It’s official: clapping when a plane lands is seriously annoying. So annoying in fact that, according to a recent survey commissioned by online dating site Seeking and conducted by OnePoll, 14 per cent of people believe it’s a dumpable offence.
Quite why the custom continues is a mystery. Unless both the pilot and co-pilot are taken ill and a passenger lands the plane, it seems rather curious to loudly praise strangers for simply doing their job. When was the last time you heard a round of applause for a train driver? According to one pilot, speaking in an interview with Telegraph Travel, it’s a “strictly economy-class phenomenon”.
Still, it’s not the only annoying in-flight habit. Many social mores seem to disappear at 40,000 feet and far more egregious behaviour goes unpunished on a daily basis. Such as the following:
1. Sock removal
Many traditionalists will argue that shoe removal alone is bad enough to warrant major sanctions. But so commonplace is the practice that we’ll focus our attention on the greater of two evils – those passengers who consider it reasonable to discard not just their shoes but also their socks, unleashing a pair of malodorous and unkempt hooves upon all those in the vicinity.
2. Space invasion
After reading this touching account of what it feels like being the fat person on a plane, we’re inclined to feel some sympathy for those portly folk who cannot help but encroach on their neighbour’s space. But for those who insist on manspreading, launching the first volleys of an elbow war, or falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder, punishment should be cruel and unusual.
3. Reclining of seats
A divisive one. Some of the Telegraph’s contributors, Annabel Fenwick Elliott included, believe it is one’s right to recline in economy and won’t be told otherwise. Others, including Hugh Morris, couldn’t disagree more. More than 20,000 Telegraph readers were polled on the matter, and 40 per cent of you think it is indeed rude and should be banned; 30 per cent consider it fine on long-haul flights only; 24 per cent think we should all feel free to recline away.
4. Hauling yourself upright using someone else’s seat
Grabbing each and every headrest while you lumber down the aisle is another no-no (severe turbulence notwithstanding). Prepare to be ejected.
5. Standing in the aisle to chat to a friend
It means you’re in the way of the drinks trolley, you are annoying your friend who just wants to read their book, and you’ve probably got your backside six inches from someone’s face.
6. Chatting to your friends seven aisles back
Possibly even worse than aisle lurking. Yes, they can hear you. We can all hear you because you’re screaming across seven rows.
7. Doing yoga
It happens. Or push-ups, for that matter.
8. Taking forever to order a drink
You’ve just watched the flight attendants spend half an hour inching their way towards you – ample time to peruse the menu. And for pity’s sake don’t leave your headphones on while you order.
9. Noisy tech
Speaking of which, we don’t want to hear tinny music creeping from your inferior headphones, or the bleeps, bloops and chimes of Candy Crush emanating from your smartphone because you forgot your book – or can’t read.
10. Whining about your tight connection
Don’t book such a tight connection. Simple.
11. Or moaning about the food
We all know plane food is bad. Sometimes really bad. But don’t go on about it. If your taste buds are that sensitive then bring something on board (but make sure it’s not smelly).
12. Small talk with strangers
A smile and a nod is fine. But when a passenger is clearly reading the paper, or enjoying just a bit of peace and quiet, don’t start telling them about your trip, how you’ve started raising chickens, or the conservatory you’re saving up for.
Public proposals are in terribly poor taste. Public proposals on an aeroplane are unthinkable.
14. Not switching to flight mode
Everyone can see you texting under your jumper. And we’re all getting a bit nervous.
This includes rudeness, drunkenness, peeing into a bottle (thank you Gérard Depardieu), and generally being a “lad” and laughing boorishly at your friend’s bad jokes. We know you’re going on holiday, and it’s all VERY exciting, but please shut up.
16. Ignoring the safety briefing
Or forgetting to fasten your seatbelt before take-off, forcing the flight attendant to remind you.
17. Overhead locker hogs
Your Panama hat has no place in the overhead bin.
This should be banned in all walks of life, not just when the flight attendant reasonably requests that you put your laptop away because we’re about to land.
19. Refusing to give up your seat so a young family/honeymooners can sit together
No, this isn’t a matter of principle. It’s a matter of you being an a***.
20. Noisy children
You may wonder why this has been left till almost last. Well, it’s a thorny issue. Children stuck on a plane with the sort of characters that commit the crimes detailed above might well burst into tears. The bigger issue is incredulous parents who do nothing to address their child’s tantrum – or fit of seat kicking. And there’s no excuse for taking a toddler into business class.
21. Getting ready to leave while taxi-ing
You’re still stuck on a plane but now you’re standing up and blocking everyone else’s way.