When Someone Is Being Rude On An Airplane, Why Don't You Say Something?

The NYT has a “Frequent Flier” column from personal finance adviser to the chronically irresponsible, Larry Winget. In it he describes being the sole person on the plane to say what everyone is thinking.

From the NYT:

I was in first class, and we were on the tarmac waiting to take off. A woman, in about row 35 starting talking on her cellphone. No problem. Except she was speaking so loudly you could hear her all the way up front. Everyone started looking at each other and we were all thinking the same thing: Please keep your voice down.

She told the person she was speaking with to call her back. And then, in a really loud voice, she gave her cellphone number to the person she was on the phone with. I committed that number to memory. And then I waited about 10 seconds and called her cell.

When she answered, I told her she was being too loud and everyone on board the plane could hear every word of her conversation. And it wasn’t that interesting.

She started screaming at me, demanding to know who I was. So I told her to look toward the front of the plane. I stood up and waved at her with a big smile on my face. She hung up, sat down and no one heard from her the rest of the flight.

Why don’t more people speak up when someone is being inconsiderate? Is confronting rudeness a heroic act of self-sacrifice? Or should we all just say nothing and seethe while the rude among us carry-on unimpeded?

When Good Manners Get Left at the Gate [NYT]

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