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Road Rudies: The 8 Rude Travelers You’ll Meet This Holiday Season

Ahh, holiday travel. Long lines. Packed planes. Short fuses. Is it any wonder many of us dread air travel over the holidays? Travelocity’s recent ‘Rudeness Poll’ identified travelers’ biggest pet peeves and what’s considered the worst behavior on the part of other travelers. Did you ever stop to consider, though, that maybe you’re the rude traveler? In other words, it’s not them, it’s you. If you identify with any of the personalities below, remember a little courtesy goes a long way to making everyone’s journey more enjoyable. Happy Holidays!

Travelocity Rudeness Poll Graphic

The Over Packer: Hey, if you want to pay $100 round-trip to check two bags, that’s your business. Your over packing, however, becomes everyone else’s business when you stuff your oversized bag into the overhead.  You may have snuck your too-big bag by the airline employees, but you will not escape the judgment of your fellow travelers forced to gate check because of you taking up all the space.

The Over-Eager Boarder: Hey buddy, what’s the rush? You know the one – the guy or gal who, for some inexplicable reason, is dying to get on that plane. Frankly, I would prefer to spend as little time on the plane as possible, but these travelers crowd the boarding line in an effort to be first.

The Smelly Seatmate: What’s worse than bumping knees and elbows with a perfect stranger on a crowded flight? Bumping knees and elbows with a smelly stranger on a crowded flight. Just because the airplane may feel like a cattle car doesn’t mean you should smell like cattle.

The Seat Kicker: Perhaps you are a child who doesn’t know any better. Perhaps you’re an adult with unusually long legs and really can’t help it. Perhaps you have a tick that causes your leg  to jerk out uncontrollably. None are a consolation to the person who has the misfortune of sitting in front of you.

The Loud Talker: This may come as a shock, but no one on your flight cares about how totally stoked you are for your trip to Vegas, man! Other things we don’t care about include (but are not limited to): your good / bad relationship with your boyfriend / girlfriend, your pet and your horrible boss.

The V.I.P. De-planer: Newsflash: We all want to get off the plane. Not sure, then, why your desire to get off the plane entitles you to exit in front of the people seated in the rows ahead of you. Oh! You must have somewhere important to be! Since the rest of us just took that flight for the pure fun of it, by all means go first.

The Parent of the Misbehaving Child: When a child’s behavior disrupts other travelers, no one blames the child. They’re just kids for crying out loud! We do, however, judge you, parents, if you do nothing to get the situation under control. Your kids are cute, so we’ll cut them some slack. On the other hand, you, parent, stopped being cute long ago.

The Naked (or Near-Naked) Traveler: If you’re a woman, we ask you to keep your top on. If you’re a man, we ask you to wear more to cover your bottom than a skimpy Speedo. If you’re a child, we ask your parents (see above) to not allow you to be naked in public.

READERS: Do you identify with any of the personalities above? Or have you encountered a road rudie that wasn’t covered in this post? Sound off in the comments below!


My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.

How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.

Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.

Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.

First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.

First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.

Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.

My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.



I’ll go first. I may have been an over packer once or twice.

May @ Anne and May

The VIP De-Planer MAKES ME BONKERS. I’ve now become a rude traveler that didn’t make your list just to deal with them. I am, the Aggressive Aisle-Stander.

If I see a VIP De-Planer headed my way, I stand in the aisle and won’t let them pass.


The Aggressive Aisle Stander! That’s a great one! How about the Passive Aggressive Seat Pusher? This is when the person in front of you reclines their seat and you don’t kick it exactly, but sort of push your knees into it periodically. I do this.


I rolled my eyes at the Over-Eager Boarder until they started charging more to check bags. Now, being the last one to board means zero overhead space for my poor carry-on. :(

(I still don’t wait in line, though. I just pack even lighter).


Please add: Dear Harley Davidson exec who sat next to me in the bulkhead exit row on a 9 hour flight from Paris-CDG to Detroit. When you removed worn running shoes to reveal dirty socks, I was embarrassed for you. But when you sat with your leg crossed with ankle on your knee, I nearly gagged but was again too polite to say anything. How could any traveler be so thoughtless?


