Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2016 12:23 GMT

The Rear Seat Kicker has been named Britain’s most annoying on-flight passenger according to new research from travel website Expedia.co.uk.

The Passenger Preferences Index, a worldwide study into the preferences and behaviours of flyers around the world, has identified the traveller types we wish we could avoid when flying, with those who constantly kick the seat in front of them voted the most unbearable by Brits (41 per cent).

Inattentive Parents who have no control over misbehaving children (39 per cent), Seat-back Guy, the person who fully reclines his or her seat as soon as the plane takes off (30 per cent), and The Heavy-Weight (24 per cent) closely follow in the league of passengers Brits find most irritating.

The study conducted by Northstar, which surveyed more than 11,000 travellers across 22 countries uncovered other traits we love to hate… among them the disruptive drunken behaviour of The Boozer (25 per cent), armrest hogging (13 per cent) and inappropriate PDAs of Amorous Couples which turn off seven per cent of British travellers.

The British Reserve comes through strongly in the findings, as Brits are among the least likely to strike up conversation with fellow travellers (20 per cent)1.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that the majority (63 per cent) bury their heads in books, magazines, and newspapers to seek solace when flying long-haul. In fact, a significant number (16 per cent) say they would be willing to pay extra for a quiet zone area.

The survey also suggests that flyers from Mexico (38 per cent), India (33 per cent), China (33 per cent) and Germany (33 per cent) could be among the worse people for Brits to sit next to, as they’re the chattiest on-flight companions. In contrast, those from Japan who by their own admission are the most anti-social2 would make for better neighbouring passengers.

Other coping strategies adopted by Brits to endure long-haul flights include walking around the cabin, sleeping, listening to music and enjoying in a tipple3.

“Our goal with this global study is to understand travellers’ differing experiences and preferences for air travel,” said Andy Washington, Managing Director, Northern Europe, Brand Expedia.

“We all enjoy jetting off on our holidays but it’s clear that certain passenger behaviours can be very challenging. While you can’t always determine exactly who you’ll be sat next to, Expedia allows you to tailor your flight so it can be as comfortable as possible.”

Most annoying air passengers

Rear Seat Kicker (1.) 34% (1.) 41%
Inattentive Parents (2.) 33% (2.) 39%
The Aromatic Passenger (3.) 30% (6.) 23%
The Boozer (4.) 24% (4.) 25%
The Snorer (5.) 23% (7.) 16%
Audio Insensitive (6.) 22% (7.) 16%
Chatty Cathy (7.) 21% (9.) 14%
Seat-back Guy (8.) 19% (3.) 30%
The Heavy-Weight (9.) 19% (5.) 24%
The Armrest Hog (10.) 12% (10.) 13%


For more information, please contact Expedia Press Office on 0203 668 6910 or email at expediaukpress@thirdcity.co.uk.

Notes to editors

The study was conducted online by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm, between December 11-29, 2015. 11,026 adults, who have flown on an airplane in the past two years, from across 22 countries were questioned.

Additional insight on the Expedia Passenger Preferences Index can be found at Expedia’s Viewfinder blog.

  • 1.Statistics relate to long haul flights (10 hours or more)
  • 2.8 per cent of Japanese respondents state they strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to them or across the aisle from them when flying. Out of all nationalities questioned, this represents the lowest score.
  • 3.British respondents stated they use the following strategies to endure a long-haul flight: Sleep (73 per cent), walking around the cabin (45 per cent), listening to music (41 per cent), and consuming alcoholic beverages (23 per cent) 

About Expedia

Expedia® is one of the world's leading full-service online travel agents offering access to hundreds of thousands of hotels including boutique hotels as well as major hotel brand names and access to over 400 airlines along with a wide selection of car hire and destination experiences. By combining choice with specialist tools to help refine these options, Expedia.co.uk helps travellers to find and create the trip that best matches their individual requirements. Now with the award-winning Expedia mobile app you can plan and book flights and hotels on the move. The Expedia app offers helpful tools to manage your trip including: airport terminal maps; hotel check out time and flight status notifications; maps to your hotel and a host of other features. Expedia.co.uk partners with loyalty programme Nectar in the UK enabling its customers to collect 200 Nectar points on flight only, hotel or car hire bookings and 1000 points on package purchases through www.expedia.co.uk.

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