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What Do Americans Find Unacceptable on Airplanes?



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What Do Americans Find Unacceptable on Airplanes?

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What Do Americans Find Unacceptable on Airplanes?

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Flight etiquette has become a big topic as more and more people travel and as legroom and luggage space seem to be shrinking.

In this graphic, we bring the results of a survey that asked Americans about airplane behaviors they consider acceptable or unacceptable.

Methodology: The poll was conducted online from May 23 to 26, 2024, among 1,152 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected based on the 2019 American Community Survey. The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

A Review of Flight Manners

More than 80% of Americans agree that it’s unacceptable for passengers to let their children play in the aisle or for other passengers to get drunk on the plane.

Meanwhile, 66% consider it unacceptable for passengers not to pay attention during the safety demonstration, but 20% consider it okay.

BehaviorAcceptable (%)Unacceptable (%)Not Sure (%)
Let their kids play in the aisle5869
Get drunk9828
Leave their seat during turbulence78211
Watch a movie without headphones11819
Leave trash in the seatback pocket11799
Use both armrests when someone is sitting next to them117415
Eat strong-smelling food146817
Not pay attention during the safety demonstration206615
Exit the plane before people in the rows in front of them146521
Not set their devices to airplane mode166419

Leaving the seat during turbulence is not only dangerous but is considered a no-no for the majority (82%) of passengers. If you want to watch a movie, make sure you have your headphones to avoid complaints, as 81% of people say it’s unacceptable to listen out loud.

Acceptable Behaviors

Finally, here are some of the less contentious behaviors according to the poll results.

The majority of respondents (51%) consider it acceptable to ask to switch seats with another passenger. Meanwhile, if you are one of those who likes to make friends, chatting with a stranger next to you for the entire flight is generally acceptable (46%).

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