Home » How to travel like an @$$hole: the beginner’s guide becoming a modern travel jerk
In this humorous take on the various ways you can travel like a total A$$H0le we do a little passenger shaming (and have some fun along the way). From manspreaders, to maskholes, armrest bogarters, and more, here is your beginner's guide to traveling like a jerk (freshly updated for 2022!).

How to travel like an @$$hole: the beginner’s guide becoming a modern travel jerk

by Jeremy B

In this humorous take on the various ways you can travel like a total A$$H0le we do a little passenger shaming (and have some fun along the way). From manspreaders, to maskholes, armrest bogarters, and more, here is your beginner’s guide to traveling like a jerk (freshly updated for 2022!).

We’ve all seen them. You know who I am talking about. Those special travel jerks that you encounter at the airport or hotel while you travel. Yes, those people…the ones that seemed to have skipped manners school and seem to show off their entitled douchery in every oblivious action they take.

Yes, them.

The rude. The jerks. The self-centered, narcissistic-world-belongs-to-them (and no, we are not talking about Millennials…lol). Yes, the Travel A$$H0le.

In our series of travel horror stories, we’ve highlighted a few of these. Like the Noisy Passengers, Babies, Loud Talkers and Chatty Grandmas as well as The 7 Most Annoying Airline Passengers (A Travel Rant).

We’ve even lampooned them in some of our travel memes like:


So, building on that theme, we’ve collected a list of several ways people can travel like total jerks in our snarky beginner’s guide to being a travel A$$H0le. Enjoy!

And, if you are taking notes…don’t do these things. Please.


The Rest of us Normal Travelers


The Beginner’s Guide to becoming a Travel A$$H0le

We’ve provided several examples of how to travel like a complete dipstick, below.


The manspread. Dear lord…

Why do so many travelers (usually, men, for some reason) feel the need to manspread? I don’t get it. We are all cramped on this plane. We can all agree that there’s not enough room for our legs. But why does that give you the right to flop your fat knees into my seat space!??!?

It doesn’t!

The first rule of traveling like an a-hole is manspreading. It’s a go-to move for the dicks amongst us who have absolutely no regard for anyone else. Please stop.


As an aside, while researching this article I found this on Wikipedia…which is interesting. Do with it what you will.

“Sitting more expansively may signal dominance and sexual attractiveness for males. Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, a UC Berkeley post-doctorate researcher recently published studies that found spreading out legs and arms is more sexually attractive when males do it. Using photographs, she found that images of men spreading out got 87% of interest among female viewers. Expansive poses were not as effective for women, who appeared “vulnerable” and “starfish-like” according to other researchers.[19] On the other hand, some analysts have found that women sitting cross-legged may be perceived positively as an expression of femininity.[20] The opposite seating posture to manspreading, leg-crossing, is often viewed as effeminate.”

Be Rude to travel staff (and passengers)

Rule #2 of A-hole travel is easy. Just be rude. To everyone. Flight attendants. Cabbies. Passengers.

No “good morning.” Or “Sorry, didn’t mean to bump you with my bag, there buddy.” No need for an “Excuse me” when you brush by me. Nope. Just rude. For no reason.

Listen, we get it. Sometimes (oftentimes) travel ain’t fun. You are up early. Probably jetlagged. Maybe you are stressed because your kids are freaking out or your business deal went sideways. But don’t be a dick. There’s really no good reason.

Make an effort to be a little more polite to the folks you encounter while traveling. Greet that flight attendant with a smile – even if she/he/they don’t smile back. Say hi to your fellow passenger. Apologize when you smack someone in the face with your backpack.

It’s not that hard.

Be a Maskhole

The easiest way to ascend to the top of the travel arsehole org chart is to become a Maskhole. Sure, wearing masks on planes sucks. It’s not fun. But, it still is the law. When you don’t wear your mask incorrectly, or let it “slip down below your nose” you are not Rosa Parks. You aren’t making a point. Your just a dick.

Just wear it right. The flight attendants don’t need your crap. They certainly aren’t getting paid enough to deal with your political protest. Don’t make your Spirit Airlines flight to Fort Lauderdale the political hill you die on…write your congressperson instead.

How to travel like a Maskhole

The Drunk

I remain incredibly impressed by people that are pounding booze at 6AM in the airport bar. And somewhat terrified.

The number one cause of inflight incidents is being a Trump supporter living in Florida and booking Spirit Airlines flights. No, that can’t be right. Sorry, the number one cause of inflight incidents is alcohol. True story. The FAA reports that alcohol-related incidents are on the rise and are often involved in the many (many!) inflight anti-mask incidents that have occurred in the last two years.

Don’t be the drunk. It won’t end well for you. The FAs don’t need it, and unless you are interested in taking a ride on the electric slide (taser), being banned from flying on that airline for life, or possibly facing hefty fines and jail time, just have two drinks, and then switch to coke.

Recline your seat

Unpopular opinion coming here…the “should I recline my seat or not” debate has raged on for years with folks staunchly on both sides of the issue.

My view is this. Don’t recline your seat unless you are in first-class or have a lie-flat seat. Airplane seats these days are getting smaller and smaller. We ALL have no room.

