This might be a sensitive time to be polling people about their experiences traveling, given the holidays having just ended, but we took a two-week poll of 1,766 travelers and asked them what their least favorite things about flying are. Below you can see the full breakdown of their responses:

The worst things about flying% Response
Delays21%
Seats too small17%
Hidden fees12%
Bad/no food or snacks8%
Obnoxious children8%
Bad/no WiFi7%
Babies crying5%
The small bathrooms5%
Security4%
The person next to you hogging space3%
Crowds at the gate3%
Other7%

(Other included: Getting sick, people talking too loud, bad customer service, not enough overhead baggage space, people eating smelly food) 

Flying can be stressful for even the most seasoned traveler. Making sure you get to the airport on time, getting through security without some sort of extra hassle, the risk of a flight being delayed/cancelled up to minutes before departure time, layovers, etc. The list could probably go on forever.

In order to get a better sense of how to rank the things people hate most about flying, we ran a survey with a list of dozens of options for people to choose from, allowing them to pick their least favorite thing about flying. Things like delays, children, being hit with surprise fees for things like checking a bag or a bottle of water, among others made the list, with some obvious fan least-favorites.

We left a comment box available for people to leave notes about why they selected their answer. Here are some of our favorite responses:

“I don’t mind delays all that much if we haven’t boarded the plane, but the absolute worst is when they get everyone on the plane then it sits on the runway for two hours for some random delay.”

“I know they can’t help it, but it’s the crying baby that I always end up sitting next to. I feel bad for the parents, but it still drives me nuts.”

“I forgot what airline it was, but they were charging for bottles of water, and didn’t have any other beverage service.”

“I’m not a people person, so I hate that I’m forced to sit that close to another human for several hours.”

“As a tall person my knees push into the seat in front of me. Then all of the sudden the person sitting there reclines and I’m stuck for the rest of the flight.”

Methodology: 

  • We polled 1,766 U.S.-based adults who self-reported that they have flown for travel in the last year.
  • The poll was conducted online and anonymously.