Strap on your seatbelt, eat your peanuts, and behave.
Airline-related outbursts have been all over the news lately. Flying is stressful, and while most of us (and those in First Class) manage to keep our s**t together, there are always some bad bananas in the bunch.
Quartz had recently decided to study the phenomenon of airplane brawls, and says there’s a link between the recent increase in fights on planes and a psychological phenomenon called “behavior contagion,” which is when bad behavior by one person in a crowd affects the others in the group negatively. In other words, they’ll start acting up too. Since the troublemaker set the bar so low, we're now all acting like idiots.
And thanks to everyone whipping out their cell phones to film the incidents, the “crowd” has become…well, the entire internet.
“To understand the rash of rage on planes, it’s instructive to look through the lens of behavior contagion,” reports the study. “Behavior contagion is the phenomenon in which a behavior that was previously socially unacceptable travels from person to person, prompted by exposure via some form of media.”
In just the past month, we saw United Airlines booted David Dao, who got dragged off his flight like a big 'ol load of laundry, followed by numerous fist fights, hairpulling, and threats of jail sentences breaking out on planes.
As the Miami Herald so eloquently puts it, "As Americans have grown taller (and fatter), airplane seats have been shrinking, leaving most of us feeling like canned sardines marinating in olive oil."
So are the viral videos of these brawls causing more people to think it’s actually acceptable to throw down on a plane? What can we do?
“As for fighting on planes, no one has yet studied whether videos of fist fights on planes are actually triggering people to fist fight on planes. To be sure, this variety of bad behavior is not entirely new,” says the study, which does add that even though it's not proven, all signs point to viewers imitating what’s constantly seeping into our brains on social media.
In conclusion, we all either need to stop watching brawls on planes, stop brawling on planes, or stop flying. And if you really need to brawl, go to like, a bar and get the beans out. Then book your next vacation with a black eye and spare the rest of us.
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