American Airlines Asks Passengers To Make Flying Experience Better (Because It Won’t)

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American Airlines wants you to be happy in the air. Or at least, they want you not to cause an incident that will result in an emergency landing and major disruption. So instead of adding features, creating legroom, or improving their end of things, American’s asking you: have you considered being more zen and less face-punchy?

That’s the gist, if not the actual wording, of a new ad campaign American’s trying out, the New York Times reports. The theme of the campaign is that “great flyers make the best of their situation,” and they want you to be great, “no matter where you’re sitting.”

Your seat, the airline seems to concede, will be horribly unpleasant. Conditions will be cramped. Everyone will be angry and tired. So instead of advertising features — like WiFi or in-flight entertainment — that could make you want to fly with them, they’re trying a new tactic: asking you not to be a jerk.

American implores you: bring noise-canceling headphones if you don’t like the sound of babies crying. Ask someone before you raise or close the window shade! And let the person in the middle seat have the armrests.

Of course, as our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports recently wrote, air rage is kind of endemic to modern air travel. And while each of us is an adult who needs to be responsible for our own actions… blaming all of the unpleasantness on the passengers is a bit unfair.

“The airlines are pitting passengers against each other by toughening their environment and creating less friendly and more competitive interactions,” an expert told Consumer Reports. It might be leg room and fee transparency that make travelers less stabby, but in a world of continually shrinking seats and shrinking competition, even those little perks can be hard to come by.

So, yes: passengers, definitely take a deep breath when confronted by an unpleasant situation, and don’t take it out on the people near you — they don’t like it either. Be polite, be civil, and don’t cause an incident we’d cover; nobody wants that.

But maybe if the airlines could literally give an inch, for shoulder and knee room, that would help too.

Great Fliers Make the ‘Best of Their Situation,’ American Airlines Suggests [New York Times]

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