Don’t Be *That* Person On the Plane

People are really, really annoying. There’s no doubt about it. Despite my desire to maintain the overly sunshine-and-rainbow delusion that all people are lovely individuals who almost never clip their toenails in public, it’s just not reality.

Chances are, the majority of the people you have encountered and will encounter on a plane have been perfectly normal people who don’t talk to you nonstop on a nonstop from San Francisco to Paris. Most likely they’ve kept their mouth breathing to a minimum, and they didn’t seem to ooze odors from every orifice. Most likely.

Sometimes, you’re not so lucky. Sometimes you get Del Griffith as a seat partner.

Behold, four airplane travel types that no one likes (please don’t be any of these people):

1. The Cougher

Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is covered in Kindergarten and is practically a curriculum standard. However, some people don’t retain this information into adulthood.

When you’re on a plane, it’s already bad enough that you’re confined in a space that’s 50% recycled air. It’s perfectly ghastly and inexcusable that a grown adult chooses to blast their germ-riddled spittle into the air and onto every surface around them in such a confined space.


Sharing is NOT caring on an airplane.

Cover your fucking mouth like the civilized human you are pretending to be with your Ann Taylor pant suit.

And, for your convenience:


2. The Farter

OK. Lemme be real a minute. We all have to fart. In fact, I’ve heard holding in your farts can be hazardous to your health. So, it’s unreasonable to expect anyone and everyone to cease farting the entire length of their flight (especially when you’re flying halfway around the world on a 9+ hour flight).

However, if after your test fart (the little baby toot you let out to test the waters, er-air) you’re met with something that could melt the fuselage, I hate to break it to you, you’re gonna have to hold those in.

When you have one of those metal melting farts, this better be you.


Some things you can do to prevent excess gas during your flight are:

  • Eat smaller portions the day before and immediately leading up to your flight
  • Take Beano or other gas-reducer
  • Avoid greasy, fattening foods, as well as wheat, lactose, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, lentils, beans, carbonated soft drinks, onions, pears, and all other foods
  • Essentially, eat NOTHING before a flight

Really, it’s for the common good.

There are no private trees to fart behind on a plane. I repeat: THERE IS NO WHERE TO FART (other than the bathroom, but do you really want to be the person who destroys the bathroom on a long flight? No, you don’t).

3. The What Was That(er)

Farts aren’t always the worst thing that can come out of someone sitting next to you on a plane.

Sometimes, your next door neighbor sounds like they are working on an almighty hair ball. Sometimes, your seat partner coughs up mucus and spits it out in their barf bag. Sometimes, people moan/whisper/belch/mouth breathe/mumble/groan without end or for any discernible reason.

My favorite idiot. This was on a bus, but you get the idea.

No one wants to listen to the plethora of noises your body makes. If you can’t help it and your repetitive throat clearing is a verifiable tic, I feel for you and you’re excused.

But, if you can hold in your whispered devil worshipping incantations or that weird belch/cough thing, quit being an annoying asshole already. Please and thank you.

My favorite annoying asshole.


4. The Groomer

In case anyone here wasn’t already aware, it’s not proper etiquette to do any sort of extreme grooming in your seat on the plane. Basic freshening up, like running a brush through your hair, applying a covert swipe of deodorant, or wiping your greasy face down with a face wipe can all be tolerated.

What should never be tolerated, however, is:

  • Clipping your finger or toe nails
  • Filing your finger or toe nails
  • Cleaning wax out of your ears (especially when you place your wax-coated q-tips on the tray table)
  • Popping zits or squeezing black heads out of the end of your nose
  • Scratching excessively anywhere below the belt
  • Picking crusted crap out from under your long, brown finger nails

This last one I actually had to endure during a 9 hour flight from Vancouver to London. A man sat down in the aisle seat next to my boyfriend, settled himself in his spot, and then proceeded to pick his long, poop brown nails the ENTIRE FLIGHT.

It was a real test of my gag reflex not to barf all over him.

If you have a gross habit that is not exactly socially acceptable behavior, IT DOESN’T BELONG ON AN AIRPLANE WHERE YOU ARE INCHES AWAY FROM A STRANGER FOR HOURS ON END.

*Bonus* When I was *that* person on the plane

Sometimes, we really have no intention of being *that* person, but it just happens.

Years ago, on a domestic flight with my then-boyfriend, I tried an Airborne immune supplement for the first time. Both my boyfriend and I had no idea how to take one. We popped them into our mouths, feeling pretty smart and proactive about our health.

