Really, what’s the deal?
The holidays are here! For many, that means it’s time to Fa-La-La-La- FLY, which beats driving any day, right? You sit back, have a snack, watch a movie, or take a nap until you arrive. You already know there will be a crying baby, a child kicking your seat back, and someone with their shoes off (or some lovely combination of the three).
You are mentally prepared because you’ve been on a flight before. But now, there’s something new popping up on flights and in airports across the globe that no one is prepared for…it’s called “air rage.”
Perhaps a variant of road rage, except instead of blaring horns, people are throwing punches. These mile-high meltdowns are happening more frequently and sweeping headlines. The Federal Aviation Administration reported 5,420 unruly passenger incidents and 3,798 mask-related reports to date.
So, the question is, why is there so much increased aggression in the air?
Travel isn’t really any more infuriating than it’s always been, but it seems like people’s tolerance of inconvenience or willingness to follow simple rules is totally gone. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what snaps these people, but since it’s becoming more of a norm and holiday travel is here, it’s worth knowing how to protect your sanity when people lose theirs around you. Here are some tips on how to keep your cool and help defuse a violent or hostile situation.
Lead By Example
You know the rules; put your seat in the upright position, wear your mask, buckle your seat belt, no smoking, etc. Following the rules creates a non-disruptive environment and helps set the mood. When you are compliant and use manners with the crew, you can set an example of how people on the plan should be treated.
Speak Up And Offer Help
Words matter and speaking up when a passenger’s mood is escalating (especially if they’re drinking) can help defuse a station before it gets out of control. You could alert a flight attendant or simply say, “Hey, you’re upset; how can I help out?” If the situation resorts to another level and you feel comfortable doing so, offer help to the crew either by restraining the passenger or simply changing seats. If a passenger is getting violent or threatening toward or near you, remove yourself from the situation early… physical safety is of utmost importance! They may have no justification to target you, but if you getting out of their sight makes them relax, then remove yourself. It’s an easy fix.
Mind Your Beeswax
Remember that not every situation needs your involvement or documentary videographer skills. People in a mental health crisis aren’t necessarily aware of their behavior and don’t deserve to be the next TikTok joke. We encourage practicing compassionate awareness both in-flight and in life.
“These stories of air rage are just one example of how people are experiencing increased irritability which is often a sign of something more than just a bad flight,” said Alicia Bulin, a nurse practitioner at bonmente. “As you gather with family and friends this holiday season, tune into signs of increased irritability and start the conversation about mental wellness.”
Let’s Decrease Irritability
Maybe you haven’t hit airport freakout mode yet, but you have noticed you feel more on-edge lately. The little things are starting to add up in big ways and you feel triggered and agitated almost every day. Increased irritability is commonly a sign of depression, and it deserves some exploration. Don’t self-diagnose yourself or someone you love. Pick up the phone and book your convenient Telepsychiatry appointment today, and we’ll get to the bottom of things together.