Holiday Flying: Honeywell Survey Explores Passenger Pet Peeves During Heavy Traveling Season

  • Nearly all (92 percent) admit taking to the skies during the holiday season would be stressful
  • Passengers who would stress over flying during the holidays attribute it to crowds (57 percent) or annoying passengers (49 percent)
  • More than one in two (53 percent) Americans have done something to combat air travel frustrations


Click here to view the survey infographic

In a survey of air travelers, Honeywell Aerospace (NYSE: HON) uncovers a “stormy” holiday travel forecast, revealing a mass of passenger pet peeves plaguing millions of airline travelers. The winter holiday travel season often presents lengthy delays, bad weather, and inexperienced fliers and more, so trekking through the crowded airport with a wrapped present under one arm is hardly the picture of tranquility.

The survey shows that flying irritates most Americans, especially because of annoying passengers, like the “complete seat recliner” or the “smelly passenger.” Our survey reveals ways that travelers have thought about to combat such annoyances.

The research was conducted by Kelton among 1,041 adults in the United States who have taken a flight at least once in the last 12 months.[1]

“Flyers are often resilient and can put up with inconveniences, but there are some things we just won’t tolerate,” said Bill Kircos, vice president, Communications, Honeywell Aerospace.

“As to what makes holiday travelers feel better and keeps everyone more sane while taking to the skies, it comes down to keeping the flights running smoothly, on time and comfortable. Honeywell’s survey shows that all of us as passengers, and the commercial aviation industry in general should focus more on keeping people informed, safe and entertained on their flights.”

Stormy Forecast
It’s no surprise that holiday air travel is daunting for most Americans. Survey results indicate many would skip time-honored traditions and part with their gifts just to avoid it, including:

  • Fifty-seven percent would give up watching their favorite holiday parade to dodge flying.
  • Thirty-one percent would give up one of their holiday presents to avoid braving the holiday airport rush.
  • More than one-quarter would give up connecting with loved ones from afar on social media (27 percent) or taking pictures of holiday festivities (27 percent).


Troublesome Types
Seventy percent of respondents are open about the fact that they’re not accepting of other passengers’ faults while flying. In fact, traveler irritation peaks before fliers even get to the gate. Baggage check and security check-in lines can frustrate due to wait times, but are made worse by difficult or inexperienced travelers. Of the possible types of airport personalities one could run into identified in the survey:

  • Nearly three in ten would most want to avoid “the arguer” while dealing with the challenging baggage and security check lines, while others say this about “the line-cutter (17 percent) or “the disorganized traveler” (15 percent).
  • Plug your nose. The No. 1 in-flight passenger attribute Americans most want to avoid is “the smelly traveler” (41 percent).
  • Emitting unpleasant smells is also the quickest way to become the most unwanted airline seatmate, with passing gas (64 percent) and not wearing deodorant (60 percent) considered top passenger blunders.


No Exemptions for the Little Ones
Children also face impatience from fellow passengers. Although children might not be aware of what’s going on around them, other passengers sure are. Of those surveyed, 37 percent of Americans believe children should have a designated section of the aircraft on flights lasting more than two hours. In fact, 40 percent of women feel this way, compared with 31 percent of men. They also agree on some potential solutions when dealing with impatient or tired little ones on a flight:

  • Seventy-two percent consider confronting a fellow traveler who was not stopping their child from kicking their seat.
  • Twenty-nine percent who have done something in response to a child issue on their flight have been so bold as to ask a parent to reprimand their child.
  • Forty-five percent think all passengers should get free ear plugs in the case of a screaming baby.
  • Before you get on a plane with a child, here are some helpful tips on how traveling with your kids for the first time can be better for you and everybody on the plane.


Surviving the Unfriendly Skies
What are passengers doing to survive the unfriendly skies? Experienced flyers have tricks up their sleeves for fighting on-board disturbances.

  • Many have taken direct action by asking a flight attendant to fix the issue (43 percent) or confronting a passenger who was causing a disturbance (27 percent).
  • Two in five (40 percent) have asked to move to another seat, escaping the situation in a civil manner and 30 percent admit to taking a sedative or sleeping pill to dull their own reaction to the disturbance.


Keep Calm and Fly On With Honeywell

For the 41 percent of fliers that want to stay away from the “smelly traveler”, Honeywell technology keeps your flight comfortable and clean by refreshing the air on a plane 25-30 times an hour, which is more often than a train, hospital and office building.

And, for the 26 percent of fliers that get annoyed by cancelled or delayed flights, Honeywell provides numerous pieces of technology to airlines, including 3-D weather radar that helps airplanes avoid hail, lightning and turbulence while flying; advanced airport technology that enables more planes to land at airports during congested timeframes of peak travel or bad weather, thereby reducing delays and keeping things on time.

So wherever passengers fly this holiday season, Honeywell provides airlines and airports with technology that helps deliver safe, efficient, productive and comfortable flying experiences worldwide.

About the Survey
The Honeywell Aerospace Travel Pet Peeves Survey was conducted by Kelton, a leading global insights firm, between Nov. 14 and Nov. 24, 2014, among 1,041 Americans ages 18 and over who have taken a flight at least once in the last 12 months, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.


Supporting Resources


Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft, and its turbochargers are used by nearly every automaker and truck manufacturer around the world. The Aerospace business unit develops innovative solutions for more fuel-efficient automobiles and airplanes, more direct and on-time flights, safer flying and runway traffic, along with aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity services, logistics, and more. The business delivers safer, faster, and more efficient and comfortable transportation-related experiences worldwide. For more information, visit or follow us at @Honeywell_Aero and @Honeywell_Turbo.

Honeywell ( is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit

[1] Survey conducted between Nov. 14–24, 2014

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