Just seconds later, we discovered our horrific mistake as our mouths ballooned with ever-growing fizz. Pretty quickly, we were literally frothing at the mouth.

The fizz was growing ever bigger and we both tried to swallow it down, hoping to minimize the embarrassing mistake we had made. Instead of swallowing it all quickly and silently, because the fizz was coming and coming with no end in sight, we both gagged and coughed and spit as orange-tinged froth overflowed and spilled down over our chins and all over our clothes.

The people next to us and across the aisle looked at us, shocked and disgusted, as we literally looked rabid.

The boyfriend was irate that I didn’t read the packaging and didn’t know you were supposed to put the tablet in a bottled water to dissolve before ingesting. Oops.

So, even without trying, one can be shocking, disgusting, and annoying.

If we all just read label directions more thoroughly, tried breathing through our noses more, and picked the dried crap out of our nails before getting on the plane, air travel would be so much more enjoyable.

What annoys you the most about the people you have to share a plane with? Let me know in the comments.

Author: fattymccupcakes

Just a thirty-something girl trying to love herself the way she is: fat, rolls, cellulite, and fabulousness.

106 thoughts on “Don’t Be *That* Person On the Plane”

  1. I haven’t flew in 16 years so can’t comment as don’t remember. But on trains/buses I hate people talking on mobile phones or listening to their music loudly or talking loudly. I’d prefer silence lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omg, I laughed at the coughing/no mouth-covering bit as that’s a real bugbear of mine too. Then I howled at the “baby toot” bit (I’ve been there lmao!), and then I had to imagine you and your boyfriend foaming at the mouth looking rabid. You paint an awesome picture ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The noises coming from other people that the guy in the video was having to endure is just part of living in China. The people here cough, snort, hack and spit all day. They are of the belief that if you have any sort of mucus or irritant in your system, it is unhealthy to keep it inside your body. There is no end to the people hacking up big loogies on the sidewalks. It is such a problem that neighboring countries (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong) actually have posted signs and laws in place to stop the practice by Chinese tourists.

    The people that I can’t stand on a plane are the people who are ignorant about social queues. For example, the person who won’t stop talking to you. I don’t mind visiting with the person next to me, but each of should be sensitive to the clues being dropped by the other person suggesting that they are done. I’m polite and won’t tell you to shut up, but it doesn’t mean I’m not imagining strangling you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My friend spent an academic year in Chengdu. She said her biggest pet peeve and the one thing she could never get used to was the hacking up snot on the streets. I think spitting is one of the most foul things ever, so I donโ€™t think Iโ€™d make it in China.

      Yes! I donโ€™t mind a quick polite conversation, but I am not a really chatty person, so thatโ€™s one of my biggest plane pet peeves!


  4. LoL……hysterical as always…..and gross……! Makes me feel less bad about not having been on a plane for 30 years….lol. I used to have a coworker who clipped her nails in her cubicle at work…..SO GROSS……on a plane would be totally UNACCEPTABLE!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love it! I fly a lot and can totally relate to all of this! I will admit, once, some old lady cut in front of me while embarking, lo and behold, he ended up in the seat in from of me…well, I may have let a few stinkers out just for revenge, hahaha.
    Once, I had a guy who was trying to hit on me while I was in the aisle and he was in the window seat and the poor girl in the middle seat had to suffer through his attempts while I was trying desperately to find a nice way to say thanks, but no thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The people who think that they can sit where ever they want. Like um no, excuse me person who decided that while everyone is still boarding to sit in the aisle seat of our row that I have SPECIFICALLY selected for my 14-hour flight, please put away your laptop and move to the seat on your ticket! Which is the window seat. If you didn’t want the window seat then you should have changed your seat when you had the chance just like everyone else!

    And also the elbow-er. I was fast asleep once (thank the sweet baby Jesus) and was woken up by an elbow to the ribs. Didn’t get an apology. Or the one who adjusted his headrest every 5 minutes on an hour and a half flight from Calgary to Vancouver. It’s an hour an a half dude. You don’t need to sleep for that and I don’t need your elbow in my face whenever you decide that the headrest isn’t headresty enough for you. Although I did kind of get him back (stop reading now if you don’t like gross things) – that was the flight that I threw up as we were landing and the change in cabin pressure caused my airsickness bag to break…all over his shoes…HAHA

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This happens a lot when taking European short hops. When they say you may have one bag on the plane; They mean ONE bag. And boarding is this huge long line. No numbers. No calling you in waves. You get to the gate and you stand in line. Every five minutes the over head tells you: x minutes til boarding, one bag only, please condense.
    Despite all this, while boarding every other person has to stop and condense down to one bag. The first few people, they’ll pull to the side so the rest of you can go on but then the pile of people at the side gets so big the whole line is waiting for people to condense down to one bag already. AGHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve got nothing. I don’t fly. I did go up in a light aircraft once (flown by my dad) but I’ve never gone commercial.

