunity to talk to and meet new people
  • 57% would feel comfortable talking about religious or political topics with a fellow passenger
  • 29% often drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages during air travel (this would include beverages consumed at airport or while on the plane)
  • 11% have been physically intimate with someone on a plane that they were traveling with
  • 11% have ignored carry-on baggage rules
  • 6% have faked a sickness or injury to get a better seat assignment


  • 67% have helped someone with their luggage
  • 59% have offered their seat to a fellow passenger in need (e.g., a family member split from their group, an elderly passenger, a married couple not seated together)
  • 76% feel that for the most part, fellow passengers are considerate of other passengers


  • 61% would like reclining seats banned or at least restricted to set times on short-haul flights
  • 21% have addressed a parent whose child is kicking your seat
  • 13% have boarded the plane ahead of their assigned group
  • 80% thoroughly clean their space before leaving the plane
  • 47% feel whoever sits down first is entitled to claim whichever arm rests they want


  • 68% dread sitting next to someone who talks too much
  • 60% often feel annoyed at parents travelling with loud children
  • 50% often feel annoyed at parents travelling with crying babies
  • 65% would pay extra to be seated in a designated ‘quiet section,’ if offered by airlines


  • 76% wait to stow their luggage in the spot nearest to their seat; 24% stow their luggage in the first available spot in the overhead compartment
  • 51% feel that the person seated in the middle is entitled to both armrests


  • 31% recline when the other passenger was elderly or frail
  • 30% recline when the other passenger was particularly tall
  • 25% recline when the other passenger was noticeably pregnant


  • 36% have used social media while at the airport, check-in, at the gate or on the plane to communicate your travel experiences in hopes of getting a response in your favour

We are recliners mostly!

  • 48% recline when sleeping
  • 35% recline if it’s a long flight (3 hours or more)
  • 26% recline after meal service has finished
  • 18% recline if the person in front of them does
  • 16% immediately after take-off
  • 14% recline if they have a small baby travelling with them
  • 11% do not recline their seat because it doesn’t feel comfortable to do so
  • 6% do not recline their seat because it seems improper etiquette to do so
  • 17% do not recline [Net]

Some recline even if the person behind them:

  • Has their laptop out (33% recline)
  • Showed aggressive behavior/rude (32% recline)
  • Was elderly or frail (31% recline)
  • Was particularly tall (30% recline)
  • Was noticeably pregnant (25% recline)

Phone is our lifeline!
We turn off the phone /put it on flight mode, only

  • When the plane is airborne (4%)
  • When the plane is about to take off (38%)
  • As soon as they are seated in the aircraft (57%)

Misbehavior not allowed! 
If a passenger was misbehaving:

  • 69% said they would alert the flight attendant and ask them to handle
  • 30% said they would confront a misbehaving passenger directly
  • 20% said they will record the incident using your phone video/camera
  • 13% said they would shame a fellow passenger’s misbehavior via social channels
  • 11% said they would Tweet about it
  • Only 20% said they would remain quiet/ignore
Most annoying/ offensive passengers in a flight %
Rear Seat Kicker – the passenger who constantly kicks the seat in front of them 52
The Boozer – the disruptive passenger who has enjoyed a few too many alcoholic beverages before or during the flight 50
Audio Insensitive – the passenger who talks so loudly everyone around him can hear his conversation or turns the volume on his music up so loud everyone around him knows what song he is listening to 49
Inattentive Parents – parents who have no control over or pay no attention to their crying, whining or misbehaved children 48
The Queue Jumper – the passenger who rushes to deplane before those seated in front of them 43
Chatty Cathy – the neighbor who strikes up a conversation and won’t stop 42
Seat-back Guy – the passenger who reclines his seat all the way back as soon as the plane is off the ground 40
The Armrest Hog – the neighbor who takes both the armrests 40
The Aromatic Passenger – the passenger with poor hygiene or who is wearing too much perfume or cologne 39
Pungent Foodies– the passenger who brings food with a strong smell on board 37
The Undresser – the passenger who removes his/her shoes, socks or a few too many layers of clothing 36
Mad Bladder – the window seat passenger who makes frequent visits to the bathroom 34
The Single and Ready to Mingle – the passenger who flirts with his/her seatmates 33
The Amorous – the couple who displays an inappropriate level of public affection toward one another 30


The study was conducted online via GfK’s Global Omnibus (Globo Bus), which is designed to be representative of the adult online population. The study consisted of 1,002 interviews conducted between February 3-6, 2017 among Indian adults aged 18+. The data were statistically weighted by gender, age, and region so that the respondents are representative of the Indian online population.



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