Episode 006: Gripes and Fights In-Flight


Welcome to episode 006 of the #PaxEx Podcast. Our guest is Benet Wilson, who is known throughout the aviation industry as the “Aviation Queen”. She is the social media/newsletters editor for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, author of the Aviation Queen blog, a contributor to Runway Girl Network, and creator of the escapist FaceBook group “I love sitting in 1st/Biz class“.

Benet has written a somewhat controversial piece entitled “10 passengers you don’t want to see at the airport or on your flight”, and it is generating plenty of discussion on social media and forums – including a response from #PaxEx expert John Walton in an article entitled “Every passenger has a story“. In this episode of the #PaxEx Podcast, we talk to Benet about how passenger etiquette is diminishing while tensions are rising in-flight.

We’ve previously explored how aircraft seats are getting smaller while passengers are getting larger, but this week we take the opportunity to talk to Benet – who self-identifies as a ‘passenger of size’ – about her own personal experiences, how weight can be a deterrent to travel, the indignities suffered by some passengers, and also how being a ‘passenger of size’ has impacted Benet’s pilot lessons. And we reveal some little-known intelligence about aircraft seats and lap extender belts.

Last but not least, we discuss whether or not there are barriers to entry for women in aviation, and consider opportunities for breaking into the field. We also ask Benet to table advice to young girls and women who may be considering entering the industry. Women of Aviation Week will be held 3-9 March!


  1. I was listening to the obnoxious passenger episode and I simply had to add one more that wasn’t on the list. Airline people AND passengers — guess that means lots of people — who could care less about people who need to connect.

    Why can’t the flight attendant make an announcement at a major hub and demand that everyone sit the Hell down until the folks who need to connect can run out the door first — especially when the airplane is late?

    And BTW, I may be old and white … but I still gots lots of fuzzy hair.

  2. Pingback: Aviation Queen

  3. Jon Norris

    Hi Mary, Max and Benet – another great episode of the podcast – thank-you.

    Benet – I have nothing but admiration for you following your candidness about being a ‘passenger of size’ – and maybe you should a friendly word with Jack Pelton over at Cessna 🙂

    I have 2 more pet-peeves to add to the list: 1) the seat recliners and 2) the bag over the shoulder head-hitters!

    As airlines squeeze more and more seats into aircraft and row seat pitch becomes tighter and tighter I see no reason why economy class seats need to have recline. There simply isn’t room for me to read a paper or use my laptop if the pax in front reclines.

    With some certainty on every flight I experience at least one passenger strolling down the aisle with a large heavy bag swung over their shoulder which duly swings into my head or shoulder … grrrrr!

    On the subject of airlines squeezing more and more seats into aircraft we only have ourselves to blame. With the constant drive from the traveling public to lower seat prices the airlines are being squeezed (financially) to the limit.

    Adding one additional seat in economy class on one plane adds approximately $1m in revenue over a ten year period for the airline. If we want to have more ‘real estate’ on the aircraft then we’re going to have to get used to the idea of paying more for our flight tickets – or the airlines are going to have to get a lot more creative in terms of generating ancillary revenue as bag fees alone will not cut it.

    On a last note Mary, if you do decide to start flying, please make sure you have someone in the cockpit with you to navigate 🙂


  4. James Crupi

    Reality is, regarding the test requirements for HIC, the industry is testing to the current compliance standards established by the regulatory agencies so there are not other criterion available to use for certification requirements. I think most will agree these standards are not likely representative of the ‘new average passenger size’, but unless the regs change there are not other standards to design or test to…informative podcasts, and interesting topics.