United has a man dragged off a plane. A flight attendant is in an altercation with a passenger after the flight attendant hits a woman with a stroller. Passengers fighting on planes. This is getting out of control. I don’t get it. I’ve flown quite a bit. Short fights from here to Nashville or Louisville. Longer fights out west. Even a 24 hour trip to Zambia. I’ve never seen any of this happen on my flights. The flight crews have been either pleasant or at the very least blandly competent. There have been annoying passengers, but none that have inspired a fight. I have been on flights where the flight crew had to remind a passenger that they were holding the flight by refusing to take a seat, but it ended with the passenger taking their seat. I don’t know how things have gotten our of control, but I have some advice for flyers.
First, to the flight crews – I don’t now anything about your jobs so I can’t really speak to your experience. I can say, though, that most people who work with the public every day at some point would like to have a customer dragged out by security. It doesn’t make it an appropriate response. The only thing I can say is to be professional and not act in a way that will escalate the issues.
- Get to the airport early. No reason to be anxious from the start because you are short on time.
- Start with the security line – know what to take out of your pockets before you get to the front of the line. Be ready to move through as quickly as possible. A bad security line experience can lead to angry travelers before they ever get to the plane.
- Board quickly. Get on the plane, store your bags and sit down. If there are things you need out of your bags, take them out before boarding, not while standing in the aisle while others are trying to board.
- If the flight crew says you need to check an item, check the item.
- Bring entertainment – books, magazines, music. Whatever will distract you from the stress of traveling. I am an anxious flyer and this really helps me not to focus on the bad parts of travel.
- Be aware of how your actions affect those around you. Kicked seats, seat reclined in to your lap, etc will not make for happy cabin mates.
I know that it is easy to blame the airlines for all of the issues and I agree that they need to start treating passengers better, but a lot of the issues can also be fixed by the traveler. Just be a decent person and think about how your actions affect others. Or take the bus.