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From armrest hogging to bathroom hopping, the dos and don'ts of plane etiquette and mile-high manners

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There's nothing worse than being wedged between a snoring seat-recliner and a drunken blabbermouth on a seven-hour flight to Istanbul.

It's bad enough being cooped up inside an airless cabin for hours on end, without adding in nuisance passengers - whether that's a juvenile seat-kicker or inadvertent snuggler (complete with pools of drool on your shoulder).

That's why the folks over at travel search engine kayak.co.uk have put together a handy summary of serial offenders when it comes to plane etiquette and mile-high manners.

They've identified ten different types of travelling irritant ranked on a barometer from annoying to well, very annoying.

They based their data on a OnePoll survey of over 1,000 UK travellers. Of those polled, 55% found reclining seats without permission to be the biggest in-flight irritation, with over-chatty passengers ranking next on the list. A massive 51% rated that as annoying, with 8% of those questionedadmitting that they even feigned sleep in order to avoid any kind of interaction with their next-door neighbours. 

People moving around the cabin was voted as one of the lesser offences, with just 10% of people mentioning it as a nuisance. And nervous flyers were regarded as the least annoying in-flight frustration, with 8% of those questioned listing it as an aggravating factor.

Crying and misbehaving children (45%), music playing through headphones (33%) and snoring (21%) all ranked highly.

The snorer can make live difficult

The snorer can make live difficult

Kayak experts created an infographic from the data, with a tip on how to deal with each individual bug bear. Their advice includes:

The Armrest Hogger: Think of it as a seat divider, rather than an armrest and problems will ease. Inch your way in by placing just your elbow on it, which will leave plenty of space for your greedy neighbour to use it for their elbow – then everyone’s a winner.

The Chatterbox: If your neighbour strikes up conversation, engage for a short while – it won’t hurt you; they are only being friendly. We Brits find it difficult to be honest and direct but don’t be afraid to say, “I’m so sorry to be so anti-social but I’m just going to shut my eyes for a while” or words to that effect.

The Aisle Seat Snoozer: You find yourself needing the toilet during the flight but are faced with an awkward human obstacle. In the event of this happening, you are left with one option only: gently tap the sleeping offender on the shoulder and ask them to move. Under no circumstances must you attempt to clamber over the person, as it’s likely you will disturb them anyway and be caught in an uncompromising straddle position.

The Snuggler: It’s really quite flattering that the stranger next to you thinks of you as snuggle-material for when they fall asleep onto your shoulder. But one must respect personal space boundaries, especially in confined spaces. Cough repeatedly to jolt them out their slumber, they won’t cuddle up to you again if they think you’re harbouring germs.

The Merry Flyer: Should you have a tipsy passenger near you, heed this warning: avoid any eye contact at all costs. Any direct exchanges with the intoxicated individual and you may land up with an enemy on your hands at 30,000 feet – or even worse, a new best friend. It’s much wiser to alert the staff rather than try to intervene yourself.

The Surly Cabin Crew Member: Nobody likes a brisk flight attendant, but confrontation in front of others will only make matters much worse. If you have an issue, quietly ask to speak to the cabin manager or better still, write a firm letter once home.

See more in the infographic, below:

jet infographic

Photos: Getty Images

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