In the immortal words of D-Day from Animal House – don’t get mad, get even.
That’s also the message from a traveller Adam Dachis, who’s so frustrated with fellow airline passengers that he’s written a mile-high survival guide…with an evil twist.
His blog on website Lifehacker titled How to Lie, Cheat and Steal Your Way to a Perfect Flight includes controversial (and groundbreaking) tips on dealing with some of the most common air travel gripes including the reclining of seats and annoying passengers – if you possess a moral flexibility.
Frankly, the disclaimer is enticing and makes us want to read more..
“All posts that belong to the Dark Side are going to feature some ideas that might be a little evil or at least require some flexible ethics. Some things will be downright horrible, and you should not do them, but are either for your information or simply for the point of interest (and will be noted as such). Your judgment and actions are your own, so think before you do anything you read here and only use your dark side for good.”
The basic premise of the article is that getting angry at a rude passenger won’t get you far, but there are creative ways that you can get even or avoid mid-air troubles altogether.
A classic example is the mile-high seat reclining battle, which most frequent fliers are familiar with.
Los Angeles-based Dachis says you can avoid this aggravating dilemma with a pre-emptive attack that involves placing a drink bottle on your lowered tray so that it pushes up against the spot below the tray table latch, meaning that the seat in front cannot be reclined. If that doesn’t work he suggests bribing the passenger with drinks or food.
When it comes to dealing with rude or aggressive passengers it’s best to turn the other cheek, he says. Ask a flight attendant to help, and if that doesn’t work then look for an even more annoying passenger nearby and ask to switch seats with them.
One of our favourite examples that Dachis uses is this one:
On a recent flight, I had my bag under the seat in front of me like I always do. It’s where your carry-on bags are supposed to go if they’re small enough to fit. A 40-something man sat down in the seat in front of me and immediately began to throw a tantrum, yelling at me to move my bag. I was caught unprepared as I didn’t realize he was talking to me at first, and the following conversation occurred:
Me: What bag?
Bad Man: The bag under my seat! You CANNOT put your bag under MY seat!
Me: Is it too far forward? Let me move it back a bit.
Bad Man: Take it out! It’s MY seat! Your bag does not belong under MY seat!
Me: I’m sorry you’re having trouble, but I’m allowed to have a bag under the seat in front of me and—
(Yes, I actually said this – my old customer support instincts kicked in. But I was interrupted.)
Bad Man: I WILL NOT BE TREATED LIKE CATTLE!
At this point the flight attendant came by and offered to take my bag and put it in the overhead until the plane took off. She told the man to calm down and gave me an apologetic look. Yes, this resolved the situation but the angry man was the one who got what he wanted despite being the asshole in this situation and I didn’t feel that was right. When he reclined his seat after takeoff, invading my space like he insisted I was doing to him, I decided I’d had enough.
I took a few minutes to calm down and figure out my options. Within a few minutes I realized the kid sitting next to me was traveling with two of his friends. I asked the kid if he wanted to sit with his friends and he said yes. I talked to his father and also convinced his father to switch seats so all three young boys could sit together. Where? In the row behind the bad passenger.
Before I switched seats, one of the kids thanked me for moving. I told him, “it’s no problem, so long as you have fun.” And they did, loudly and wildly. The boy behind the bad passenger kicked the seat throughout the flight. It was wonderful.
This kind of resourceful, revengeful thinking really appeals to us here at Travel Snitch. Sadly, there are more rude, selfish people in the world than there are reasonable ones. Maybe it’s down to poor education, who knows. Who cares. The point is, reason is not something these people understand.
Only a few weeks ago, when we were researching the Etihad business class flight test to Frankfurt, while waiting to the board the plane, our photographer asked if we might board first, just 30 seconds before everyone else so that he could get some nice shots of the empty cabin. The very kind lady on the desk said that shouldn’t be a problem and so on we went. Unfortunately the aircraft wasn’t ready, so we had to wait on the jet bridge.
Thirty seconds later, the first bunch of uptight, impatient Germans stampeded on – and we explained that we’d actually been asked to wait here as the aircraft wasn’t quite ready to receive us. With a bloated exhale of pompous disgust, they pushed us out of the way and waddled down the jet bridge. Now forced to follow as we still wanted some pictures, we turned the corner only to find the very same intolerant, obnoxious Germans having to wait at the aircraft hatch.
“Do you feel you’ve accomplished something..?!” Our photographer asked, tapping the fat, German frontman on the shoulder. Thankfully however, after a subtle stamping on his foot from the accompanying member of the editorial team, our photographer didn’t pursue the matter (he’s 6’1″ and 18 stone and not afraid of physical confrontation). We sought our revenge all the way through the 6½ hour flight by repeatedly indulging in the act of cropdusting.
We’d like to hear your stories concerning nightmare passengers and any retaliation you felt was absolutely necessary.
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