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Just Stop! My Three Biggest Travel Pet Peeves Are…

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boarding line for a flight

My Biggest Travel Pet Peeves

Air travel can be revealing. Often, it an bring out the worst (or weirdest) in people. I’ve witnessed few downright terrible incidents. But there are things that have become routine for many people that are some of my biggest travel pet peeves. You’d think people would catch on to things after enough travel in the air. Yet these don’t fall into that category.

Instead, they are more likely to befuddle and exasperate. Two of my travel pet peeves are unique to air travel. The third is just made worse by it.

So, without further ado, here are the my three biggest travel pet peeves.

Pulling All the Window Shades Down at Takeoff and Landing

Maybe I didn’t notice this until I started gravitating toward the aisle seat. Or maybe it’s just become a thing over the past several years. But more and more I see a cabin where there are few — if any — window shades up at takeoff or landing.

As someone who loves the window seat (yet chooses the aisle for mobility on longer flights), I can’t relate to this. Why would you pick a window seat and then drop the shade the entire trip? Need to sleep and can’t let it wait until takeoff? That is maybe the only decent excuse.

I attribute this to the change in culture over the past decade more than anything. Everyone has gotten so device focused that they don’t even care to look outside. Who wants that sun glare? And if it’s dark outside, I guess there’s nothing to look at anyway.

This is a domestic problem for sure. In Europe, raising all the window shades is required.

gate lice are one of my biggest travel pet peeves

Getting In Line Before Your Boarding Group is Called (aka Gate Lice)

I will never understand people who get up to board well before their boarding group. They only succeed in blocking everyone else from lining up. Affectionately known as “gate lice,” I’m always surprised how many of these there can be during a single boarding process. Amazingly, though, I did recently have a flight where there wasn’t a single one.

If boarding was a complete free-for-all, it might make sense. But getting up for Group 1 boarding while you’re in Group 3 isn’t gonna help anyone. If you want to get on the plane faster, help the process go smoother. And that means not getting in anyone’s way.

Airlines with dedicated queues and agents that clearly explain the process are always nice. I’ve had plenty of flights where boarding goes smoothly. But I’ve also had terrible flights where boarding is a nightmare.

If Southwest does have one thing going for it, it’s that queuing for boarding isn’t an issue. What is an issue at times is them letting people on well out of order. But that is a different problem.

Talking on Speakerphone…in the Bathroom. And Everywhere.

This might be my biggest pet peeve. Don’t get me wrong. I use speakerphone a decent amount. But it’s usually for practical purposes, such as needing my hands free. Or it’s because it makes things far more comfortable (e.g. when you’re recovering from an injury and one elbow is broken and the other is sore).

But where I draw the line is speakerphone in random, public places. There are times it is great if you’re with family or friends, and I’m glad to have it. But of all the places you shouldn’t be using speakerphone, an airport bathroom is probably first on the list.

Hopefully the other person can’t hear you (or any of a dozen others) defecating while you’re on a business call. It boggles my mind that this is even a thing. Yet I rarely have a trip where I don’t see and hear multiple people on speakerphone in the airport. And several times now I’ve been held hostage to be part of someone else’s conversation while emptying my bladder post-flight.

I don’t get it. I cannot imagine talking on speakerphone in a bathroom. Even my own. Just wait a few minutes and call them back.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Those are my three biggest travel pet peeves. You may have thought screaming kids or other nuisances might make the list, but those are far more tolerable. I’d gladly take the antics of the majority of children over clueless adults.

What are your biggest travel pet peeves?

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Ian Snyder
Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Pretty sensible gripes imo. I haven’t done it yet because I’ve gotten lucky and the chance hasn’t arisen but I have a plan for next time some jerkwad starts to talk loudly on their phone, speaker or not, I’ll pretend to be on a call and loudly proclaim how I have yell into my phone because some rude person is screaming into their phone. I plan to go on from there about how thoughtless and inconsiderate that is to subject everyone to your screaming. I may very well get into an argument but I doubt I’ll get into an actual fight for this snarky payback. Time will tell. The beauty of this is, for the rude person to confront me they’ll have to own being rude in public.

  2. I don’t mind the speakerphone in the bathroom because I’m not there long enough for it to matter. Speakerphone or loud video in planes or public places is far more annoying. I sometimes opt for a window seat because, as a side sleeper, the wall to lean against is more comfortable.

  3. I’m shocked that bare feet on planes isn’t at the top of this list. For everyone. Is it just too…obvious?

    I’ll add that the middle seat occupant gets dibs on both armrests, and anyone that dares to object is a PEEVE. My 73yo mom read some guy the riot act for telling her to give him the armrest. Man, don’t mess with a boomer in a middle seat!

    • Bare feet *should* be obvious. I guess I’ve never had a issue with them up close and personal on a plane.

      What’s funny is that some people consider *socked* feet to be gross on a plane. Which is more or less how I walk the aisles. Shoes come off on most flights over a couple hours.

  4. Actually, we were instructed to keep the window shades up during takeoff and landing as a security measure, so we will not be blinded by the light in case of the need to exit the plane quickly in the event of an emergency.

    • It is a federal regulation that window shades remain up during taxi and takeoff. The purpose is safety. Should an emergency occur, the flight crew needs to be able to see exterior conditions. For example, don’t use the right over-wing emergency exit if the right engine is on fire.

      • It’s not a regulation in the U.S., unless I’ve misunderstood (and airlines don’t ever enforce it).

        I wish we’d adopt it like Europe has.

    • The last few flights I have been on the flight attendants asked for the shades to be closed to maintain the temperature inside the airplane.


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