Travel Notes: Annoying kids are No. 1 etiquette violators on plane

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If you are a parent who lets your children scream and go nuts on a plane, congratulations -- You top the list of most annoying etiquette violators in the air.

Parents who travel with loud children are considered more annoying than passengers who kick the seat in front of them and travelers with foul odors. Even fliers who take off their shoes and socks in the air-tight cabin are less offensive, according to a survey of 1,001 Americans by the travel website Expedia.

Annoying children and their parents were ranked by 41 percent of those surveyed as the most annoying airplane etiquette violators. So it was no surprise that 49 percent of Americans surveyed said they would pay extra to be seated in a designated "quiet zone," free of screaming children, the survey found.

But the survey pointed out some hypocrisy: Travelers who fully recline their seats were ranked as the seventh worst violation, even though 80 percent of travelers admitted they fully recline their seat during the flight.

"Most of us, when we look at the list of offending behaviors, can admit to having committed one or more of these violations," said John Morrey, general manager of Expedia.

Customized deals

When you go online to search for an airfare, you often see the lowest price appear at the top of your computer screen.

But what if your airline search site instead offered you a customized flight package deal - adding extras such as wireless Internet access and a seat with extra legroom - based on what you have booked in the past?

In the future, airlines will increasingly offer travelers customized airfares based on detailed information that carriers have collected, even data about your income, the neighborhood where you live and your travel patterns, according to industry experts.

"We expect to see more airlines adopt this trend in commerce as they continue to offer passengers a more personalized travel experience," said Vaughn Jennings, a spokesman for Airlines for America, a trade group for the nation's airlines.

It's a trend that worries consumer advocates.

"It will be the death of comparison shopping," said Charles Leocha, director of the nonprofit Consumer Travel Alliance and author on travelers' rights.

A consumer protection panel, appointed by the U.S. Transportation Department, will meet Monday in Washington to discuss customized airfare pricing. The panel could recommend a new federal rule that requires airlines to disclose what information they are collecting from travelers, said Mr. Leocha, who is a member of the board.

Delta Air Lines, one of the nation's largest carriers, uses passenger data on a limited basis to offer travelers the options that they are most likely to want, said spokesman Paul Skrbec. But he said Delta will always protect the private information of its customers.

"Privacy is an absolute top priority for us," he said.


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