airline passengers

This post is also published on HuffPost India.

I think flights are the time when my mind is ripe with ideas. Just watching people and their interactions gives you so much ammunition for giggling, exasperation, life’s lessons, joys and of course gyan. I was tempted to pen this post after multiple trips in India and abroad where somehow Indians tend to display some behavioural quirks. So here’s my list:

  1. Board as if their rear is on fire: I must regale my recent experience here. Generally, for domestic flights they don’t really board by rows but this time the lady announced that only those in the last ten rows should board. Not belonging to those rows I sat and waited. 10 minutes into boarding, the line of passengers was still quite long and hardly anyone was waiting. I wondered if something was the issue because the two calls made so far were for boarding the last 10 rows. My seats were in the 11th row so I got up along with my kids and joined the line to board. Well, guess what? When I entered the aircraft almost all the front row passengers had boarded while the last 10 rows had fewer passengers. That was a facepalm moment. Seriously, do we have allergy to following instructions or are we living in a perennial fear that the aircraft would just take off while leaving us at the gate? What kind of insecurity drives this stupidity?
  2. Jump out of the seat and prepare to eject from the aircraft: Again, it looks as if some of us are so tormented by the flight experience that we are almost willing to open the emergency exit and jump out in tearing hurry making sure to edge any passenger out of the way. Seriously guys, relax! What drives you to stand crouched with your hand luggage while you wait for the aircraft’s doors to open? Of course, repeated calls by the flight attendant to stay seated fall on deaf ears. Trust me they do want all of us off their plane eventually.
  3. Be surgically attached to their mobiles: There are folks who are mortified to not have mobile connectivity while in air. Hence they continue to have loud conversations sometimes even after the plane is airborne ignoring the airhostess’s entrities. Yet again showing how we hate following instructions or are brash about flouting rules.
  4. Encroach upon your space: I am reminded of those days when I used to take the early morning Shatabdi from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. A fast train, Shatabdi is a seater train and it is not difficult to see passengers carrying truckloads of luggage and then stuffing them in places meant for others’ luggage. They feel it is first come, first served and glare at you if you try to retrieve your luggage space. I have had a similar experience on airplanes. Some people carry a lot of hand luggage and then conveniently occupy places meant for you. If you protest they give you angry glares as if you have asked them to donate their eyes to you. Sometimes, I grin and bear it but this time I moved the luggage and put mine. While at it, where is the politeness to ask when you wish to use space meant for others?
  5. Annoying habits: I am very tolerant of toddlers and babies. I know that their behaviour is hardly under anyone’s control and I can see how the poor parents struggle to keep decorum. But, what gets my goat is people who chat loudly or indulge in laugh fests that can cause turbulence of its own. I guess, it is not easy for them to understand that this is a public space and ideally you should not be destroying the peace of others. Then there are people who keep kicking your seat from behind and those recline their seats just when you’ve opened your tray table almost squeezing all air out of your lungs and making your food fly. Then there are some who fall all over you or keep elbowing you making you crouch further away in the already uncomfortable coach seat. Let me not mention the loud burpers, snorers and gasballs and the worst of all those with bad body odour who almost make you faint. Ugh!

This quirky behaviour can make you smile if you are in a pleasant mood or drive you up the wall. It really is a pleasure to have an airline companion who is well-mannered, quiet and respects your space.

Do you have any such observations to share?

Pic courtesy: Ambro at



44 Thoughts on “5 Crazy Behaviours of Indian Airline Passengers

  1. Oh yes.. seen them all. It’s worse if you have a large group of people travelling together. They’ll stand in the aisles and chat loudly, almost revelling in the fact that they’re creating a ruckus.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Of travel plans and travel anxietyMy Profile

  2. Lata Sunil on April 18, 2016 at 9:08 am said:

    I had once travelled with a wedding group and the rest is history. It felt like an ST Bus with talks across aisles, foods being shared, seats being exchanged.. all this for one and half hours of flight time.

  3. I agree with you on everything except Item Number 1. I do not know about airlines in India. In USA, gold and platinum card holders of frequent flyer mileage, senior citizens, handicapped passengers, passengers with small kids and pregnant passengers are boarded on a priority basis.

    Since you wrote you were with yours kids, you may want to find out if you can board on a priority basis.

    • Sometimes they do allow people with children to board first but mostly it is free for all. I am aware that in US they do so. Also my children are not very small. I don’t expect any special privileges. It is rather weird that people ignore instructions so brutally. Thanks for reading, SG.

