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Travelocity Knows What Irks You: Stinky Passengers

Travelocity recently released the results of its 2009 North America Rudeness Poll, which asks over 1,500 Americans and Canadians to divulge their pet peeves about air travel. The results are not exactly surprising (full results here):

  • 29 percent of American travelers said the most annoying thing passengers do when boarding is “bring larger than allows carry-ons,” while 25 percent said “block the aisle” and 21 percent said “crowd the boarding line.” Methinks the two are somehow related. Canadian travelers felt pretty much the same way.
  • A whopping 45 percent of American travelers and 46 percent of Canadian travelers said a passenger with poor hygiene is the “most disliked passenger,” followed by a passenger who is coughing or sneezing.
  • 44 percent of American travelers and 45 percent of Canadians think airlines should seat large passengers in two seats at no extra cost, while 39 percent of Americans and 36 percent of Canadians think large passengers should have to purchase an extra seat.
  • Both Americans and Canadians overwhelmingly chose kicking the seat and loud talking or swearing as the two most rude or inconsiderate things a person can do aboard.

Like I said, not exactly shocking. The fact is that any form of travel—air, train, even short trips on the subway—puts us in close and sometimes awkward contact with other people. My opinion is that you must be patient and understanding when, for example, a fellow passenger emanates an unpleasant aroma, especially while traveling through foreign countries with unique cultural standards. That doesn’t make the experience of a malodorous seatmate any more bearable, but this sort of close human contact is essential to and inseparable from the traveling experience, so I say just grin and bear it.

That said, I’d love to hear what you think about Travelocity’s survey. My sense is that most people would agree with the poll’s findings (I do, for the most part), but everyone has their pet peeve. And let’s keep it civil, folks. Remember: We all forget deodorant from time to time …

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