Even worse than the Seat Kicker and the Seat Pusher, I think, is the Seat Grabber: the person sitting behind you who can’t get up to go to the bathroom (every 30 minutes) without grabbing your seat and reclining it, only to let it go and give you whiplash on the way back up. Ugh!


I’m usually the VIP Deplaner, but to all those who encounter me, please know it’s not cause I’m some retard who thinks he’s more important than others. Remember that some people like me have connecting flights, and that we have literally mere minutes to get to the other side of the airport and board our next plane [I damn near missed a connecting flight from Cin to Frankfurt because people wouldn't listen to my pleas of "please let me out first so I don't miss my flight"].

Jason Shamroski

The Seat Grabber, my arch enemy. On my last flight I was in a real bad mood and the guy behind kept grabbing my seat to get up. Finally I ask if I could grab his seat a few times and he got pissed at me. So my mission the rest of that flight was to make him miserable.


@USN ENS: Your inability to plan your flights ahead of time is NOT my problem. Maybe if we make you miss your flight enough times you’ll stop being a douche and plan ahead.

@genevieve_brown: Call it whatever you want, you’re still an ass who needs to sit still and quit kicking the damn seat!


Where is the mention of the straight up insane flyer? I had one recently… I was sitting in the far back row in the center with the isle seat open and had put my ice filled glass down in the isle seat. Some older man asked to sit there and I simply nodded not looking up from my reading or remembering about the glass of ice. He immediately jumped up and began cussing at me telling a stewardess that i was a “fucking asshole.” he spent the whole flight trying to stare me down and loudly cussing and threw a pillow that only nearly missed my head. Needless to say I found this all rather hilarious and had a rather funny flight.


This author is obviously the lazy traveler who thinks it’s alright to have everyone wait on her. I like to spend as little time as I can at the airport.

I am an over-eager boarder because I want to get overhead space especially in this day and age of everyone carrying on everything they own. I am also a tall guy that really needs the floor space. I also don’t care to be standing in line behind people who take 10 mins to figure out how luggage goes into overhead, or who have to practically change clothes in the aisle while everyone else is trying to get on the plane. I’d rather sit on the plane and zone out into my game, video, or nap knowing I don’t have to worry about missing a flight.

I am a VIP de-plainer for all the same reasons I board a plane quick. Plus I know the sooner I can get out of the way, the better it is for everyone else to get to their stuff.

If you want to take your time and mozy around, fine. But don’t get all mad at and in the way of those that would like catch a connecting flight or simply get moving because we don’t want to waste our lives in an airport.

That said, if you are honestly trying to be efficient at boarding and de-planing, you won’t get anything but a polite smile and a little help when needed from me.


I get less annoyed with other passengers, as I am with airline crew who are rude and act as if they are doing us a favor for letting us travel with them.


I have no problem with the VIP Deplaner if they’re like USN NE. I often don’t have the luxury of booking well in advance (business travel, for example) or don’t have the options because I fly out of an airport that makes it difficult to connect sometimes. Even an hour layover can turn into very little time if your flight gets in late and you have to rush to the other side of the airport.

My biggest annoyance is the oblivious flier. These are usually people who get on a plane once every few years, and don’t really know what they’re doing. They hold up the security line because they aren’t prepared, they block the aisles because they can’t figure out how to get their bags to fit in the overhead, and they ask the flight attendant ten questions before they can give a simple drink order. Am I biased because I travel a lot — yes. But if those people would do some research ahead of time it wouldn’t be an issue.

Dr. Malcolm Walsh of the Walsh Institute

Since when is it wrong to recline in your seat? They’re made to recline.


what kindof alarms me with that chart is that, the third most hated thing to sit next to is a large person, who most likely will also be a #1(poor hygiene), but the majority of people (44%) feel overweight people don’t need to pay for the extra seat they take up. wtf

Now I may be the only person to experience this but say your on a busy flight, all the seats full, you’ve paid for yours, but someone who has made poor dietary choices has the arm rest up and is fully spread across your seat as well. They officially have no room for you on the flight. So you are asked to leave the plane and are stuck trying to deal with the airline to get reimbursed.

so overweight people who aren’t required to pay for the requisite space they inhabit, you are my nemesis.


The worst are the Recliners for sure. I’m sorry that some of us are taller than Napoleon, or have both of our legs. I think that every airline should change the recline button so that it works for the seat in front of you. This way you have to ask the person behind you if you can recline, and how much.

I’m over 6 feet tall. It’s not like I can buy another seat like a fat person. If I sit on the aisle and try to have my legs out, I get yelled at by stewards for causing a hazard. Yes, if the plane is crashing, I plan on leaving my legs there for evacuees to trip over.


I was on a flight from nyc to tokyo near one of the center bathrooms.. throughout the flight i believe i counted about 12 people who would exit the bathroom and not shut the door. In a dark plane, this meant the door would fly open and illuminate a couple rows of passengers while delaying an onslaught of stench.

To all you bastards who refused to make sure a bathroom door CLICKED shut before returning to your seat.. damn you.

John Davis

Hit it up JD I like it!



I’ll never understand why everyone stands up when the plane stops on landing and rushes to get their stuff from overhead, then stand with their necks bent under the overhead bins, waiting for people to get off. Why doesn’t everyone just chill out and stay seated until they actually let people out?

The Over-Eager Boarder: Germans are notorious for rushing the gate even when rows are called out, they’ll all just swoop to the ticket-checker in a mad rush. I’m allowed to say this because my wife is German! :)


@Chris aka Overeager Boarder/VIP De-planer, your scornful comments strike me as that of a self-centered douchebag. You essentially consider yourself to be an elite “in-the-know” flyer and therefore entitled to preferential treatment. It only takes a moment of consideration to realize your reasons fail to hold validity. As if anyone really cares to stand in line behind other passengers or anyone enjoys being jostled about during boarding and deplaning, it’s clear that almost every flyer can make the same claims you make. Yet obviously, not everybody can be FIRST to get on or off the plane.

With regard to this, I just don’t understand why it’s difficult to not just listen to the airline crew directions. There’s a reason the airline crews announce boarding rows. It benefits EVERYBODY, overeager doucebags included. Likewise, I’ve been on several flights that have been delayed, through no fault of the passengers. As such, airline crews frequently make announcements asking all passengers to politely allow other passengers with impending connecting flights to deplane first. It’s a very reasonable COURTESY and only self-important jerks would genuinely feel compelled to de-plane before those passengers needing to catch their connections.

Alas, there are always the self-appointed VIPs that can’t help themselves from circumventing the crew announcements. Always have to be looking after their own pathetic, petty hides and rushing to be first on and first off.

In fact, this reminds me of a particular passenger on one flight. This classy (NOT) gentleman was seated in the very last row of the plane but had developed a clever “travel trick”. Upon boarding, he quickly placed BOTH of his carry-on bags into the overhead bins in the FIRST row. Then he proceeded to his seat in the rear of the plane. Maybe just a little unthoughtful towards the other passengers in the front, but you gotta secure that overhead space while it lasts, right Chris? Upon landing, he was fist to stand from his seat and then rush to the front of the plane to retrieve his carry-ons and then exit. What an impressive display of being “efficient at boarding and de-planing”! Strike that, more like what an impressive display of being a uber-douchebag. Was that you, Chris?? Must be something special to be this conceited…

Pied Pfeffer

My Personal Airline Travel Rules…Be Tollerant of:
~ppl. who are making a dash to catch a timely connection, if I’m not in a rush. It’s more serene to let them make the mad dash while finishing a magazine article or book chapter.
~Infrequent travelers that have no clue. Constantly remind myself that they don’t know the unwritten etiquette for flying, so just help them out. It will help other fellow travelers as well.
~The person next to you who isn’t interested in making an inflight friend. Just let them be.
~The person who wants to chat when I don’t. It took 100 flights to learn that a “You’ll have to excuse me, but I need to (work, sleep, read)” works wonders and gets the message across without offending.
~Parents of children not old enough to speak. I’m not a parent, but know enough that they are at the mercy of the child.

Airlines Should:
~Customize planes to accommodate people of the majority of shapes and sizes.
~Hire agents, attendants and pilots with an ounce of sense of humor and compassion. You have no idea how much it would reduce air rage. And no…it’s something that cannot be taught.