41% of travelers think it’s rude to recline your seat! I am surprised it’s not more. Delta is actually testing a concept where seat recline will be limited. This is great news!

Keep your seat upright and be courteous to the fella behind you. And if you do recline do so slowly. Don’t launch back like the plane just took on 4Gs of thrust. Ease it back giving that business lady behind you time to slide her glass of wine out of the way…

Don’t Tip

I don’t get the no-tipping crowd. Many of the folks working in the travel industry are not making big bucks. The cabbies and uber drivers are probably scraping buy. That guy driving your shuttle bus to the airport who just lugged your overpacked bag into the bin…he’s making 14.00/hr.

don't be a dick...tip the cabby!

The hotel maid has to clean your nasty bathroom for five days.

For god’s sake, tip! You don’t have to go all Bill Gates on ’em…but at least tip the minimum. And during the holiday’s spring for a bit more.

And yeah, the tipping culture has gotten a bit out of hand (you don’t need to tip the fast-food kid who took your order at Jack in the Box – even if there’s a tip jar), but there’s still a valid (and needed) place for tipping.

Here’s a good tipping guide for traveling from fellow BoardingArea.com partner Your Mileage May Vary

Hog the arm rests

Armrest hoggers are the devil’s kin. And travel jerks love to do this. Listen, this is simple: middle seat gets the armrests. They have the unfortunate malady of being stuck in a middle seat for 4 hours. You can lean a bit to the left (or right) and just use one.

One of the nice things about the utter desolation of the travel industry is that middle seats are kinda sorta empty right now which is super cool. Some airlines are even blocking them for now.

Either way, if you are sitting with someone in the middle seat, don’t be a dick and hog both of them.

’nuff said.

Don’t use headphones

The 26 passengers surrounding your seat really don’t want to hear the love scene on the latest episode of Game of Thrones or the beeping and booping of your Mario Kart game.

Get some headphones, for the love of Christ. If you didn’t bring any…then too bad for you. We don’t need to hear your show or your game, or your facetime with snookie. Grab that Skymall…and start reading about that inflatable vacuum cleaner your grandma bought.

Eat Stinky Food on the plane

Ever farted in a car on family vacation? Confined space, terrifying odor = irritation level 9. Now swap out the fart for a garlic laden Sbarro pizza and the van for an aluminum tube full of people with no legroom, 3 babies, 7 toddlers, a businessman with a migraine, two couples are arguing, some dude who hasn’t showered in 2 days and you get the perfect combination….why yes we’d love to smell your food. NOT!

pizza with raisins on top
Photo by Ikeen James on Pexels.com

I am surprised more emergency exits DON’T get opened.

Eat before you get on the plane, dude. And if you do bring food make sure it’s innocuous smelling. Like a nice boring turkey sandwich.

Leave your bag hanging out of the overhead bin

I’ve seen this so many times. Someone comes thumping up the aisle with a carry-on that probably should have been checked. They find a space and start jamming and cramming their bag into it. It’s CLEARLY not going to fit (anyone with a 3rd-grade education level can see this). But then…they just leave it. Leaving the flight attendant to deal with.


Knock that crap off.

Take your shoes off

Your feet are nasty. Mine are nasty. That’s because FEET are nasty. Want to get to the next level of Travel Jerk-ery? Take your nasty shoes off…

The last thing we want is to SEE your feet. And we certainly don’t want to see them draped all over the armrest or in the window or tray table.

Keep your shoes on.

Our Last Words

We could probably go on and on here. The hotel room smoker that I am sharing a joint-AC vent with. The loud talker on the plane. The security line cutter. The creepy hit-on-the-cute-girl-in-seat-11b guy. The too much perfume lady (or cologne guy…what are you? A mafia don!?). The nonstop airplane farter. The hotel porn guy at 2AM. The airline porn guy! Sheesh. The lean on your fellow passenger sleeper. The parent who lets their kids run around the plane uncontrolled. The clip your nails person.

On and on…

There are definitely many other examples of how to travel like a total jerk. What did we forget? What really chaps your hide when traveling? Drop us a comment or tweet us #TravelJerk.

You might also be interested in Airplane Etiquette: The Unwritten Rules for Traveling on a Plane

Check out the 10 Kinds of Passengers that Flight Attendants Hate

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And, of course, if you are interested in more travel tips and travel advice and product reviews, you might like these great articles:

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JohnC March 8, 2022 - 10:11 am

You forgot to mention the Prince of Travel as being the biggest @$$hole. First he beats Air France into giving him a First Class mistake fare by calling a million different reps before he was able to brow beat an agent to give him the ticket. Then when he receives word about it, he was already seated on a Lufthansa flight with checked luggage and causes a major delay of the flight so he can deplane. Biggest scammer out there.

Christian March 8, 2022 - 10:31 am

A really nice list to be sure. For me, blocking access to the bathroom because you feel like chatting is up there. Last fall my wife and I flew AA from Montego Bay to Miami. It was my wife’s birthday so I splurged for first class. Our flight attendant blocked access to the lav with a drink cart for over 45 minutes so the pilots could chat with her. She excused this by saying she had “to take care of my boys”. I finally lined up for the loo in the back.

The C Boarding Group March 8, 2022 - 11:42 am

That’s so annoying!


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