A new story involving an American Airlines employee and passengers has emerged that left one woman crying and resulted in an heated argument between another male passenger and the employee. Although the full story isn’t known yet, I’m left to wonder when did it become acceptable for adults to act this way? I’m not a behavioral expert but I don’t think it’s normal for an adult to begin crying in public for no reason.
Obviously we’ve all seen the United video of a bloodied passenger being dragged off the plane. The outrage that caused seems to be emblematic of the atmosphere most of us feel when travelling. And I don’t think it’s entirely the fault of the airlines. I think that there is so much leading up to it BEFORE we get on the flight that any spark can trigger the rage we’ve been suppressing until we take our seats.
We’ve all experienced these stresses. Being pulled over for a secondary screening by TSA and being subjected to an additional pat down. Cramming your carry on full so that it won’t have to be checked where it might get lost of have items stolen. Families trying to keep it together as their kids do everything in their power to make the parents crazy. And this is BEFORE we even get through security. Combine this with the fear of flying, claustrophobia, other rude passengers, etc. and the stresses are magnified.
Once onboard, we feel like the finish line is in sight. Once the plane is in the air, we’re home free. The only thing left is to get there in one piece and that is no longer our job; it’s the pilot’s. So it’s no surprise that people have a sense of relief after they make it onboard. Every time I step off the jetway and onto the plane, I feel that relief.
In this race to the bottom where passengers in the back of the plane, in an effort to save the most money, have lost a lot of perks once considered normal, flying isn’t fun. But we deal with it because we’re adults and we know it won’t last forever. After 9/11, we were all willing to do our part to make the skies safer. Sure, no one enjoys the longer security lines, liquid restrictions, etc. but we deal with it if it means getting to our destination safely.
Sadly, it’s the airlines who feel the brunt of our frustrations because they’re the ones we see last. Let me be clear that I’m not advocating or condoning any behavior on either the passenger or the employee. I’m just making an observation. As travellers, we’ve all been through enough to get to the plane that once we’re there, we just want to get to our destination. Any last second deviation from that just creates a volatile situation.
That’s how I see it anyway.