Brits prefer screaming children to obese passengers on flights

child screaming on flight

Would you rather sit next to a screaming child or an overweight passenger on a flight? It seems that most Brits would prefer to be placed beside a noisy youngster for the duration of a plane journey, a new survey has revealed.

Flight comparison website found that 32 per cent of Britons would least like to be sat next to an obese passenger as they don't want them encroaching into the seat space.

The poll found that 57 per cent of British travellers find themselves seated away from their party during a flight, while hoping they don't find themselves next to an obese person or a screaming child.

While overweight passengers were the least favoured, screaming children followed closely with 29 per cent and people with poor hygiene was third in the list of people Brits would not like to be sat next to on a flight. Someone scared of flying (17 per cent) and someone who doesn't stop talking for the whole flight (16 per cent) were also unpopular flight companions.

obese person travelling by plane

Delving a little deeper, the website asked Brits why they would not like to sit next to someone they considered to be overweight or obese, with the majority of respondents, 73 per cent, stating they wanted their seat space to themselves without having someone encroach into their space, as well as having their own.

European travellers were also asked the same question, with respondents from Spain (26 per cent) and France (23 per cent) agreeing that they'd least like to be seated next to an overweight passenger, while the most popular response from Italy was 'a screaming child' (18 per cent) and from German respondents, it was 'someone who doesn't stop talking' (16 per cent).

The website surveyed 2,548 British adults and 1,000 European adults.

Antoine Michelat, co-founder of, told AOL Travel: "We've always thought that screaming babies on a flight were the most annoying, but people are getting much better at coping with this situation as they understand that babies are babies and there's nothing that can be done to soothe them on a flight when their ears pop, or the air conditioning gets too much for them.

"Some companies are already looking into introducing a section on their planes for people over a certain weight, and while this is a good thing for those who don't want to find someone using their own seat and half of theirs too, it does run the risk of fat-shaming those who can't necessarily control their weight."

Who would you least like to sit next to on a flight? Tell us below.

Silliest ever passenger requests
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Brits prefer screaming children to obese passengers on flights

Yes, according to a survey of Virgin Atlantic's cabin crew, this is the most frequent mad request they get... seems that a worrying number of us have a lot to learn when it comes to the basic science of aviation...

Speaking about their weirdest passenger requests to, one steward said a passenger was worried about Heathrow Airport being so close to Windsor Castle as the plane was coming into London and asked if cabin crew could arrange for the planes not to fly over the castle in the future in case the Queen found it a nuisance. What a thoughtful flyer!

One Virgin Atlantic crew member was asked by a very famous celebrity, who pressed their call bell, to fix their hair. The flight attendant agreed to the unusual request and headed back to the galley to get a hair brush, comb and small can of hairspray. When he returned armed with the hairdressing equipment, the star roared with laughter and explained it was the AIR they wanted fixed and pointed overhead! The poor steward turned on the air vent and crept back to the galley. Cringe...

Er, we're hoping the passenger was't serious about this request. Another passenger asked: "Please can the captain stop the turbulence?". 

While flying into Nice in the South of France, one cheeky passenger asked a stewardess if the pilot could 'go a bit further down the coast so we can have a look at Monaco,' she told

We know they have some luxurious cabins but we would have liked to see the face of the flight attendant who was asked by a passenger where they could take a shower on a Virgin Atlantic flight.

A playroom, indeed. Sometimes, passengers appear to forget they're 30,000ft in the air.

Yes, someone really did ask a Virgin flight attendant this question. 

A stewardess told that a traveller asked her: 'Why am I getting such a poor mobile phone signal? This flight is going to be really long and I’ll be bored if I can’t use my smart phone.' Oh dear!

One steward told flight attendants' forum that one cheeky passenger asked them to get his blanket. He said: 'I once got asked mid flight if I could nip down into the hold and get a passenger his blanket out of his suitcase. After a full description of the bag I then explained this wasn't possible, to which he insisted he was going to go instead.'

This request may have been understandable if it came from a three-year old. But it didn't. It came from a fully grown adult.

This strange request came from a passenger on another Virgin flight... we're still trying to find out if said object was ever found....


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15 flights from hell
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Brits prefer screaming children to obese passengers on flights

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