Heather Poole has a list of reasons why airplane passengers can’t behave.
A lot has changed since I first started working for a major U.S carrier. Twenty years ago, when passengers got upset about something, they’d ask for your name and the company’s address. Back then, the worst thing that would happen was a passenger would actually take the time to write the letter they threatened to write.
Now it’s a stream of irate tweets that starts before the plane even takes off. It’s passengers getting escorted off flights during boarding. It’s emergency diversions because one passenger attacked another passenger over a reclining seat.
When I first started flying, it was unheard of to divert a flight for anything other than a medical emergency. Unruly passenger behavior is on the rise.
Who’s to blame for the increase in rude behavior? #1:
If someone at your child’s school cuts your car off at pick up, you probably won’t flip them the bird or yell that they must be drunk. You don’t want them talking about what a jerk you are at the next PTA meeting. Either the chances of seeing them again are pretty high, or you know who they are so you give them the benefit of the doubt.
With strangers, it’s a different story. You completely lose it when some asshole moves your suitcase half an inch in the overhead bin, even when that asshole is me — the flight attendant just trying to make room for everyone’s bag.
And Facebook — or Twitter or Instagram — is the second reason I think bad behavior is on the rise. Just like on a plane, there’s a mental distance. You may be in a room full of people when you sit down at your desk to log on, but it’s almost like you’re all alone, surrounded by hundreds of other people you don’t really know. That makes it easier to say things you might not say in front of your close family or friends. That makes it easier to tell someone you barely know where they can stick it if they dare disagree with your opinion.
We spend so much time online speaking our minds, I can’t help but wonder what it’s doing to our in-person interactions. Polite conversations are dying, but telling someone off has become a competitive sport.
Not only has the internet spawned the misinformation superhighway, it’s given people a degree of anonymity which gives them more opportunity and with fewer restraints to behave badly.
I wonder… would ISIS exist without the internet?