Self-centered, inexperienced males more likely to behave poorly on flights


There’s one on nearly every flight. The boorish passenger who snaps their fingers at the cabin crew, makes a habit of kicking your chair back and refuses to recline their seat during meal times. And according to newly published research, that passenger is likely to be a man who seldom flies.

In a new paper that surveyed 750 adults in the US, researcher Ryan Meldrum from Florida International University aimed to see if he could paint a portrait of the “imprudent” airline passenger.

For the study, participants were asked how likely or unlikely they would be to exhibit certain behaviours in-flight. The list of offences included everything from not waiting to recline their seat back until the plane reached cruising altitude, “passing gas,” not washing hands after using the lavatory and cursing at a fellow flier who bumps their seat.

Meldrum collected demographic information from participants, including their gender and the number of times they’d flown on a plane. To further flesh out the research, participants were also asked to rate themselves on character traits like impulsivity, self-restraint and self-centeredness.

Overall, the findings suggest that the more seasoned the flier, the less boorish their in-flight manners, said Meldrum.

“What this suggests is that being a pleasant airline passenger depends, in part, on how many times you have flown. There appears to be a learning curve,” he said in a statement.

The findings are consistent with previous studies showing that men are more likely to engage in antisocial and risky behaviour than women in general.

Likewise, the data also makes a connection between imprudent behaviour and higher levels of self-control and self-centeredness, he added.

The research was published in The Social Science Journal.

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