Originally Written for TheBlot Magazine September 3, 2014.
Who doesn’t love traveling? Wait, let me rephrase that: Who loves to explore?Who doesn’t love traveling? Wait, let me rephrase that: Who loves to explore?
It is in our nature to seek new things and meet new people; the actual traveling part, however, is simply a bag of dicks. As if the cost of traveling wasn’t a nuisance enough, there is almost always a screaming child within earshot, and while we all wonder about shoe bombs and unregulated toothpaste containers getting past security, the most consistent form of violence in the air in recent weeks has spawned from a reclined plane seat.
I doubt the TSA ever saw that coming, but now that airline assault incidents have been growing due to one person’s ability to relax while another suffering for it, maybe it makes sense to dissect the problem to better understand it?
THE FRONT-SEAT MENTALITY
I work all year just to afford my one vacation. I have the whole family with me, and the flight we’re on is sold out. Things may be tight, but I earned this trip, and I am taking full advantage of it. I brought my own headphones from home, and I am going to crank the volume of some horrible in-flight movie no one cares about. Just to be sure there is no interest in this Miley Cyrus feature, I’m going to recline my seat back as far as it can go. Maybe the person behind me will be into the film if they just heard enough of it to get hooked, and what better way to hear a movie on a plane than from headphones, which are on my head which is now in your lap? I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I paid a lot for this ticket, and I tend to get the most out of this flight! Check it out, my kids are sitting the same way! If I teach them nothing else in life, I will teach them to enjoy themselves regardless of who it affects.
THE BACK-SEAT MENTALITY
Here I am on another business trip. I don’t want to be away from my family, but I am doing all I can to provide for them. In the past month, I have traveled enough to encompass the globe, twice. When we land in a few hours, I have less than an hour to pick up my rental car and get to a meeting 20 minutes away from the airport. Right now, all I want to do is finish this burnt cup of coffee and … whoa, shit! This dumbass in front of me just reclined his seat, causing half a cup of broiled tar to fall into my lap. I would try to get his attention, but the loud screeching sounds coming from his headphones is a good indicator that there is no way he will hear me. I try to flag down the flight attendant (we can’t call them stewardesses anymore, can we??) to try and get some napkins and ice to sooth the situation is proving to be impossible since she is too busy taking care of the kids of the guy in front of me. Apparently eating beef stroganoff while laying down on the plane did not agree with the pudgy one who is now vomiting all over the place. I would feel sorry for the kid, but his father is raising him to be a little asshole, and I may have a third-degree burn situation happening, so maybe a smack to the back of this guy’s head is the only logical solution.
Sure, I’m personally always going to agree with the guy in the back because the guy in the front is an over-privileged douche bag, but would anyone really convict the person in the back seat knowing how these front-seat people are? Apparently no. In the incident a few weeks ago, a traveler used what is known as a Knee Defender, a $21 gadget that deprives the person in front of you their right to recline into your lap.
The use of this device started a fight over personal airspace. This past Monday, another incident took place when a woman was clocked in the noggin by the seat in front of her while she was resting her head on her tray table. In this instance, after the woman caused an uproar, the plane was forced to land within an hour of reaching its destination.
The moral of the story? Immaturity has no age limits, and courtesy is a lost art. Obviously fronts and backs will always find something to argue about, but as an airline, why make it easy for them? Do away with the reclining seats. We have proven we cannot be trusted with this luxurious technology. Maybe one day we will be able to handle it, but right now, we have more than enough to focus on while trying to fit all of our clothes for a two-week tour into one suitcase and a carry-on.