A real life experience at 30,000 feet please be alert when you fly now-a-days! I am.

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Flying is different than it used to be to be sure. We now have TSA screenings, pat downs, liquid bans, air marshals, no fly lists – and isn’t it amazing how quickly we’ve adapted to the “new normal”? We’re all more aware, noticing things we formerly were too absorbed in our own world to even see. While everyone must decide for themselves what to do in any given situation, here’s what happened to me on a recent trip to see my mom in Sweden.

On a small KLM city hopper commuter jet from Amsterdam to Gothenburg this year I was sitting in the first class cabin when suddenly here is what went down about 25 from landing.

I see the FA briskly walk past me to the front galley.

A moment latter someone from the economy cabin came charging up the aisle.

The man confronts the FA, she was all of 4’nothing and he was 6’ of arrogance and irritation. He began arguing with her over some small issue pertaining to the beverage service. As he continued to berate her he kept taking steps forward until she nearly had her back to the cockpit door. To me this potentially threatened the security of all of the passengers on-board.

Here is the part of the narrative where I get “preachy”. I am in NO WAY telling you a course of action, but I will tell you I will not stand for this type of behavior on an airplane!

I looked around and all of the other “typical” euro passengers in the first class cabin sat silently hiding behind their newspapers and laptops, pretending to ignore the situation.

Not this flyer! I got up right away and and came close to them and looked past him and loudly said:

“Ma’am are you OK? Can I help you?”

She looked very scared and upset.

I then turned my attention to the man, taller than me, and said:

“Why don’t you go back to your seat!”

Now I was not looking for a fight but wanted to get this nut away from the cockpit door, away from the FA and try to calm the situation. So, as I talked to the man I backed up to my seat and sat back down in 1c. This was maybe not the best way to keep from getting my clock cleaned but wanted to calm not escalate the situation. I was ready to jump up if needed and wanted to be closer to others if they would even help out.

Thankfully he turned his diatribe on me and said a bunch of stupid things about wine and food and rights. He repeatedly asked me what business it was of mine. I said again and again:

“The safety of the plane is my concern. Go and sit down and whatever the problem is you can take care of it when we land – NOT now not here – go sit down!”

He went on for a little more and I just kept saying the same thing and deal with it when we land!

The FA stayed up in the galley until he had returned to his seat and then knelt next to my seat and thanked me and appeared visibly shaken by the whole experience. I was happy to help and said if this had been a flight in the USA I would have had several other guys ready to assist and tie the jerk to his seat until we landed and the FED’s could have taken him where he belonged once on the ground!

So what do I think you should take away from this real life experience. All our lives are on the line when we fly today as well as those on the ground for that matter. FA’s and crews are over worked and underpaid ( yes I understand the hypocrisy of me saying that when I don’t pay for tickets ). Bottom line – I am an alert flyer and ready to help. What you do is up to you! – René

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  1. It was good and right of you to get involved. Shame on the other passengers for not.

    For anyone encountering a situation similar to this, where those around you have their heads in the ground, try this. Ask for help, but not from all in general, but specific individuals. In your situation, it may have been effective to pick specific passengers near you, if time permits, asking their name or identifying them by seat number. Once you have their attention, ask for help.

  2. Good stuff! I would like to think I would have done the same thing – but probably wouldn’t have handled it quite so cooly. I once escorted a charter flight with 260 footbal (soccer) fans on board and the flight was delayed by two hours and the some nervousness about missing the game (European Cup Winners Cup Final). As we were still stuck on the aircraft waiting for a take-off slot I thought I would make an announcement and let everyone know that we would soon be departing. An angry passenger then rushed at me and gave me dogs abuse for several minutes. A little stunned I just took it until he got it out of his system. But similar to your experience no-one made any attempt to help! Sometimes people need to be reminded that their behaviour is not acceptable or normal.
    Well done again!

  3. Goes to show you how self righteous Americans are and how twisted “normal” has become when flying. Thank you for stepping in saving those “euros”

  4. If I had been on the flight (probably sitting in coach), I’d been thanking you too (and helping you if I could have).
    Europeans try not to “get involved” in other people’s problems and the spirit of helping has left a long time ago. The government or someone else will take care of it. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but overall, one minds his/her own business. Someone else will take care of it. Add to that that they never had to experience the trauma of a 9/11 and don’t realize that an alert passenger can be very helpful, the reaction you experiences is not uncommon.

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