  4. We are like that only g.. check this out A Flight To Remember
    Prasad Np recently posted…The Ancient Barbecue – Banta Gola FestivalMy Profile

  5. Have seen all of them and more.. Infact, just midway through writing a post on two strange behaviours I noticed this time..the airport and the flights are such microcosm of human behaviour that it actually is amusing
    Nabanita recently posted…Bewitched If I May Be #MondayMusings #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

  6. You have covered all the problems we normally come across.Some are irritating as you have mentioned.

  7. Ha … Ha …. Ha…. Very very true. I also felt annoyed by these.
    Vasantha Vivek recently posted…Will Mindful Reading Help Kids To Concentrate? – Literacy Musing MondaysMy Profile

  8. Ahh yes, among these quirky behaviors, the ones who obediently follow all rules and travel causing no disturbances may seem odd :p.
    Although it seems amusing initially, these quirks can be quite a headache during the flight.
    Dashy recently posted…Once upon a dreamMy Profile

  9. On the flights that liquor is served, there are those that act like elixirs of life are being served and they can act really really greedy!
    jaishvats recently posted…Silly things can make one happy! 🙂My Profile

  10. The worst thing is when you have an aisle seat and the window seat guy wants to keep going to the loo! Which means you have to get up every time they go and return. My pet hate is the folks who recline their seat all the way with scant regard for someone sitting behind them.

    Haha. We can never change these behaviors Rachna! Getting a nice co-passenger is pure luck.
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Nothing Really MattersMy Profile

  11. It’s all about human nature, never gonna change. Some do it as if its their birth right.
    swati bassi recently posted…Bridal MehndiMy Profile

  12. ha ha…a wonderful post. Enjoyed reading 🙂
    Purba Chakraborty recently posted…Dollops of sunshineMy Profile

  13. Interesting observations. I somehow tend not to observe fellow passengers too much except for babies bawling that wake me up.
    TF Carthick recently posted…Opening of a Magical PortalMy Profile

  14. Wisened by my experiences pleasant and mostly not so pleasant, I prefer utilising the time to catch up on my sleep. Investing in a good pair of ‘noise canceller’ helps.
    Purba Ray recently posted…Gurgaon Gets a Behenjee Avatar – GurugramMy Profile

  15. Seems to me like you want mythical beings as your co-passengers 🙂 These well-mannered, quiet people? They really exist? In the apnawala world? 🙂
    C. Suresh recently posted…Two linesMy Profile

  16. Now those are SOME observations .. 🙂

    I see a lot at the airport and the fun starts when they come and stand in the queue to check in 🙂 will write about some of my close encounters …

    Wordless Wednesday (55) :- P – is for Pictures and color Purple
    Bikram recently posted…H – HumMy Profile

  17. Experienced most of the scenarios that you’ve mentioned Rachna 🙂
    What irritates me the most is the use of the mobile midair! I wish people would be more aware about what a safety hazard it could be.

    Nicely written, as usual.
    Kamini Lakhani recently posted…5 Steps to Becoming the Most Loving and Effective GrandparentMy Profile

  18. Very true and little changes with time when it comes to these traits exhibiting a paucity mind set and no trust in a sytem to adhere to rules:(
    Rahul recently posted…Walk the TalkMy Profile

  19. Have experienced all these. Standing in uncomfortable position (especially those who are not in the aisle) as soon as the aircraft lands is something I just cant understand. What’s the rush to deplane?
    Recently, I traveled with a large group and OMG! they literally hijacked the plane with their loud chatter. During food service it was a total chaos. The volunteers from the group opened the overhead bins and took out boxes and bags of food. They served kachoris, samosas, mathris, home made paranthas, namkeen, sweets, juices, cold drinks and even pickles to their friends. The airline staff requested them to carry on with their food party after the airline service but they simply ignored them. Really crazy people!

  20. Oh yes. I remember one guy who kept falling on me while sleeping and my whole time went in just pushing him away 🙁 People running to the exit elbowing everyone else out of their way is so irritating.
    themoonstone recently posted…Emil’s EnemiesMy Profile

  21. True, all of them. But I don’t mind as long as they don’t fart!

  22. Pingback: 5 Irritating Things That Indian Passengers Do On Airplanes | My Blog

  23. I think the point 2 applies here also. Luggage ki baath tho chod do..yeha pein bhi same haal hai…ppl put their luggage wherever they get the place. I flew within India only 4 times so far. I hope my trips this year will be smooth and peaceful 🙂

  24. Still chuckling at this very ‘real’ observation 🙂
    Good one, Rachna. The concept or rather lack of personal space is one that bugs me!
    Sid recently posted…On Motherhood and ParentingMy Profile

  25. You seem be an Indian, thanks for sharing your own behaviour 🙂
    Fortunately I have never seen them by the angle you see and have shared. I feel may be the scores are level, they (Indians including you) irritate you and you insult them 😉

  26. I have found the same behaviour in international flights as well. I used to think it was only Indian but people are the same everywhere.

    I also find people who book a window seat to just doze off very annoying. I struggle to get a window seat so I can peek out at interesting landscapes below.

    Then there are people who hog the arm rests on both sides.

    The seat recliners should be made to pay for your seat as well.

    And airlines which force you to board, then don’t take off for 45 minutes to an hour with AC switched off should also refund your fees or at least 50% of it.

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