BY: NADIA ZAIDI
Apparently the rage we feel during a long flight has a lot to do with where we are seated.
So why is it that flights bring out the worst in us? I’m guilty of being a little less than patient when I’m flying. I don’t know if it’s the lack of oxygen that seems to deplete my level of semblance, but I have a lower threshold for misbehaviour and general annoyances when I’m above ground level.
Does anyone feel the same way? Apparently, it’s called air rage and it has deeper societal implications.
Typically, even the politest of us can become a little impolite during a long flight. Flight anxiety, generally unpalatable food, and being a-little-too-close-for-comfort with strangers can get under your skin — at least it does mine. And now science is telling us that air rage is a result of human status.
Huh? Well, apparently where you sit in an airplane is representative of where you stand in society. When you travel your status becomes visible. For example, the study cites that instances of status are seen when rich people are able to cut through security lines and board first.
Additionally, when middle-class flyers walk past first class cabins, there is a tendency to feel a sense of rage. But get this: first-class passengers are equally as aggravated by the fact that middle-class passengers have to walk through their space as they board.
Almost every week, there seems to be an incidence of air rage, where a passenger was either removed from a flight, or caused harm to another passenger on board. Viral videos of air rage are dominating social media scrolls and responsible for inciting even more hostility. Sometimes I wonder if people make violent and aggressive displays of air rage in attempts to spotlight their misconduct.
The hierarchy of flying is visual, and quite literally experienced when you’re in an airplane. Researchers have shown that there seems to be an intense awareness of not being in control when you’re in flight. This makes people more aggressive and angry. It’s the little things that add up during a flight, which confirm that you have no control amid the skies. You’re not the pilot steering the aircraft, you are told when you can and cannot stand up to use the bathroom, and even how much baggage you can bring.
It’s also a matter of environment. The width of seats has declined by 5 to 10 per cent since the 1980s. The amount of legroom has also decreased by up to 5 inches. To make matters worse, there are fewer crews per plane as well.
I’ve travelled in coach and first class, and I can tell you that the difference in comfort is vast, but in the end, we’re all boarding the same flight. Before you think about making a rude declaration, plug in your ear buds and disconnect.