Airlines – Microcosm of Society

March 14, 2010

in Flying Hell Commentary

So, what did you think? You purchased a ticket to fly from point A to B. The expectation is that you’ll have a comfortable seat and arrive at your destination on time. I think for the most part, barring situations out of the airlines control, that is what you get. The trouble is… for the same fare you paid, there are other people traveling with you who expect a bit more. They expect you to share your seat with them because they can’t fit in their own. They would like you to tolerate their offensive children and in some cases help watch them. They are the most demanding and expect to be treated like royalty. And we put up with their offensive behavior.

It is the same in our everyday lives. We pay our fare (taxes) and conduct ourselves in a civilized manner. However, we subsidize those around us who pay the same fare, or in many cases no fare at all, and enjoy the same benefits that we do.

While it is true that we live in a “Society” and should be tolerant of the behavior of others, it seems that those of us who “Play by the Rules” are being trampled on by those who would take advantage of our generosity.

I fly first class now, because of the rude and offensive behavior of a small minority of travelers that the Airlines refuse to control. It cost me a lot of money and I would prefer to fly coach, but I can not risk the lack of productivity I may experience in coach.

– Craig in Scottsdale, AZ

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Marta March 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Amen Brother Craig, But buying a 1st class ticket does not guarantee anything. Rude and offensive people are everywhere, even in the better seats.


Jody March 15, 2010 at 2:45 am

Marta's right — I've seen just as many rude people in first class as I have in coach. One example is the man who tried to bully me into moving out of the aisle seat I'd reserved so he could have it.


Jim March 15, 2010 at 9:38 am

Bravo. Very eloquently expressed opinion. And, I very much agreee.


Lon March 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

Very well written, Craig. You speak for millions of us. I just wish I could afford first class as well. Flying these days is like a Greyhound bus with wings.


rerere March 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I must say, this is probably the only story on here I agree with.


Kad March 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm

It sucks travelling with plebes, doesn't it?

It's good you can afford first class. The stench of Superior Man is overpowering.

People are selfish, uncaring, and unsympathetic in the strangest places. It's almost like there is an inverse correlation between how much human-animal we are able to tolerate and how much control we have over our environment.

I have run across 6 lane highways to administer First Aid to the occupants of a van that tumbled several times at highway speed, given my winter gloves to someone new to 'winter', and brought food to honestly homeless people. But I am no angel.

In other circumstances, I would have watched the occupants of the van drive off after leaving the bar they must have been at, wishing them good riddance, complained about f***king immigrants, or stepped callously over someone whose lot in life was not as fortunate as mine (and I am not a rich person).

While well written, your paeon to the needs of those whose tolerance is trampled by those who don't even realize they act like they are the center of the universe is only one side of the story. Not every hero is awarded a medal, and not every villain is punished. That only happens in movies.

Sometimes, you do have to stand up for your rights, for your personal space, and if it makes you look like an a-hole doing it, then so be it.

I completely understand your sentiments Craig, but just feel that avoidance is not the solution. Adults, as much as their chronological age or imagined upbringing or shared common sense might influence how we perceive them at first sight, sometimes still need to be taught manners.



Kad March 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Sorry, I meant the stench of Superior Man is overpowering back here in economy, the only way I have ever flown.


jane May 10, 2010 at 11:25 am

Craig, I've obviously not experienced half of you what you've experienced while flying the friendly skies as I've almost always had an enjoyable flight. However, I find that attitude is everything. I've been around crying babies and I try to have empathy for the parents. We were all once babies, after all. I've been around fat people and assume that maybe they've got a thyroid condition they can't control. After all, who really wants to be fat?

I assume the flight attendant might be a little bitchy because maybe she just got done dealing with a major league a-hole. Or maybe she had to clean up crap – literally – off the seats.

So the key is to not take it personally, smile, have some compassion, and I think you'll be halfway there.


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