Passengers Behaving Badly: You'll never look at, or reach into, an airline seat-back pocket the same after reading this. Besides being a repository for magazines, newspapers, books, iPods and air-sickness bags, seatback pockets get stuffed with all kinds of disgusting trash, from toenail clippings to mushy meals. People do things on airplanes that they would never do in other public settings. They pluck eyebrows, polish nails and pick noses. They stick chewed gum in places only other passengers will discover.
They blow noses into blankets that get folded up for the next weary traveler. They prop bare feet up on bulkheads and seats. Sometimes they even engage in sex acts. One reason frequent fliers and flight attendants perceive an increase in offensive behavior may be the decline in air service -- customers seek retaliation for late flights, snippy workers, lost baggage and unavailable upgrades. Flight attendants often say that the biggest messes they have to deal with are dirty diapers left in seat-back pockets or worse, handed to them while they are serving beverages and snacks. "Would you hand that off to your server at a restaurant?" said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing workers at several big airlines. "It's amazing how people treat the inside of aircraft cabins as opposed to other public spaces."