    Now the bus? There, I can (kinda) relate, as I did do some interesting travel by Greyhound in my past. The things that bugged me?

    -STOP talking to me! Do you see the open book in my hands? What part of this scene suggests I want to hear about your estranged 2nd cousin twice removed/naughty pets/neighbor’s bowel movements or cheating boyfriend? I’m a stranger, I don’t need your life story.
    -Control your children. If little Jimmy flys his plastic plane into my head one more time, he’s going out the window at freeway speeds.
    -Soft snack foods only, please? I really don’t like listening to the tectonic plates of your teeth as they grind through those hard candies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I HATE, HATE, HATE small talk with strangers. When that small talk turns into โ€œI really didnโ€™t need to know thatโ€ Iโ€™m in agony!
      I also dread being seated by children. My travel friend mentioned in previous posts wouldnโ€™t let me sit next to him when he had a full row all to himself. Right as the plane was about to shut its doors, a family with a young child sat in his row. He was rewarded with the kid puking the whole time. KARMA, ASSHOLE. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Karma…she’s such a bitch…but I love her to bits.

        I once got dumped by this guy who dumped me because he got shit-faced and slept with another woman (who he believed was more ‘his type’). I simply cleaned out any of my stuff left at his place and firmly closed the door behind me.

        Fast forward about a year, and I get a phone call from him. He asks me to ‘remove the curse’ I put on him, because he’s had an auto accident and ended up in the hospital with a heart attack.

        Karma…I love you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OMFG!!!! Insane! Karma is so tricky, though! Immediately upon ending the relationship because the grass was greener and all that BS, my exโ€™s upstairs neighborโ€™s apartment flooded into his bedroom. It ruined the only piece of furniture he got out of our break up. Not much longer after that, he had to have some teeth removed due to rot, and for a time he had to live above a dingy restaurant. However, heโ€™s doing far better now and is married. So, karma comes, but doesnโ€™t stay too long.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I was ROLLING with your orange frothy mouth story! Oh my God, that is hilarious!!! I can just imagine seeing that and being like “Oh shit, the zombie apocalypse is here people! And it’s ORANGE!”.
    That bus video . . nah. No. Fuck, that was hard to watch, listen to. Sometimes I am disgusted to be a part of the human race. Okay, lots of times, but there are times when it’s magnified, like . . that video.

    What annoys me most about people on an airplane? Hmm . . . the person who waves over a flight attendant every five minutes for no good reason. I always end up sitting next to this person, and I always think to myself that I’m gonna interject after the fifteenth such wave with something like “Yes, they want a seat in a different part of the plane,”. But I know there won’t be any seats and then that person will spite me by waving every two and a half minutes, and I’ll end up murdering them. I don’t want to go to prison over some douchebag, not worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. โ€œ…the zombie apocalypse is here people! And itโ€™s ORANGE!โ€ HILARIOUS ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. That had to be what it looked like!!! Have you ever watched Karl Pilkington in An Idiot Abroad? Thatโ€™s what the video clip is from. Heโ€™s HILARIOUS, but yeah, that part was just foul.
      THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE WORST. Iโ€™m sure the flight attendants just want to throw them out of the plane ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t flown too often, but the worse experience on a commercial flight (my ex was a pilot) was on the shortest trip: less than an hour. Some kid in front of me wasn’t allowed soda normally, but to keep him quiet, the mom let him have as much as he wanted from the flight attendant. Right before landing the kid puked all over the floor. His fluids came rolling back to wear my carry on bag was, so I had to ride the rest of the way with my legs to my chest, my bag on my head, and breathing through my shirt so I wouldn’t smell it. Fucking kids man!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LITERALLY MY WORST EFFING NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!! OMFG. What kills me about this is WHY IN GODโ€™S NAME would his parents think giving him soda, when he never has it, would be a good idea ON A FLIGHT?! Oh, my…I canโ€™t even.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I travel in Asia now, so I’ve had to get over it, tbh. But in my last office in the US, SEVERAL coworkers clipped their nails at their desks. In cubicles. For all the world to hear. MAJOR ANNOYANCE!

