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Over-reclining and other flier offenses: What would you do?

By Katia Hetter, CNN
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Does she really want to talk to him? A slim percentage -- 12% -- would give in to a chatterbox for an entire flight, a survey says.
Does she really want to talk to him? A slim percentage -- 12% -- would give in to a chatterbox for an entire flight, a survey says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nearly half don't want to confront armrest hogs on plane, survey says
  • If a fellow traveler's hair or reclined seat invades space, fliers are more likely to speak up
  • Most travelers would punt to flight attendant if parents are ignoring screaming child

(CNN) -- You're sitting in an airplane's middle seat and your seatmates take both armrests. What do you do?

Nothing, apparently.

For all the air rage people express online, nearly 50% of travelers say they would sit quietly and say nothing, according to a Travel Leaders Group survey released Monday. About a quarter say they would say something directly to their seatmates.

Some fliers admit leaving devices on in flight

There was no option to say you'd seize the armrest when the armrest hog gets up to go to the restroom.

What if the person in the airline seat in front of you didn't put his or her seat back upright for takeoff and/or landing? Half say: "Sit quietly and say nothing."

Or if you were on a flight with people who talked so loudly that half the plane could hear them? More than one-third have the same "do nothing" answer. More than a quarter of responders would call a flight attendant to handle the loudmouth.

Invasion of the plane space snatchers

So what does it take to get travelers to speak to offenders directly? A pretty clear invasion of personal space apparently.

More than half of fliers would say something directly to someone who reclined so much that they couldn't lower their tray table or open up a laptop. If the traveler in the seat in front of you "invaded your personal space with an article of clothing and/or their hair so it was directly in front of you," more than two-thirds would speak to the "invader" directly.

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Calling the flight attendant for help was the second most popular answer in the case of the over recliner, with more than 20% opting to call in backup. Less than 10% of those affronted with hair in the face would call for flight attendant assistance.

Calling a flight attendant is the first solution only if the parents of a screaming child are not making an effort to control their child, with about 47% calling for help. Coming in second place on that one: Doing nothing.

That may make sense. If the parents allow that kind of screaming, can you imagine how they might scream if provoked?

If they won't stop talking ...

Now if you're sitting next to someone who wants to talk the entire flight, nearly 40% of people would use a book or other reading materials to limit the conversation. Nearly 20% would put on headphones in addition to reading to stop the talking. And some 12% of fliers would give in and talk to the person the entire flight.

The "What would you do?" travel questions were part of a Travel Leaders survey of 1,788 U.S. consumers from March 15 to April 8.

No tough talk here. What do you do when confronted with space-invading travelers? Please share in the comments section below.

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