Air rage: How the public has lost its patience with the aviation industry

Tomorrow afternoon, I set off for London. While the flight is not long, it makes me wonder about the things I hate about flying. We’ve all had similar experiences while flying, some bad and some good, but it seems that these experiences have created a very real phenomenon. Air Rage.

It seems that air rage has become a very real problem in the aviation industry. We’ve all witnessed an unhappy or unruly passenger. Years ago, it was a common occurrence that such passengers would infiltrate the cockpit of their plane. Since the September 11th attacks, such actions lead to serious criminal offences and worries about terrorism. With society constantly having a need to be somewhere, passengers have lost their patience and simply do not carry the manners they would have in the past.

Even celebrities who travel in some of the most luxurious and expensive ways, have lost their patience with the aviation industry. 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin found himself removed from an American Airlines flight back in December 2011. The reason? Mr. Baldwin simply would not put away his phone, and in the process felt “singled out” by a flight attendant who kept requesting he put away his phone while other passengers happily browsed their devices. Maybe the real issue here is the addictiveness of mobile game “Words With Friends“. In a tweet written after the incident, Mr. Baldwin revealed that he simply wanted to continue a game he had been yearning to finish.

For those who are relatively unknown and who have paid more for a nicer seat, you would think that this air rage would cease to exist. Well, it would seem that this is simply not the case. A situation occurred on a JetBlue flight back in February this year, because of a broken monitor in a passenger’s seat. It seems that if a passenger is moved to the seats that are more expensive than what they originally paid for, the passenger sitting next to them is entitled to become unruly. It did not matter that this moved passenger was just being given an opportunity to view a screen while they enjoyed their flight like they are entitled to. What mattered to this unruly passenger, was that they paid more. Clearly, causing a ruckus was more of a priority for this passenger than getting to their destination without issue.

Air rage is not strictly assigned to happen when on a plane, however. In the video below, a prominent member of the Chinese Communist Party, Yan Linkun, lets out his rage at missing a flight.

The irony of it all, is that Mr. Linkun and has family did not only miss the flight that caused him to lash out (because he and his family chose to eat breakfast instead of listening for their boarding call), they had missed a flight the day before and they had been rescheduled to travel on a new flight. Their reaction to the situation was to cause criminal damage, with Mr. Linkun and his wife damaging a glass door and throwing various items on the flight attendant’s desk. Surely admitting their mistakes and just getting their flight rescheduled (third time’s the charm!) would have saved them a storm of embarrassment.

Yes, there are always people who irritate us on planes, or flight attendants who are too rude to be doing the work that they do. Does it really warrant reactions like those above? Maybe someday I’ll be pushed to my limits and I’ll let you know. For now, I’ll just list the Top 5 things I hate most about air travel.


  1. Ryanair. Their flight attendants are rude, their website is beyond obnoxious and their insistence on checking the size of carry on bags for EVERY SINGLE PASSENGER is a bloody waste of time. Let’s not forget the hidden charges they have for everything. And I mean, everything.
  2. Reclining seats. The fact that seats can recline is not my issue. The issue is some passenger’s lack of regard for others. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to ask me if the seat moving back toward my face is causing me discomfort. Have some manners.
  3. Chatterboxes. I like to think I’m a nice person. In most instances, I’ll be willing to chat with you about your life or your amazing family. But when I’m getting on a flight at 6.30 in the morning, with bags under my eyes and a headache already setting in…your stories really are the last thing I want to hear.
  4. Armrest Hogs. Some people have longer arms than others. But you don’t need to place your arms so far across the armrest that the tip of your elbow is digging in to my ribs.
  5. Delays. Most of the time, flight delays cannot be avoided. I understand that. My issue with delays is not an attack at the pilots, the air traffic controllers, or the various other personnel who work to bring flights where they need to be. There is just nothing worse than being in a line, ready to board, and being told you have to wait another 30 minutes. Airports are the most boring, lifeless and tiring places in the world. I’ve had to sleep in Heathrow Airport before, it was torture.

What are some of the things you hate the most about air travel?

About Laura Lyne 8 Articles
Final year student of Journalism and Visual Media in Griffith College, Dublin (BA Hons). Webmaster, designer and coder of websites including and Follow on Twitter @lauralyne.

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