    (You didn’t ask for reasons, but fyi, in mainland China they spit everywhere. I’m impressed that lady used a plastic bag. The ancient wisdom is something like “better out than in”. And of course, now that the country is closing off to the western world again, western manners may never get here!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gah!! Why do people think itโ€™s cool to clip their nails at work?? Iโ€™ll never understand.

      I mean, I get the idea of โ€œbetter out than inโ€, but it wouldnโ€™t hurt to do it discreetly!!


  12. I am literally physically incapable of holding in my farts. I don’t know if I just lack the sphincter strength or there’s some trick I never learned, but I can keep it in for maybe three minutes before it stages a rebellion and busts down the gates. Blessedly, it’s only when I have a really upset stomach that they have a noticeable smell (it is a BAD smell, though). But, I’m still always paranoid, because I realize that I’m just lucky and at any moment I could think I’m easing out some backed up intestinal air and accidentally napalm everyone in the general vicinity.

    And there’s more about me than anyone ever wanted to know. You’re welcome.

    Someone was clipping their fingernails on the trolley, this morning. I didn’t really find it gross, but just confusing. If I am on a bumpy public transport, I would not want to be using pinchy-knives anywhere near my body. Maybe that’s just me, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, thatโ€™s my mom 100%. She physically canโ€™t hold them in either. Sheโ€™ll be walking down an aisle at a grocery store going โ€œ*bloop*, oh, Iโ€™m sorry, *bloop* oh no, *bloop* oops, sorry again!โ€ ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿคฃ
      My worry that Iโ€™ll shart every time I fart resulted in my extreme difficulty to fart unless Iโ€™m in โ€œfart positionโ€. There, now weโ€™re even ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hahaha, I love this! Personally I can’t stand people who pick a seat by the window and then they have to constantly go in and out to pee (or whatever). Why not pick an aisle seat if you know you have a baby bladder??!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. THE LITERAL WORST! Iโ€™m fearing this issue as well, so I might choose the window seat as my mom is that person (and is flying with me this summer). I really want to try to sleep and thatโ€™s impossible when the person next to you has to get up 8 times in an hour ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜ซ


  14. OMG, I would have thought you had some kind of plague or you’d been attacked with some sort of Russian spy-killing poison if you started frothing orange foam from the mouth. One of my big pet peeves is the stranger who uses you as a pillow. I don’t know you. Get your dandruff-y head off of my shoulder. I get so scared that they might have lice. I’m getting anxious just thinking about it. I hate air travel!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hahaha. Lolling at you frothing at the mouth. Oh my God, I’ve been that person. Once on a flight I had the worst coughing fit that came from nowhere. The kind of coughing fit that makes you kind of retch and cough at the same time. The kind of coughing fit that you need a Tena Lady for. Oh my God it was horrific. Even the air steward came over and asked if I was all right and if I needed a doctor. And then after it finally calmed down, what happened again 10 minutes before the flight landed? Another horrific coughing fit. I can only imagine how the people felt around me.
    Also, I love Karl Pilkington. He is indeed a brilliant idiot

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OMG!! Iโ€™ve been there with the coughing fit too! So embarrassing the way the people around you look like youโ€™re a diseased freak! Once I had to book it, literally like the scene in Home Alone, through Oโ€™Hare and when I got to the gate, the door was shut. The attendant had to call the pilot for permission to allow me on the plane!!! It was so embarrassing. Well, after everyone gave me the side eye (as I was walking down the aisle), because Iโ€™m the reason we havenโ€™t taken off and I find the last available seat, I proceed to have a coughing fit and my nose is just running and Iโ€™m all sweaty thanks to my run through the airport. I had to keep apologizing to the people next to me. I didnโ€™t stop coughing for roughly the entire flight. My seat partners werenโ€™t thrilled ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ซ

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Picking teeth and slurping, I nearly sat on her just to shut her up. By the end of a very long flight we hugged goodbye. Life is full of unusual bonding sessions ๐Ÿ˜Ž Yes, so relate to this post of people on plans!! The stories! Ex air hostess told us that years ago the people who opened the doors on arrival literally gagged from the smell ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

  17. People are vile! Vile!. I was on a bus once in Peru where someone changed a nappy on the seat and then threw the dirty nappy under the actual seat. For real. That was only one of the awful bus experiences I had on that solitary fourteen hour journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hilarious. I flew home yesterday and the young lady across the aisle had her bare feet hanging off the seat pocket. Then she had them on the seat. Then she had them on the armrest of the seat in front of her (he had no idea). Just. Gross. As for the farting….sorry, not sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, EW!! I totally should have mentioned FEET!! Have you ever seen that hilarious picture or meme of that guy and the feet behind his seat? I canโ€™t even remember now he said or anything, but the look on his face was priceless!


