Tell ‘Em Why You Mad: Do You Suffer From Air Rage?

May 10, 2016  |  



In recent months, there have been numerous reports of passengers verbally (or physically) assaulting one another on airplanes. But is there more to this trend that just a series of isolated incidents? It would appear that way.

In a new study reported by CNN, it was revealed that passengers who sit in coach are 3.84 times more likely to be involved in an incident rather than a passenger who sits in the first-class section. The study also noted that passengers flying coach are 2.18 times more likely to have some sort of tantrum if they have to enter through first class to reach their coach seats, instead of boarding a plane that leads them directly into the coach section.

Katherine A. DeCelles, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Toronto, told CNN this phenomenon known as “air rage” occurs because when “people feel a sense of deprivation and inequality, they are more likely to act out.” In other words, people are mad they’re not flying first-class and they in turn perceive the body langue of those who are as entitled, less compassionate, and even anti-social.

Flight crews categorize air rage into different groups: “belligerent behavior, emotional outburst, non-compliant behavior, and incidents involving drugs, alcohol, smoking or sex.” DeCelles noted that during the study’s investigation many flight crews didn’t report every incident of air rage. Interestingly enough, the in-flight drama that did occur with first-class passengers was caused by intoxication or anger, while travelers in coach were reported to have panic attacks.

Because the actual evidence didn’t compare to DeCelles’ claims, Michael McCullough, a professor of Psychology at the University Of Miami stated: “There could be another thousand things associated with the presence of first-class seating that are piquing air rage.” “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. (This study) is provocative, but it does not strike me as an open and shut case. If the researchers are actually right that the presence of first class, or having passengers walk through first class, contributes to the risk of air rage, someone ought to insist we change the way we structure planes … some of these incidents really are public hazards,” he continued.

Have you experienced or been on the receiving end of someone’s air rage? How did you handle the situation?

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