Monday, January 09, 2006

Justifiable Air Rage

I related this story on one of the forums I frequent and was taken to task about being completely out of line by one of the other posters. Several others thought I was quite restrained. You be the judge:

I hate air travel. I hate the lines, I hate the bloody TSA wanding me because I'm wearing an underwire bra, I hate people who carry on three enormous bags and put them in the overhead at the front of the plane and then walk to the back. I hate that you get no food on flights anymore, I hate that the seats are so close together that you can barely breath and even short people like me get pretzeled. I hate just about everything about flying -- except that it gets you where you're going in less than fifteen hours.

I used to travel a lot for work (2+ flights a week) and for the most part it's a dreaded. but necessary thing. If we all realize that we're stuck in the plane for however many hours and try to work together, we can all be comfortable. Or at least be civil to each other. It's not like we have a lot of options.

However -- a few years ago on a flight from DC to Denver I squashed myself into the seat and then, just as the meal was served (back when they actually served food on planes) the gentleman in front of me suddenly and forcefully reclined his seat completely. I couldn't even SEE the tray table, much less attempt to eat.

I asked if he could please put his seat up a notch or so, just for a few minutes, so I could finish my sandwich. I did not yell, I did not demand that he sit bolt-upright for hours, I simply asked for a few minute reprieve to finish my meal before he reclined his seat again to sleep. I was quite pleasant about it, in a "we're in this together, can you do me a favor for a few secs" kind of way. It had absolutely no impact on this man.

He looked up over his shoulder, and said, "No." in a tone of voice that implied I was a bitch and how dare I even suggest that he inconvenience himself.

I snapped. I can't remember ever being that angry at another traveler before. So I reverted to childish behavior and rhythmically kicked the bottom of his seat for the rest if the flight and when he turned around and snarled at me to stop it, I replied sweetly, "No." And denied that I was doing it when he summoned the flight attendant and demanded that "you make that $%#$@^ stop it!"

Childish, yes. Justified? Maybe.

1 comment:

laurafingerson said...

You rock for actually doing what the rest of us would want to do, if we were as quick-thinking and as gutsy as you are. I always think of dooing something clever afterwards, as I fume.