In the last few weeks, we’ve had #DragGate, #StrollerGate, #BathroomGate, #SlapGate and this past Tuesday, we had #RageGate.
A scuffle or argument on an airplane has become a common occurrence. It will be captured on cell phone video and captured from more than one angle, so no need to worry it you weren’t there.
There’s always two sides to the story, make that three sides. Your side, my side, and the truth, which lies somewhere between the two. It has come down to placing a bet on whether your flight is going to leave the ground with or without an altercation.
I understand urgency associated with air travel. No one boards a plane because they’re having a slow Wednesday and are looking for something to do. Yes, there’s stress in trying to make the next connection or arriving on time for a remote meeting. Next, we throw in the airline folks working the gate and your flight. They’re under the gun to get you on board and pushed away from the gate. Combine those two and it quickly becomes a Stressfest !
So why have the friendly skies become Flight Club at thirty thousand feet? I have two very simple thoughts.
My first thought comes from Tom Peters, “The Death Of Distance”. No longer, does it take a week or even days for information to be dispersed, it happens immediately. Most of these stories break on Twitter, and often as they’re happening.
It seems that with each of these events, we tolerate new levels of bad behavior, and it becomes the new normal. It’s almost as if watching one of these videos gives people the drive to push the envelope. Trying to “outdo” what they watched the next time they board a flight. If these stories didn’t hit the main page of USA Today or Yahoo, the number of these incidents might subside. Of course, the media outlets are only supplying what we demand.
The other thought is that some of us have lost the ability to walk away from these situations. I get that no one wants to look the fool. Most of these situations wouldn’t have escalated if the people involved had backed off. And I mean backing off by both the passenger as well as the flight crew.
From what I’ve seen and read, none of the recent situations would’ve required the screaming or violence that was used if any of the people involved had taken a moment to regroup, rethink or walk away. Yet, if you’re physically assaulted you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Unfortunately, air travel has two distinct eras, pre-911 and post-911. In the post-911 era the instant, you board a plane everything changes. It becomes all about safety, yours and everyone else’s. That means you’ll be asked to follow some odd requests. Moreover, we should abide, but in return, we deserve to be treated with respect. That being said, if you decide to “Bow Up” you will be viewed as a security threat and more than likely you will suffer a beat-down, these airline folks don’t mess around. Stepping down off my soapbox, for now.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
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