The world's worst flying companions

Planning on spending the Queen's Diamond Jubilee abroad? Flying can be fun make no mistake. Unless that is, your sat next to the world’s worst flying companion in which case it’s agony. Kaye Holland presents the top ten “flight neighbours from hell.” The complainer Let’s face it aeroplanes are not the world’s most comfortable environment, but the conditions are the same for everyone (unless you’re a footballer of film star who can afford first class.) So why then is your neighbour so upset that he doesn’t have a pillow on a two hour flight? You can bet that the seat will be too uncomfortable for either sitting or sleeping and that the easyKiosk will have run out of his first choice of sarnie. What to do: Tell him to have a drink and lighten up.

The chatterbox You’ll recognise this person as soon as they sit down. They will make a remark about the weather/delay/seating arrangements and wait for your reply. Staring intensely at your book/magazine/lifejacket instructions won’t help matters – the chatterbox won’t be thwarted. It’s inevitable that you will be drawn into a conversation which will last the whole flight so don’t even try to fight it. What to do: Avoid catching his eye in the hope that he will assume you are deaf.

The stinker They may have bad BO or be a frequent passer of wind – both of which you will find difficult to ignore. It can be embarrassing too – especially when the cabin crew view you as a potential suspect for the unpleasant odours stinking out the aircraft. What to do: Try and trade places with another traveller. Good Luck!

The space invader: Space invaders encroach on what little space you have. Some merely hog the armrest while others invade your leg room by sitting with their legs wide apart. The worst offenders will go to sleep – perhaps even ending up on your shoulder in order to dribble and snore. Not a pleasant prospect. What to do: In extreme cases leapfrog over him to freedom.

The toddler Think you love children? You’ll change your mind after being trapped next to a toddler on a long flight. Unlike babies, toddlers are too big to lay passively in their mothers arms. Instead they will spend the whole flight squirming and squealing; flinging away baby toys and hurling their toys in a temper. By the time you have mopped the juice off your juicy couture sweats and tended to the bruises made by the toys, the toddler’s mood will have changed and you will be expected to play the dullest of dull games with him under the watchful eyes of his delighted parents. What to do: Face the facts. There is no way that you will be passing this journey in peace.

The seasoned traveller Spot them a mile off by the pouch containing maps, money off vouchers and guide books with post it notes. No matter where you are headed, he will have been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Before you land, he’ll have picked your dream holiday to pieces. What to do: Don’t tell him where you’re staying as no doubt he’ll know somewhere better.

The nervous flyer Spot him by his sweaty forehead and wringing hands. Other signs include the stiff whisky and white knuckle grip on the arm rest. Every slight hint of turbulence will send him into a spin. What to do: Talk to him soothingly to calm him down. If that fails, ply him with alcohol. If that doesn’t work, feign sleep.

The workaholic As soon as the seat-belt sign goes off, they reach for their computer bag – the first sign that you are sitting next to someone is who married to their work. This passenger is one of the most annoying kinds and their incessant tap-tap-tapping on the keys is sure to drive you round the bend. They will probably be a fidgeter too – drumming their fingers on the arm rest while they ponder what to write next. But the real reason you’ll hate the workaholic is that they remind you that you too have plenty of work to do. Grrrrr.

The flirt There is nothing the flirt likes more than captive prey. Expect inappropriate questions and be prepared for them to cuddle up close at any opportunity. What to do: Feign sleep or try flirting back so outrageously that they are frightened off. NB: Success isn’t guaranteed.

Other contenders include:

The joker Incessant – but tragically unfunny joke-teller.

The footie fan His team have just won/lost and you too will share in the ecstasy/agony (*delete as appropriate.)

The fiddler Will insist on playing with everything and we mean everything – seat belt, window blind, travel documents.

The homesick traveller Want to see pics of their family, friends, dog, cat, colleagues?

The messy eater Somehow half of their meal always ends up on your lap.

The bore Disastrous combination of the chatterer and seasoned traveller.

The music lover This passenger plays their iPod irritatingly loud meaning that you’re forced to endure their music preferences for the duration of the flight.