The absolute worst kids on the plane

No one likes to be kicked in the seat by little feet.

No one likes to be kicked in the seat by little feet.  (iStock)

While we adore our tiniest flyers in most situations, they can be a handful in the worst way possible trapped in a giant flying tube (especially if their parents are phoning it in — after all it’s not totally the kids’ fault). Here are eight tots that can go from adorable to unbearable in no time flat on board a long flight.

1. The seat kicker

In an airplane-etiquette survey Expedia conducted last year, seat kicking reigned as the number one most annoying on-board behavior. More than 67 percent of study respondents voted the rear seat kicker (and isn’t it always a fidgety kid?) as number one, followed by (ironically) “inattentive parents.” Like most passengers, we’ll take bumpy turbulence over a bumpy seat any day!

2. The snobby kid

Some passengers find the business-class section of a plane a sanctuary from all the crying kids in the back. But, more than ever, elite passengers are discovering their seatmates are little tykes who are fully aware they’re in the good seats and have plenty to complain about (being bored, tired, flight is too long, blah, blah, blah). Things just get worse when it’s a celeb-u-tot. Like that time a passenger told Kourtney Kardashian’s kids to pipe down on the plane, she took to Twitter: “People on airplanes are so wild these days… Telling other people’s kids to cover their mouths. Cover YOUR mouth.” Sometimes it’s hard to decide who’s worse — the child or the bratty parent.

3. The screamer/crier/whiner

Not only have crying and screaming kids gotten their parents kicked off planes and in trouble with the law, but the ungodly decibels that only annoying children can achieve have prompted some airlines to dedicate child-free zones on their planes. (Um, why hasn’t the FAA made this mandatory?) In addition, Brazilian airlines are pushing for a “baby tax” where families with kids pay more for airfare and last year, Etihad Airlines launched a free on-board nanny service to keep the kids calm.

4. The messy kid

It doesn’t matter how neat and clean you are, if you’re stuck on the plane in front of this little on, you can be pretty sure you’ll eventually disembark with crumbs in your hair, stepping over nuts and Cheerios ground into the airplane carpet. And beware of the sticky arm rests and bathroom door handles. Add a runny nose and it’s just another reason to always bring anti-bacterial wipes when flying. But passengers don’t have it as bad as the crew, who have to clean up after this terror.

5. The hyper/restless kid

Some parents think it’s fine to let their kids run up and down the aisle during longer flights, maybe because it burns off energy or perhaps because it gives mom and dad time off from the constant supervision. But even if a parent is close behind, passengers are forced to hear little feet stomp along the length of the plane and/or to be whacked by small flailing limbs along the way. Even worse is when other kids see this as an opportunity to break free from their seats, triggering a whole army of kids running amok and turning the plane into a playground. Not OK. Not even to the flight attendants. 

According to mom and onetime Southwest crew member Naina Shahani-Mirchandani, “A child should really be occupied in his seat and should not need to run up and down the aisle. Its very annoying to see a child let loose especially while we are busy with our service. On long flights, its understandable to stretch one’s legs but we expect parents to accompany the parents and please, wait till the meal service is done!”

6. The smelly kid

Some parents feel the need to use the entire plane as a diaper. Gross, but true: A child reportedly pooping on a plane seat on a Delta flight last year (the parents covered the seat with newspapers — how thoughtful). And it’s not unusual for babies to drop a (stink) bomb or two during the flight. (If this emotional support pig can get kicked off a plane for crapping in the aisle, should little humans, too?) 

7. The chatty kid

Chatty Cathy is generally one of the most annoying passengers on a flight but what if Cathy is six years old? While adorable and curious, she’s probably the last person you want conversation with, because of course she continues to ask the same question in different ways. Or maybe she’s having a loud conversation with her doll. In fact, several years ago, a kid actually got kicked off a plane for being too chatty. According to the Associated Press, Kate Penland’s then 19-month-old son, Garren, started saying ‘Bye, bye plane,’ before takeoff — and wouldn’t stop. When the other passengers started complaining, Penland got mad and eventually she and her son were asked to leave. That seems a little extreme. Maybe just give the kid a pack of pretzels (peanuts are too risky) and offer him a window seat.

8. The ultimate nightmare kid

It’s fair to say no one wants to sit next to a kid who kicks your seat, complains, talks up a storm and manages to poop themselves all on one flight. But as they say in airline business, the sky’s the limit. Passengers who survive the ultimate nightmare child passenger deserve a medal.

Actor Liam Hemsworth recently admitted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that his own three kids were those kids on a recent flight from London to Australia (a 30-hour trip). "It was kind of like the trip from hell,” said Hemsworth. “They were all sick and literally took turns to scream. One would kinda do it and then look over and be like, ‘I’m done, you want a turn?’ 'Yep, Wahhhh!’ The whole cabin, yeah, wanted to kick us off… I don’t know what people expect though — you’re gonna put them in the suitcase or something?“ You said it Hemsworth, not us.

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