What I Wish Travelers Would Stop Doing:
~Please, PLEASE do not grasp the headrest in front of you to pull yourself into a standing position. That is what the arm rests are for.
~And my biggest pet peeve, which hasn’t been mentioned so far, so maybe it’s only me…We are in baggage claim. The conveyor belt starts moving. Everyone would benefit if we would all stand a yard or 2 away from the area. Then, those who have their luggage come out could easily step up, remove it, and move on. There is no need for a family of 5 to line up at (and sit on the edge of) the baggage claim machine to retrieve 1 bag.

Whew…that felt good. Maybe there’s an opportunity in the psychology industry for airline travel therapy. They should set up offices in the airports.

Well-wished to all fellow travelers. Pied.


My top annoyance: Use of the word ‘deplane.’


Sorry tall people (Hartwell). I will not stay seated upright and comfortable because you happen to be born tall. I paid for that 4-5 degree recline and I’m darn well going to use it.
However, I’ll gladly switch seats with you so we can both be comfortable. Just ask nicely. And don’t forcefully jab your knees into my seat back. I don’t know you, and I certainly don’t know that you’re tall.


How about the “assistance-button pusher”? Constantly pressing the assistance button, making that insanely loud BEEP again and again. Really I don’t know why the rest of the passengers need to be able to hear it, surely a little panel should light up, displaying the seat number that needs assistance.


I was sitting in the back row on a flight once and I had to move to the middle. The guy sitting down next to me was a pretty big guy so we ended up being pretty squished, but that’s not really anybody’s fault. What did annoy me was that he was wearing a big ass cowboy hat that he wouldn’t take off. If your hat, is poking somebody, you might consider taking it off.

I guess I don’t really mind VIP Deplaners as long as they’re trying to make a connecting flight. But I surmise that the vast majority of them are just dickpies that think they’re special. If I’m on the aisle, and I can tell that you’re not making a connecting flight (I can always tell, because they’re always guilty of other flight etiquette infractions), then you’re getting tripped.

pissed off

I had this fucking hesidic jew not only recline his seat at every opportunity during a 14hr SYD-LAX flight but fucking bounce to make it go more. At, 6’4″ my legs are pretty much tin canned in and this jewboy fucks bouncing the recline killed me.
I never get angry but this almost made me kill


To “pissed off”: What does being Jewish have to do with anything? Racist.


1. The French ruddest ass### on earth 2. drunk French 3. drunk French with offspring from hell (redundancy they are all from hell)
2. Germans, loud always drunk, smell take up their seat your seat the person next to you and spill everything everywhere.
3. TSA workers traveling…they have a sense of entitlement that is breathless in it’s arrogance.


I pretty much second Pied Pfeffers comments.

Definitely most annoying is that almost everybody waits for their luggage 4 inches from the baggage claim machine, blocking the sight completely. Standing a couple of yards away would make it possible for everybody to see the luggage and when their luggage comes, take a couple of steps to fetch it.

Beside that, try to be patient and nice to fellow passengers and they will be nice to you (of course you can, and sometimes should, tell them to stop or change something, but depending on what reaction you wish to have, it’s important that you tell them that in the right way).


My husband and I pretty much gave flying coach and will travel in first class only now. Our reason is that we both are very tall and have disabilities. We had so many problems in coach wiht our height and reclining seats (and even in Economy Plus), that we need the extra legroom. It is healthier for us. It is well worth the extra cost to us.

The only thing we have ever had issues with is our travel agent scheduling connecting flights too close together and we have had to disembark the plane quickly. We have found though that folks are pretty cool and kind when you have a connecting flight so close to landing on your curent flight. I have gotten better at letting her know to allow enough time for us to make our connecting flight with lots of time to spare, but it does not help when the flight you are on lands well over 30 minutes to 45 minutes late. That will throw a damper on our extra time to get to our next flight. Somtimes it just cannot be helped. But as regular travellers, we have found most people to be sympathetic to that scenario, as they too have been in the same boat at one time.


…as to the child kicking the back of my seat, I usually just reach back, grab their leg and give it a shake. It seems to do the trick. What drives me nuts is the toddler talks nonstop.

And then there is the person who cannot traverse the aisle without grabbing each headrest they pass, and strands of my long hair if I don’t duck quickly enough!

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I hate it when a child misbehaves on the plane, sometimes they are really annoying. But you are right, the parents should do something to get the situation under control.

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