These days, I feel like it’s noteworthy if I can make it through a flight without being astonished (and annoyed) by the behavior of some of my fellow passengers. You’ll find plenty of examples on the Passenger Shaming Facebook page that leave me shaking my head.
Why do some people turn into toddlers having temper tantrums when they travel? Science suggests there’s a psychological root to the problem: the feeling of being out of control. It’s no excuse, of course, but at least it makes sense. Someone else is driving, you have to obey a long list of rules (including some that may seem ridiculous), you’re crammed in a small space with a bunch of strangers — it’s not ideal all around.
If you’re traveling this week, try to remember — and avoid — these bad behaviors:
Disrespecting Others’ Space
Tight quarters make some people push the boundaries of ‘their’ space. Ever witnessed any of these?
- Headrest grabbers — if I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a passenger grab a headrest as he or she tries to get in or out of the row I’d be a wealthy woman. Unless that seat is empty, do your best to leave it alone. I was finally asleep on an international flight last year when someone grabbed my headrest and pulled my hair on his way out of his seat. I wasn’t pleased.
- Armrest hoarders — I sat next to one on a short flight home on a business trip. He contorted himself in very interesting ways so he’d never leave either armrest free. Honestly, it made me laugh.
- Kickers — from kids (or even adults) kicking your seat from behind to fellow passengers kicking your feet (yes, that’s happened to me), flailing about seems to be a common response to a sardine situation. Just don’t, okay?
- Aimless aisle dwellers — I was on an international flight with a woman who thought nothing of standing in the aisle for more than an hour … with her derriere in another passenger’s face. I completely understand needing to get up and move during a long flight, but respect that there are people around you.
Are you picking up on a theme? Be aware you’re not the only person on the plane.
Abusing the Flight Attendants
I kid you not, these things have actually happened in front of my very eyes:
- A passenger filled out his customs paperwork incorrectly — twice — and proceeded to tear the forms into tiny pieces and scatter them on the floor. Just… why?
- The same guy had trouble with his in-flight entertainment system and yelled for the flight attendants to come set it up for him, repeatedly. Notice he yelled; no call button needed when you can bellow!
- On a flight to Athens, Greece we flew with a group of college students who got so incredibly drunk the police were called to meet them at the gate when we arrived. Having a drink (or even a few on a long flight like that) is just fine, but save the all-out bender for after you land.
We’ve all witnessed awful behavior while traveling; what was the last act that astonished you?