We flyers may think of ourselves as Economy, Business or even First—in line with the cabin class we can afford to fly—but that’s not how a study funded by the EU Commission classifies us.
Instead, this three-year study grouped passengers into nineteen distinct types—and they’re not very flattering.
The mean passenger classifications formed part of the reports on cabin issues prepared by the VR-HyperSpace program—a collective of some of the best minds in Europe working with an Aviation Advisory Board of specialists in the fields of design, and the passenger experience.
VR-HyperSpace determined each of us fall into one of these 19 Y categories. (Possibly more than one.)
- The Aisle Clogger or Procrastinator ignores people behind them, who are in a rush to get to their seats, and fiddles with their bag in the overhead bin as if they were alone on the aircraft. This category also breaks down into not very nice sub-categories. The “narcissistic movie blocker” is our favorite.
- The Armrest Hog. We’ve already identified solutions for this problem.
- The Children. ‘Nuff said. (Though some are actually much older than they appear).
- The Complainer is self-explanatory, though it includes a curious sub-category of “coffee snob.” Airport concessionaire Starbucks will not be pleased.
- The Couples are not all romantic. This group also has subsets— “Ma and Pa Kettle” and “Feral Parents” standout.
- The Disease Sharer—Ewwwww. Please. Here’s a tissue.
- The Drinker. Aviation has many, many problems thanks to this passenger.
- The Easy-Going Passenger is the only category on the “plus” side of the equation. Evidently, they are in short supply.
- The Ill-Mannered. This person acts like they’ve never been on a plane before and does everything wrong, from not understanding exit rows to being oblivious how to disembark.
- The Luggage Hog. There’s an entire Twitter feed dedicated to this passenger.
- The Odour Offender. We’re not touching that one.
- The Oversized Passenger. As seats get narrower and tighter, we’ll all soon ‘fit’ in this category—except the kids and they have their own issues.
- The Personal Space Invader. We know what they mean, but we still had a flashback to 1980’s charming pixelated aliens—as satisfying as popping bubble wrap, right?
- The Recliner. The whole world has heard of the battles this passenger started.
- The Self-Important Passenger. Whoever “Mr. Pompous” is will be annoyed by this classification, but not as much as “Ms. New York.”
- The Sleeper. At first we thought this was one affront too many, but sleeping isn’t really the problem—snoring is. As is pretending to sleep, evidently.
- The Talker. Yeah.
- The Techies. Gotta give credit to the self-proclaimed Geeks who worked on this study for including themselves. Fair’s fair.
- The Toilet Goer. Jeez! What’s the alternative??
The group was tasked with identifying problem areas in the aircraft cabin and determining how Virtual Reality technology could help address those issues in future. In other words, if you can’t make the problem go away, then perhaps you can help the passenger get away from the problem—at least in an alternate virtual reality world.
It’s all GeeXplained below:
Fun as all of this sounds, the science behind it is 100% serious. We can’t wait to learn more about it from the panel of experts scheduled to debate its worth next week at the Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg.