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Stop clipping your toenails: These are the 'most offensive' airplane behaviors

From flight disruptions to unruly passengers, it seems as if flying has become more of a chore than an enjoyable experience.

We can’t forget bad airplane etiquette. I was recently on a packed flight when the person in front of my seatmate suddenly slammed their seat all the way back. Unfortunately, my seatmate had just ordered a hot coffee – you can guess what happened next. He had to finish the six-hour-long flight with stained pants.

If you’ve ever been seated near someone who’s unaware of personal space or how their behavior is affecting others then you probably empathize with him too. Poor airplane etiquette can completely ruin your travel experience.

To find out what airplane behaviors we should do our best to avoid, travel planning company Skyscanner conducted a survey between Sept. 27 and Oct. 2. They asked 2,000 American adults who have taken a leisure trip in the last three years about which airplane etiquette rules are most “most offensive if broken.”

Here’s what they had to say, from least offensive (but still annoying) to most.

7. Switching seats

Have you ever booked a flight and chose that coveted aisle seat with perfect distance to the bathroom – maybe you even paid extra or made sure to book way in advance – only to board the plane and have someone ask you to switch seats for whatever reason? That’s pretty offensive, according to 31% of U.S. travelers. Just recently, there was a debate online about the topic after a viral TikTok of a woman who chose a window seat because she can get motion sickness and refused to switch with a mother who wanted to sit next to her children.

For what it’s worth, most commenters sided with the woman who stuck to her guns – and her seat.

6. Using both armrests

As many of us have likely experienced, having a seatmate who won’t share the armrests can be annoying. Nearly one-third of American travelers say using both armrests is a big no-no – even if you’re in the unfortunate middle seat. According to one airline analyst, those armrests “belong to no one” and are part of the airplane’s shared space.

5. Reclining your seat

Reclining your seat has become a controversial topic when it comes to airplane etiquette. Just under one-third of travelers don’t want you to recline your seat, according to Skyscanner. Some say that reclining your seat back if you’re not in first class or in a seat with extra legroom is “inconsiderate,” especially given that some travelers already feel cramped in their seats to begin with.

If you’re hoping to lean back on a flight, it’s suggested to ask the person behind you if it’s OK to recline your seat or do it only slightly – and definitely never, ever just slam your seat back.

4. Taking off your shoes or socks

The survey found that 35% of U.S. fliers are unhappy if you remove your shoes or socks. A similar survey by KAYAK back in July came up with similar results. About three-fourths of its survey respondents said that taking your socks off is not okay, and more than half want you to keep your shoes on, too.

3. Unwanted conversation

It also seems like lots of travelers are unhappy with chatty seatmates. Skyscanner found that nearly four in 10 people feel that talking to strangers is the third most offensive airplane rule to break. I think we’re all just trying to make it through this flight as best as we can.

2. Using speakerphone

It's a tie for first place: The most offensive airplane behavior is taking calls on speakerphone. The good news is that your phone should be turned off for most of the flight, but with the growing importance of in-flight connectivity, passengers are making phone calls or even video chats while on speaker more than before – as if they forgot they are in close quarters with others.

1. Personal grooming

Some people apply makeup in the car on their way to work, while others apparently decide to clip their fingernails on a flight – and many Americans don’t think that’s OK.

Tied for first place for the most offensive airplane behavior is personal grooming, according to Skyscanner’s survey. This includes painting nails, clipping nails and trimming your beard. No one wants your stray toenail flying onto them.

This article originally appeared in USA Today

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