3 types of passengers who deserve to be banned from commercial flights

3 types of passengers who deserve to be banned from commercial flights


They’re inconsiderate. They irritate you. And sometimes, they infect you. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could ban passengers like that from the plane?

Two “no-fly” lists already exist. The government has one, which is a subset of the Terrorist Screening Database, or terrorist watchlist. Generally, you land on that list because you might blow up a plane. Airlines also maintain smaller lists of passengers whose business is unwelcome. You can get on it by threatening a crew member or misbehaving on a flight.

If you’ve been wondering whether the airlines should expand their own no-fly lists, you’re not alone. After a difficult summer for air travel, which included several frustrating incidents, people are looking for solutions. The idea of having stricter standards for in-flight behavior makes some sense.

Inconsiderate passengers

Joseph Flanagan, an engineer from Golden, Colorado, thinks the kind of passenger he sat next to on a recent flight should be blacklisted.

“We were barely 10 minutes into the flight when he pulled off both his shirt and his shoes,” he recalls. “The sight of a bare body in an enclosed public environment was disconcerting. Then he propped his damp feet on the chair in front of him. Judging by the ensuing stench, neither his socks nor his shoes had seen water or sunlight for quite some time.”

Inconsiderate passengers come in all shapes and sizes. They’re the ones who occupy the bathroom for half an hour, doing their hair and makeup while the other passengers grit their teeth and wait. They’re the bin hogs who place their carry-ons above your seat and then walk 10 rows back.

Should passengers have to take a basic manners test and submit to personal hygiene inspection before they’re allowed to board a plane? Passengers like Flanagan, and many others forced to endure a flight next to a traveler who couldn’t care less, would support that.

Irritating passengers

One of the most irritating passengers, of course, is the one who talks nonstop. As a result, you can’t sleep, can’t listen to music, can’t get any work done. Wouldn’t it be great if we could require passengers to take a monastic vow of silence for the duration of the flight?

How many of us have wanted to shush an overly chatty seatmate? (Photo: vitapix/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

But that’s not the only thing that irritates air travelers.

“Everyone who sits down in their seat and then immediately reclines as far back as possible should be banned,” says Phillip Berg, who works for a library in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey.

Airlines are already working on that in their own way. Spirit Airlines locks some of its seats in place (the term it uses is “pre-recline”) to keep passengers from fighting. Delta recently implemented similar restrictions to “protect customers’ personal space.” 

Want to know how to protect passengers’ personal space? Give them more of it instead of taking it away. Just a thought.

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Irritants surround us on a plane. They range from the XL seat sprawler who refuses to buy a second seat, to the toddler who uses his tray table as a drum set. There’s no easy way to detect an irritating passenger – until it’s too late.

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