When you're anticipating a flight and know the seat next door will contain a stranger, certain worries come to mind: Will he or she be a messy sneezer? A rambunctious snorer? An over-exuberant chatter? But of all the scenarios we dread, perhaps none elicit the “oh-no” factor as much as a parent with a bawling baby.
However, a new Harris Poll finds that a weeping tot isn’t the worst offender on a plane; that honor belongs to the stinky seatmate. When presented with the statement, “I would rather be seated next to a crying baby than a smelly adult,” 63 percent agreed, 23 percent disagreed, and 14 percent weren’t sure.
Who else do we hope doesn't get assigned to the seat next to us? The “fall asleep on your shoulder” stranger — in fact 55 percent of those polled said they’d rather have to pay for carry-on baggage than have an unknown person snooze nearby with physical contact. (On the other hand, that means that 39 percent would prefer such accidental cuddling to paying for carry-on.)
As for the incessantly yammering traveling companion, we seem split on that if it means more room is at stake; 50 percent of respondents indicated it would be worth having a gabby seatmate to be in a seat with extra legroom.
The online poll included 2,276 U.S. adults and gauged popular opinion on air travel issues other than seatmates, including preference of airline (Alaska/Horizon Airlines), willingness to pay for extra legroom (58 percent), and how many of us would be happy to pay more to avoid the claustrophobic middle seat (53 percent).
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