Airplane Etiquette: Seven Deadly Sins of Air Travel Passengers

The Sin: Abuse of Bin Space

So many transgressions: bin hogs who put their bags in the first empty bins they see, whether near their seats or not; jerks who pull your carefully folded blazer out of the bin to make room for their stuff, then crumple it in a ball and smash it back in; or those who jam too-big bags in too-small bins, confident a flight attendant will check it -- at no charge.

What do I hate most about this? The time it takes for these idiots to get their bags squared away -- time that could be better spent getting to our destination as scheduled.

No. 5: Overflow Outrage

The Sin: Abuse of Seat Space

As I've said before, I'm a big guy, but there are big guys and there are huge guys (and gals). By "huge," I mean people whose excess avoirdupois "overflows" into other passengers' space. Rule of thumb: If you're sitting in an aisle seat and the beverage cart can't get past you, there's a problem (and there's a picture of it, too).

Personally, I don't care if you're fat or thin. My friends come in all shapes and sizes, but space is tight enough on a plane as it is, and if you need two seats, buy them.

No. 6: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Feet

The Sin: Bare Feet on Seats and in the Aisles

I have no problem if you like to sit in your seat and wiggle your toes in all their bare splendor; my wife indulges in this habit, and I'm all for comfort.

What I hate seeing is bare feet against seatbacks, or worse, on an armrest. The biggest "sinners" are those whose toes haven't seen soap in awhile (yes, people get tossed off planes for "odor" issues; it happened on an Air Canada Jazz flight earlier this year).

Over at the Jetiquette site, they have a report complete with "undercover video" of people sans shoes and socks, waiting their turn to use the lavatory. Yuck.

No. 7: No Drool Zone

The Sin: Sleeping on Seatmates

This happens to the best of us, I'm afraid. You nod off and get poked awake by an angry seatmate who's tired of being used as a pillow. All I can say is: Try not to drool.

And if you don't have a seatmate, don't get too complacent; a woman aboard a United Express plane last month didn't wake up when the aircraft landed, and was left all alone on the plane, snoozing away for four hours.

For her sake, I hope she wasn't charged a nap fee.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website,, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.

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