Emotional Turbulence is Making Flying Even Worse

What’s going on with people on airplanes? I ask this after reading about a man who decided to act like a baby because a baby was crying on the Southwest flight he was on. (Three words for this guy – noise cancelling headphones.) His behavior was so problematic that he was escorted from the aircraft by law enforcement. 

People being, ahem, very free with their emotions, as in having no qualms in aggressively sharing their feelings started gathering steam during the pandemic. But I, being rather naïve it seems, thought once the face mask mandate ended so would the temper tantrums. 

Gone my friends are the days when the worst plane behavior was having your hygiene rights violated when a passenger chose to give themselves a pedicure on the plane. Toenail clippings on your tray table anyone? Or enduring the foul odor of whatever mystery food the guy across the aisle from you decided to bring aboard. Sustenance that you’re sure had to be some sort of decomposing sea creature.

Now you have all that and being in a constant state of alert for a crazy passenger incident. Last month when I was traveling, I witnessed several cases of people being jerks. One was when a woman was told her Lululemon fanny pack counted as a carry-on and since she also had a handbag and a suitcase, she needed to reduce her carry-on number to two.

It’s my opinion that a sane person would have just taken the fanny pack off and shoved it into their handbag or suitcase. Presto – two carry-on items. It’s the easiest math word problem ever. Susie has three carry-on items. She needs to reduce that number to two. One carry-on item will fit into one of her two other two bags. What should Susie do?

But no – this woman had to cause a scene, argue with the gate agent, and finally after realizing that she wasn’t to get her own way belligerently acquiesced and gave her fanny pack to a friend to carry. (Seriously, all that and she had a friend she could hand it to. Biggest eye roll ever on that.)

All I was thinking as I watched this go down was there’s a “Rules Don’t Apply To Me” (RDATM) human in all their glory. I bore witness to the RDATM five days a week for sixteen years at school drop off and pick off.  

These are the people that think they’re superior to any other life form and therefore any rule is not meant for them or at the very least the rules are open to their interpretation. At school drop off this meant the RDATM would ignore any school policies or safety signs because their wants and needs superseded everything and anyone. 

Now, it appears the RDATM are living large and bringing their attitude to air travel. On that same flight an announcement had to be made that all electronic devices should be used with headphones. One would think this would be a given but apparently not because after the announcement was made at least one passenger got in a brief verbal sparring match with a flight attendant over the common sense decree.

Spoiler alert: the flight attendant won, just like the gate agent won the two bags kerfuffle. Because they have the power. You, the passenger, do not. If you can’t handle this fact, then perhaps commercial air travel isn’t for you.

Granted flying isn’t fun. It’s a means to an end that you have to endure while telling yourself it’s faster than driving – hopefully. But that doesn’t mean you as a passenger should strive to create emotional turbulence while you gain internet fame by having your plane meltdown go viral.


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