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Flight of Fancy


• Brits would most like to fly with the Royal Family
• Sportsman v statesman – David Beckham tied with Winston Churchill
• UK & Italy most prudish when it comes to canoodling couples
• Brits least concerned about body odour

A survey for London City Airport has found that travelling Brits would love to sit next to a celebrity on a flight, but are easily annoyed by fellow passengers’ bad habits.

The airport near Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands asked 200 people who they would most like to find sitting next to them on an aeroplane, with the most popular answer being a member of the Royal Family. Kate Middleton is our favourite Royal, followed by Prince Harry, Prince William and The Queen.

Hollywood glamour old and new continues to impress us, with Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Johnny Depp and George Clooney all making the top ten, while David Beckham and Winston Churchill are tied in fourth place – both have led their country, in very different ways.

In contrast, respondents would least like to sit beside a person with body odour. Brits are less concerned about poor personal hygiene than our European counterparts – 48% of Brits chose body odour compared to 70% of the Swiss, 64% Spanish, 61% Italians and 53% of the Irish. However, we and our Irish neighbours are far less patient when it comes to naughty children – 27% of Brits and 20% of Irish said they’d least like to sit near a child kicking their chair, compared to just 11% of Swiss, 13% of Italian and 14% of Spanish respondents.

That’s amoré, but not on an aeroplane – Italy joined the UK as the most prudish country – with 5% of each saying they would least like to sit next to an amorous couple, while it would bother a mere 2% of the apparently more liberal Swiss and Spanish nations.

Surprisingly, the usually chatty Irish are the least keen on having to put up with a stranger trying to make conversation with them on a flight – 5% compared to just 3% of the Swiss.

A spokesperson for London City Airport, which commissioned the survey, said: “When 30,000ft up in the sky, we get pretty up close and personal with our fellow passengers and if you’re sitting next to somebody you’re not keen on it can make for a long flight. Consider those around you. We suggest that if you are ever lucky enough to find yourself jostling for the armrest with Kate Middleton, Prince Harry or David Beckham, make sure you’re smelling fresh, don’t fall asleep and keep chewing to a minimum!”

Top ten people Brits would most like to sit next to on a plane:

1) A member of the Royal Family (13.5%)
2) Marilyn Monroe (12.5%)
3) Elvis Presley (12.1%)
4) David Beckham (11.1%)
= Winston Churchill (11.1%)
6) Stephen Fry (10.6%)
7) Richard Branson (8.0%)
8) Nelson Mandela (7.5%)
9) Johnny Depp (7.0%)
10) George Clooney (6.5%)

Top five types of people Brits would least like to sit near to on a plane:

1) Person with body odour (48.2%)
2) Child kicking your chair (26.8%)
3) Person snoring (6.6%)
4) Amorous couple (5.2%)
5) Person eating loudly (4.0%)

Editors note

Notes to editor

  • Top ten and top five listed are results from survey of 200 UK respondents only.  
  • International results are from survey of 200 people in each of UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
  • Survey conducted by OnePoll for London City Airport.
  • London City Airport (LCY) is the only London airport situated in London itself, just three miles from Canary Wharf, seven miles from the City and 10 miles from London’s West End and linked to all via the Docklands Light Railway. Catering for around 3.4 million passengers (63% travelling on business) and 70,000 movements annually, this year LCY will celebrate 27 years of operation. LCY offers a unique rapid transit proposition – a short check in (door to lounge) of around 20 minutes, and a shorter arrival (tarmac to train) of around 15 minutes.  Ten airlines fly out of LCY, serving more than 40 destinations across Europe, as well as a twice-daily business class only service to New York. The airport has permission to increase its operation to 120,000 movements per annum – carrying 6 million passengers - which it intends to do by 2023. Further information about the airport and its services can be found at 

 Media Contact:

Charlotte Beeching, External Communications Manager, London City Airport

Tel: 0207 646 0132


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Charlotte Beeching
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Tel: +44 (0)20 7646 0132

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Tel: +44 (0)20 3203 2497

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Out of hours urgent media enquiries only: 07747 103 884 / 07798 708 163

Please note - the press office does not deal with marketing, advertising or sponsorship. Please contact the switchboard on 0207 646 0000/88 and ask for the relevant department.

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