Feet up or feet down? Uncover the traveller's dilemma

Feet up or feet down? Uncover the traveller's dilemma

29 November 2018

Our recent research shows that two in five people are guilty of putting their feet on seats while travelling on trains. Train etiquette is a topic that gets people fired up, it would seem.

If you want to liven up a party, get people talking about what really annoys them about fellow passengers’ habits on their daily commute or longer train journeys. Everyone has something to contribute and many have amusing stories to tell. The one about the man who changes out of his running gear into a suit, spraying on a bit of deodorant just to mask the sweat. Nice. Or the loved up couple who has mistaken the quiet carriage for a honeymoon suite. Everyone has a story.

Feet on seats - fine or not fine?

It’s the good old feet on seats subject that provokes the most reaction, however. It’s a bit like eating Nutella straight out of the jar. Nobody admits to doing it, but so many people actually do. Our recent research  with of 500 UK adults shows that 41% of train passengers have reached out for that beckoning empty seat in front of them. Whether they care or not about train etiquette, most are unaware that there is a by-law that fines £50 for doing so as well as a police caution. If you are caught red footed.

The science of putting our feet up

Of course, we all want to put our feet up, who doesn’t after a long day? Dr Sara Kayat, GP at GPDQ, the UK’s doctor-on-demand app & ITV’s This Morning Resident GP certainly understands the urge:
“By elevating our legs, we improve the mobility of fluids in the body - blood flow is increased which reduces the work your body must do to pump the blood back up to the torso. After a long day at work, or a late night, our bodies need all the help they can get to ease the strain and alleviate any stiffness in our muscles.

“My advice to anyone feeling the urge to put their feet on the seats, is to listen to what your body is telling you and move. Walk around and help your body pump blood back up to your heart quicker and more efficiently. If there’s nowhere to walk, passengers can do some simple foot and ankle exercises and stretches such as circling the foot or tapping it up for 10 and down for 10, four or five times which will encourage blood circulation.” 


Other irritating behaviour on trains

This same piece of research also highlighted other irritating behaviour commonly found on trains. In order of train rage potential, they are:

Sneezing and coughing without covering mouth (25%)
Putting feet on seats (19%)
Loud phone calls (19%)
Listening to music too loudly (18%)
Eating smelly food (14%)
Misusing priority seats (5%)

So, in short, always carry tissues, avoid stinky snacks, tone down the bass, ease off on the grooming and keep the seats clean. And if you are bringing your jar of Nutella with you, bring two spoons and offer some to your fellow traveller. Just wait and see their reaction.



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