  19. Bwahahaha! I am really sorry but the frothing at the mouth story is amaaaazing! I can totally imagine it and I can’t help but giggle out loud at the thought.

    The grooming ones are gross. Seriously! I am shocked that people would actually do that.

    But, I have one that is worse than all of your examples. On our flight to NZ, the man next to me started wanking himself off under his blanket. It was soooo horrible! He was a big bloke too so I didn’t have much shoulder room and had to endure touching shoulders with his wanky-self for the rest of the flight. I should have called a flight attendant, but I didn’t know what I could say. “Excuse me, can you ask this man to take his hands off his penis?” It was all too weird and gross so I pretended not to notice. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMFG, Josy!!! That is 1000% times worse! How positively disgusting!!! Iโ€™d totally have told on him!! Oh, so gross!! Where was your hubby?? What did he say? OMG. I canโ€™t even. Thatโ€™s gotta be the top #1 thing to NEVER do on a plane ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He was asleep next to me. I felt too mean to wake him up. He heard about it as soon as he was awake though! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿคฎ

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I bring a notebook on all my flights for people watching like this. All of your descriptions are the best. You forgot The Small-Talker and The Spider. The spider is the one who makes a giant deal about climbing over people to get to the aisle. No one likes a show-off.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. OMG. Just OMG. As you know, I experienced a Pretty Bad Train Ride last week. But at least no one (as far as I know, so that means NO ONE because, dammit, I would most certainly KNOW)…farted. Once, tho, when I was on a Very Long Overnight Plane Ride to Africa, a guy crammed next to me in a very crammed coach aisle farted the whole time — in his sleep. I should have just poked him to wake him up, but I was afraid I’d dislodge something worse than a fart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol! That reminded me of a train ride from he’ll I had once. Also overnight and this really flirtatious, rather large dude, kept… touching me… and wanting to snuggle me. Like, we, no dude. I don’t even know you. Luckily he was not a faster as I recall… that would have made it even worse!

      Liked by 2 people

  22. On my most recent flight, I noticed both the woman next to me and my nose kept running. I wasn’t sure what was going on. But we both were sniffing up a storm. As we filed out of the plane I saw a couple with a cat carrier. Their orange tabby (which I am allergic to) made the flight with them. I don’t have a problem at all with service animals. Or when people have severe anxiety. And I’m sure there are some situations where it’s appropriate to bring a pet carrier on a plane. I’ve no idea if this is one of them. But I couldn’t help thinking, dang it. I’m allergic to your carry on! Shouldn’t that count for something?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK, this!! I was just reading a story about a woman getting all huffy about an airline not letting her and her support PEACOCK on the plane. I think people are getting carried away with this support animal thing. โ€œOh, you mean my support tarantula and I arenโ€™t allowed on the plane?โ€ (Stolen from my boyfriend.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please tell me the support peacock is a joke. That makes me want to cry. On the one hand, I love how wacky people are. On the other, I think, “COME ON! We all have to be on this giant tube together and we need to have SOME dignity.”

        Liked by 1 person

  23. I think you get about covered it… but also, generally being unwashed. Nothing (or hardly anything) worse than sitting next to someone who hasn’t bathed in a week.
    Oh, and changing poopy diapers (well any diapers, but poopy = more urgency) then leaving them anywhere but the trash. It’s tough changing babies on a flight, I know. There’s no real place to do it easily… so if the seat next to them is available to lay baby/toddler down to do it and they use a changing pad… no worries. But then make sure the dirty midi is wrapped securely in a diaper trash bag or two and get it into the trash asap.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! With long flights I expect people getting up and wet wiping a bit, brushing teeth etc at some point… I usually do it an hour or two before the end of the flight. But that can be overlooked as long as you’re washed beforehand! At least with flights you’re generally not working up a sweat…

        Liked by 1 person

  24. OMG – the Airborne! Lolololol!!! I can just imagine, and I personally think it would be hilarious to watch. Ha! The thing that gets me are those coughing people that don’t cover. I have a friend who wears a surgical mask every time she rides on a plane.

    Once I was on the way to Costa Rica and I was blessed to have a “cougher” sit right behind me. Halfway through the flight one of his green phlegm balls managed to fly over my seat, over my head, and land directly on the magazine I was reading. I was about to stand up and punch the guy – GROSS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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