Why airports, planes and passengers send 9 out of 10 Brits into a flying rage

Monday 4, April 2011


Why airports, planes and passengers send 9 out of 10 Brits into a flying rage


Nine out of ten Brits (95 percent) get hot under the collar when flying according to new research from InvisibleHand.


Overpriced airport food, queues and the person sitting behind on the plane kicking or knocking their seat, all make travellers’ blood boil putting them in a bad mood before their holiday has even started:


  • Please stop kicking me! Two-thirds (65%) of people say having their seat kicked or knocked from behind is their biggest peeve when flying[2]
  • Over half (55%) find lack of space drives them insane when flying while 54% can’t stand the person sitting in front putting their seat back[2]
  • Extra charges for checking-in or putting baggage in the hold makes the blood boil for two-thirds of travellers (66%)[3]
  • 58% of holidaymakers say the cost of airport food is enough to make their stomachs turn while 54% get wound up over delays and 42% over lack of information when there’s a problem[3].


Ever been wound up by a fellow passenger kicking the back of your seat during a flight? Well, you're not alone according to new research from InvisibleHand, the free to download online shopping tool. Almost two thirds (65%) of Brits say that this is their biggest peeve when flying. In fact, it upsets people twice as much as having to pay for extra legroom (31%)[2].


Overall, more than nine out of ten Brits (95%) get peeved by the experience of flying[1]. Lack of personal space is one of the top bug bears, annoying over half of travellers (55%). This is closely followed by the person in front reclining their seat which sends 54% of Brits into a flying rage. Anti-social behaviour on the plane winds 49% of people up, while 41% admit to be ticked off by children making a noise or crying[2].   


And it’s not just the flight itself that makes travellers' blood boil. The hustle and bustle of airports comes with its own added stresses, which also have to be contended with. Topping the list are extra charges for things such as checking-in and putting baggage in the hold, something that irritates two-thirds (66%) of Brits[3].


Almost six in ten people (58%) say that over-priced airport food winds them up, while delays are an irritant for over half (54%) of Brits. Unsurprisingly, given the stress of travelling, four in ten people (42%) get annoyed by the lack of information when there is a problem[3].   


Brits’ top peeves about flying:


1. The person behind me kicking or knocking my seat 65%

2. Lack of space 55%

3. The person in front putting their seat back 54%

4. Other passengers' anti-social behaviour 49%

5. Children making a noise/crying 41%

6. Not being able to get seats together 34%

7. Having to pay extra for legroom 31%

8. Airline food 14%

9. Not being able to get the food I ordered 7%


Source: InvisibleHand


Brits’ top peeves about airports:


1. All the extra charges, e.g. checking-in, putting baggage in the hold 66%

2. Over-priced food in airports 58%

3. Delays 54%

4. Queuing to check in/to collect baggage 51%

5. Lack of information when there's a problem 42%

6. Airport car parking fees 41%

7. Two hour check-in rule 39%

8. Airports being advertised as cities when they are actually miles away 25%

9. Having to check-in online 9%


Source: InvisibleHand


Robin Landy, founder of InvisibleHand, says: “Holidays should be about relaxing and getting away from the daily stresses and strains faced during our normal lives. In reality nine out of ten of us end up feeling wound up by the flight or the airport before we even get away. Our research shows that there is a host of factors that get people worked up when travelling by plane, none of which make for the best start or end to a holiday.


"One thing people needn’t get stressed about is booking their holiday. By downloading and installing InvisibleHand on your computer for free, the next time you go shopping InvisibleHand will work behind the scenes to automatically find the best price on flights, no matter where you’re searching on the web. This will help you to save both time and money as it lets you compare all the leading travel providers and websites in one place[4]. We might not be able to stop the person sitting behind you from kicking your seat, but we can help you to identify the cheapest flights and all the annoying little extras, such as check-in fees."


InvisibleHand is free to download in less than a minute via the website,



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