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Simple solutions available for Australian travellers’ biggest in-flight gripes

Loud children on a flight is the biggest gripe for Australian travellers.

Loud children on a flight is the biggest gripe for Australian travellers. Photo: Getty

Two-thirds of Australians have had an unpleasant experience while flying courtesy of other passengers, but for many of their biggest gripes, there are simple solutions.

New research from Finder revealed that 66 per cent of Aussies have dealt with undesirable behaviour while on a plane.

The research also found that younger travellers are having worse experiences, compared to older flyers.

Three-quarters of gen Z said they experience unpleasant behaviour while flying, compared to 59 per cent of baby boomers and 65 per cent of millennials and generation X.

“Travel is hectic enough without the added stress of a bad plane trip,” Finder insurance expert Gary Ross Hunter said.

“You can’t always control unpleasant plane neighbours, but there are steps you can take to make your trip less stressful.”

The most common complaint travellers had was screaming children, followed by having the person behind them kick their seat.

How to prepare for a better flight

Let’s face it, there are some things that happen on a flight that are simply beyond our control.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure a plane trip is a little more comfortable.

With the biggest gripe travellers have being noisy children, the solution is simple – invest in some noise-cancelling headphones.

A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones should not only block out noisy passengers, but also the plane’s engine.

If you want to be extra sure you will be able to block out noise, consider getting some earplugs and then wearing your over-the-ear headphones also.

Although annoying for everyone on the plane, a crying baby is perhaps most frustrating for the child’s parent or carer.

There have been plenty of testimonies from parents online expressing their embarrassment after struggling to calm their child on their flight, so maybe show a bit of empathy.

Finder also found that 20 per cent were annoyed by a chatty neighbour while on a flight and wearing headphones as you take your seat might prevent this.

pictured is a man with headphones on a flight

Using noise-cancelling headphones on a flight is a game changer.

Some people like to get a little too comfortable on a flight and 26 per cent of people surveyed said they were annoyed by another passenger taking off their shoes.

Some shoes simply don’t smell great and 20 per cent of respondents were offended by a “smelly” passenger.

If there is a smell on the plane that is offending you, try pumping the air to get some circulation.

Or if you’re still using a face mask, put some sort of essential oil in it, Dr Allis Cho, an otolaryngologist at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, previously suggested to the Sydney Morning Herald.

For the situations you can’t prepare for

As for dealing with someone behind you who is kicking your seat, or generally disrupting your comfort, one flight attendant suggests being patient and acknowledging the situation subtly.

“Parents know their kids are being disruptive. It only adds fuel to the fire if another passenger jumps in and reiterates that to the parent as if they weren’t already aware,” Susan Marks told Conde Nast Traveller.

“Offer a friendly nod with a smile. That lets the parent know you’re aware of the disruption, and it also acknowledges that they’re cognisant of it disrupting everyone around them. When people jump right into saying something along the lines of ‘that’s annoying’, it only makes matters worse.”

There are also situations where you should perhaps get a flight attendant involved.

In the Finder survey, 30 per cent of respondents said they were annoyed by the person in front of them putting their seat back during meal time and 11 per cent were stuck in the air with an intoxicated traveller.

If someone is reclining during meal time, flight attendants might ask them to raise their seat and if they don’t perhaps nicely inform them and ask if they will resolve it for you.

In Australia, it’s an offence to enter an aircraft while intoxicated, or to be intoxicated on an aircraft, so if a fellow passenger is a little tipsy, it is worth letting the cabin crew know and allowing them to deal with it.

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