5 things not to do on an airplane


The summer travel season is barely underway and already we have a suitcase-full of stories about passengers booted from airplanes for being potty-mouthed, improperly dressed or otherwise over-the-line.

On June 16, a basketball player from the University of New Mexico was arrested at San Francisco after refusing to hike up his baggy pants while boarding a US Airways flight.

A few days earlier, a children’s book author was removed from an Atlantic Southwest Airlines flight at Detroit Metro Airport after a flight attendant overhead him cursing about a flight delay.

The week before, a passenger stripped naked and then locked himself in the lavatory on an Iberia Airline flight going from Madrid to Frankfurt.

And in May, a United Airlines passenger flying from Spokane, WA to Denver was arrested for allegedly masturbating in his seat.

Those bad-boy stories make great headlines. But there are plenty of common, clueless behaviors witnessed by travelers and crew members that’s just plain gross. Here are five activities to steer clear of on your next flight.

Toenail clippers and skin peelers

An unsettling number of travelers report witnessing other passengers clipping toenails mid-flight. Jill Bazeley of Merritt Island, FL can’t forget the “scruffy-looking fellow” she sat next to on a flight from Denver to San Diego. “Through an hour or so of studious picking at his filthy feet, he managed to deposit an unpleasant bounty of skin peelings on the cabin floor,” said Bazeley.

Tray-table diaper changers

Alex Kremer of Boulder, CO is still grossed out by the couple traveling with their baby in the first class cabin on a United Airlines flight. “At one point in the flight I looked up and saw the mother changing the baby’s used diaper right on the seat. She then used her blanket to clean up and tried to hand it to the flight attendant who rightly told her to handle her own waste.”

Scantily-clad seatmates

No one wears their Sunday best to fly anymore, and some people hardly wear anything.

This man flies regularly on US Airways, in equally fetching outfits. Back in 2007, you may remember, student and Hooters waitress Kyla Ebbert was asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight because a crew member declared her in-flight attire too skimpy. It may have been: when she visited the “Today” show wearing the same outfit, rebroadcasts were edited because Ebbert flashed the national television audience when she sat down.

Bawdy browsers

Not every X-rated website gets blocked by in-flight Wi-Fi and it’s easy for travelers to load porn on portable devices. But watching that stuff on airplanes is just downright creepy.

Stinky snackers

Some people don’t bother to shower before heading to the airport. Others think fried chicken, barbecue ribs and other smelly, greasy and messy meals are acceptable grab-n’-go fare.

They’re not.

This story originally appeared on msncbc.com Overhead Bin blog.

Photo of stunt on wing courtesy The Commons, Flikr  and San Diego Air & Space Museum.