Standing on airplane seats: is it rude?

a seat in a planeTime for another edition of, “Is This Rude?”

Over the past several months, I have noticed something happening more and more often. People are boarding planes, trying to shove their rollaboards into the overhead bins, and they just won’t fit. So they climb up onto the seat to push it in. Then they get down and merrily walk on their way to their own seat. Honestly, I’ve been kind of appalled. I guess I see seats in planes like someone’s chair—chairs that are really close together, but chairs nonetheless. The idea of standing on someone’s chair would never occur to me, for any reason, but I’ve seen it happen on four of my last ten flights. In my opinion, if your bag won’t fit in the overhead bin it’s too full and you need to take something out or gate check it. When I think about all of the stuff that gets on people’s shoes, it icks me out to think of that same stuff on my chair! Really, the only thing I think is even a partial justification is if someone is very short, but even then, I don’t really like it.

Readers, what do you think? Is this rude? Or am I naïve for thinking that people should treat airplane seats like chairs?


  1. hhmmnn..i’ve seen flight attendants do it on both domestic airlines and on ANA when they are either getting demo equipment or their own bags.

  2. I have not seen the seat standing but the overhead cramming is amazing. I have to be careful about saying something so I do not get in trouble for causing a “commotion”. I did see a First Class passenger cram a very overstuffed bag into the bin shoving to the point that the bag tore the upper lining of the bin loose. Destroyed the bin. Passenger just laughed and sat down. When I contacted Delta saying I had pictures they did not seem to want them. It is starting to “rain morons” on airplanes!

  3. when you’re short and have lost something in the overhead bin the only option is to stand on a seat.

  4. I am pretty short and I am guilty of standing in the seat I SIT IN if I can’t reach my items. I am usually grabbing something in the way back, not shoving things around to make room. I do this because I am a firm believer you get the items yourself and don’t depend on someone else to get them for you. I travel with a small rolling computer bag that gets stuck down in the back of the bin and the newer/bigger planes are even taller than the older planes so I struggle at times.

  5. I’ve seen it maybe once or twice and I really don’t like when people do it. Not so bad when the person standing on the seat will be sitting in it, but still…

  6. “Then they get down and merrily walk on their way to their own seat.”

    This is the part I find rudest. Why aren’t they putting their bag above their OWN seat?

  7. I travel regularly for business, and at five feet tall, on most larger planes I have to stand on a seat in order to put my (small) carryon in the overhead bin or I can’t reach at all. I’ve only ever done this in my own seat, however, but if someone has a problem with it, he or she could offer to help put my luggage in as it’s clear I can’t reach on my own.

  8. I think a lot of people do this if they have over packed. If the bag is heavy then people can’t lift it over their head..having a rigid suitcase also makes things harder.
    These people need to travel lighter or check their bags.

  9. Disgusting. They should either ask for help or check their bags. What about damaging the structure of the plane? As a trainee pilot I find this simply appalling.

  10. It’s rude but the FA’s do it all the time. Just goes to show you how dirty those seats really are.

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