THE BLOG
11/26/2013 01:10 pm ET | Updated Jan 26, 2014

Don't Be 'That' Person This Holiday Season

Chestnuts are roasting on open fires, Jack Frost is probably nipping at your nose, and travelers across the U.S. are getting ready to take to the skies for the holiday travel season. So, in the name of keeping this time of year jolly, Cheapflights.com has turned to the traveling public to find out what behaviors are sure to land you on the naughty flier traveler list.

A Cheapflights.com survey of 1,081 Americans focused on the good, the bad and the ugly of flying. And the ugliest are those quirks from others that irk us the most as passengers. What tops the list? Seat kicking! Just about 20 percent of Americans say having their seats kicked by fellow travelers is the most annoying thing that can happen during their travels. Having someone jab at your seat back is followed closely by talking loudly or incessantly, and letting children misbehave.

Here's the full break down on the most annoying traveler behaviors:

  • Kick your seat (19.33%)
  • Talk loudly or incessantly (17.58%)
  • Let children misbehave (17.11%)
  • Put feet on your armrest/tray table/into your leg room (8.14%)
  • Carry on excessive amounts/oversized luggage (6.48%)
  • Recline his or her seat (6.01%)
  • Yank on your seat back (5.27%)

But even when faced with these travel faux pas, most fliers tend not to let their inner Scrooge come out: More than one third will often just seethe quietly and do nothing, while another third often decide not to let these behaviors bother them at all.

  • Seethe quietly and do nothing (34.90%)
  • Let it go/not be bothered (34.52%)
  • Confront the passenger directly (29.64%)
  • Retaliate subtly (e.g., recline back on the seat kicker) (18.57%)
  • Report the traveler to the flight attendant (14.54%)
  • Ask for a new seat (13.98%)
  • Rant on social media (9.29%)

To compare the good and the bad of flying, we also did a little digging into what were really the most common travel incidents, both fortunate and unfortunate. While some standard complaints, namely screaming children and long delays on the tarmac, did pop up for more than half of our respondents, there were more than 30 percent who reported having been upgraded and about one-quarter scoring free food and drinks, among other positive experiences. We even had some who had life-changing events, like meeting a future spouse or being inspired to invent a product or start a company.

Most common "unfortunate" travel moments
  • Screaming child (61.70%)
  • Long delay stuck on the tarmac (54.21%)
  • Lost luggage (41.35%)
  • Missed connection (35.34%)
  • Smelly fellow passenger (30.90%)
  • Snoring neighbor (22.02%)
  • Out of order entertainment system (18.04%)
Most common "fortunate" travel moments
  • Bumped to business or first class (31.36%)
  • Scored a free drink or meal (26.64%)
  • Got someone's phone number (7.59%)
  • Joined the "mile-high club" (3.42%)
  • Secured a new job (1.85%)
  • Met a future spouse or significant other (1.67%)
  • Landed a new client (1.67%)
  • Been inspired to invent a product/start a company (1.67%)

"As the annual flux of holiday travelers gear up to take the air in the coming days and weeks, we all need to pack an extra dose of patience and consideration and be aware of how we impact those around us," said Melisse Hinkle, site editor and travel expert at Cheapflights.com. "Travel is, to some degree, a team effort. We can work together to make or break the success of the trip for everyone. Being good travel companions can go a long way toward keeping the journey smooth and, at times, even rewarding."

The weather outside may be frightful this holiday season, but be a good traveler (for goodness' sake).

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