Airline insider: the passengers who make gate agents cringe

If you’re ticking any of these boxes, then you won’t make friends with airport staff.

Which are the worst passengers?

Airport staff have seen it all. From drunken dropkicks driving other passengers mad, to overly twee tourists getting under the skin of their fellow travellers. But which ones are worse?

Well, according to this former gate agent who reported for Conde Nast Traveler, you should really try to stay off this list, or you’ll quickly fall out of favour with flight attendants and the like.

The hoverer
Someone who stands at the front of the line way before you’re called to board.

The instigator
A person who, for example, when a plane is delayed, stirs up the people around him so that he doesn’t feel bad about being the only oneupset at said delay.

The procrastinator
As the name suggests, someone who leaves everything to the last minute, such as organising seat placements or special dietary requirements just as passengers are about to board.

The musical meditator
The traveller who never takes off their headphones, even during boarding, or when gate agents say hello. Bit rude, actually.

The hygienically negligent
They arrive at the airport sick and sniffily, smelling like boiled lettuce, holding dirty tissues and sneezing every which way.

The conversationalist
Chatting to their travel buddy about their all-important life story – the fact that their dog has a ganglion cyst and their predilection for oyster-stuffed monkey brains – and they cannot be interrupted, even while boarding.

This is just a brief rundown. For the full explainers, which are quite humorous, check out Conde Nast Traveler.

Have you checked any of these boxes?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    20th Jan 2018
    My list of worst passengers, as a fellow passenger:
    - seat recliners. A bit of recline most of the time and 100% recline whilst sleeping is fine. But those that recline 100% the minute we're in the air and leave it at 100% for the entire flight are just making my cramped economy seat even worse.
    - Unsupervised children. Groups of friends that seat themselves away from their kids should be taken out and shot.
    - Flight Attendants insisting I lower my window shade, even on north / south daytime flights.
    - feet anywhere but on the floor / on their own seat cushion. On the wall or on the back of my armrest? Yeew.

    I've taken one overseas return Jetstar flight in my life, which was full of mostly 20 and 30 year olds / young families. My first three points happened to me on that flight, both directions. Have not flown Jetstar since.
    20th Jan 2018
    Or insist that you put the shade up before the plane descends to land and you get heaps of glare in your face, perhaps even have genuine medical issue with it.
    20th Jan 2018
    Sounds like whoever compiled this list was in the wrong job. I have met such people in my travels. They are normally the little Hitlers who make life hard for the travelling public.
    Yes some travellers are a pain. So are some staff and some airline procedures which leave one cold in their stupidity.
    22nd Jan 2018
    Agree with that Mick. A kind of harmless Hitler.

    The Hoverer.
    Who cares? Certainly, the gate keeper shouldn't Leave them to hover. More seats for everybody else.

    The Instigator.
    Much as I prefer a more laid back wait and as much as I cringe at ill informed alarmism, What business is that of the airline. Do your job right and other passengers will shoo these boring people away.

    The Procastinator.
    Get off it, when has an airline held up a plane in recent years for a procastinor? or anybody for any reason for that matter? Airlines more often appear to be the procastinator and they are not the paying customer.

    The Musical Meditator.
    It is nice to get a hello but it is a bit rich expecting it; you are there to open the gate and check the tickets That is what the musical meditator is paying you for.

    The hygienically negligent.
    Would almost agree on that one but I will tell them myself if they are abusing health. The gatekeeper could too. It is not that hard.

    The Conservationalist
    Again they are paying you to do your job not interrupt their pleasure. if your job demands that you interrupt them as they pass fleetingly by the gate by all means firmly interrupt.

    All this under a threat that something nasty may befall the type if they are ever spotted. Wrong job. Get a life.
    pedro the swift
    20th Jan 2018
    Airlines would be well advised to seat all families with small kids in a separate part of the plane with a sound proof curtain. Make life a lot better for others. Let the parents put up with the screaming,crying and seat kicking.
    20th Jan 2018
    I'll second that motion.

    Not against kids, just their drop kick parents who don't give a damn about other people. I have friends with children who brought up to be well behaved and considerate of others right from an early age. They are now parents themselves, and bringing their kids up the same way.

    I never had the luxury of flying anywhere when I was a kid, but whenever we went anywhere outside of the house, my mother would put the fear of god into us if we as much as thought about misbehaving in public. I would not advocate that as a way of teaching kids discipline today, but it served its purpose back then.
    22nd Jan 2018
    :-) I have been one of those parent but I understand the concern on long hauls where sleep may be interrupted. Around Australia (where my kids never screamed) flights are too short to be bothered catering for people that cannot throw themselves into the slings and arrows of normal life.
    20th Jan 2018
    Some airlines don't cater for special needs diets even of advised when in advance when the booking is made. Tip - take your own snacks in commercially sealed container.....and meal too if necessary.
    20th Jan 2018
    My first thought Blossom was of Hannibal Lector, in Silence of the Lambs, but yes a good idea if airline food in not to your liking.
    Takes me back to uncounted trips on RAAF C130 and 707 where one was handed a boxed meal before boarding, called, if I recall correctly, "cardboard catering".
    22nd Jan 2018
    Yes take a snack if anything is required. The idea of serving meals on flights around Australia always amused me. That people couldn't go 3 hours between feeds is worth noting.

    Just the same, the few 20th Century first class flights I have had foisted on me were quite nice. One even had a large bowl of a fine salad, Ceramic bakes. French pastries of variety. Lush cream cakes, fruit salad and good fresh fruit of considerable variety. I at least have never seen anything before or since to match it. If I had indulged as far as my eyes would have led, then that cardboard catered box would have been the better bet Eddy.
    Jon S
    22nd Jan 2018
    Seat recliners should be jettisoned overboard
    23rd Jan 2018
    without a parachute

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