Barry Kaufman | September 14, 2015 3:05 PM ET
Don't Be That Guy (or Gal)
Last week, we featured an infographic listing off the 8 Most Annoying People On A Plane. The usual suspects were there – the seat kicker, the excessive talker, the person who has to get up to the bathroom every 12 minutes…
It was by no means a comprehensive list. To that, I would add the oblivious complainer. I was presented with a perfect example of the oblivious complainer last year when I flew down to Mexico with Editor-in-Chief Tim Wood. En route to Mexico City, we had to make a quick layover somewhere in the States that escapes me, and our flight in touched down somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 minutes late.
Now, to Tim and I, this was a minor inconvenience. This wasn’t a long layover and those 20-30 minutes did slightly rush our move over to the connecting gate. But to the oblivious complainer, this was the end of the world.
“Bro,” he shouted into his phone as soon as we touched down. “Dude. Bro. I’m gonna be totally late. This is garbage, bro. Dude. I’m gonna totally miss my fight. Bro.” It went on like this, with ascending levels of both volume of voice and usage of the terms “dude” and “bro.”
Keep in mind, dudebro was not the only person on that flight who would be having trouble missing his connection. The flight attendants even planned as such, and gave a pre-emptive request upon touching down to let anyone who had to make a connecting flight off first. There were many other people who were grumbling about missing connections, but none with the sonic grandeur of our oblivious complainer.
To him, there was only person being inconvenienced by our late arrival, and this precious little snowflake wanted to make sure everyone knew about it.
Still, there are worse offenders. Like the belligerent pugilist. This one, I hate to say, is becoming more and more common. For a stretch there, it seemed we were running one story after another about someone flipping out on a plane and getting into some sort of altercation. Lest some of you think we had some kind of ulterior motive behind running so many of those stories, rest assured: it was not a function of editorial bias. There were just a lot of people losing their minds on planes.
Our own Brian Major experienced this firsthand when his flight to Barbados was diverted due to an unruly passenger bursting from the bathroom and charging the cockpit. Passengers were able to subdue the man, and Major told me, “I can only say it was an unnerving situation. When you're in an airplane and a person becomes a danger to others, the options are limited. I'm just glad we all pitched in to help and all turned out OK.”
But should it really come to this? At least as often as it has?
Whether your sins are as mild as kicking a seat or as shocking as committing mid-air assault, there’s a piece of basic humanity we all tend to check with our luggage when we board a plane. It’s a sort of anonymity that comes from knowing we’ll never see these people again, and for some reason it empowers us to act like complete savages.
To my fellow passengers, I implore you. We’re already under enough stress. The air is dry, the seats are uncomfortable, and everyone around you is just as miserable as you are.
Give your fellow passengers and yourself a break, and just to spend the next few hours being a decent person, despite all the handicaps before you. I guarantee, your flight will go that much smoother.
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