Monday, December 2, 2013

Appropriate Airplane Etiquette: Does it Exist?

Recently, I read in the Wall Street Journal an article referencing potential new rules on airplanes regarding cell phone usage.  Potentially, the airlines may allow cell phone usage during flights. Doesn't this seem to involve a huge array of problems not only for those who operate and work on the planes, but the customers of the airlines?

Instead of thinking that we should have convenience at our finger tips all the time, maybe we should think about the impact our "conveniences" will have on others. Those who come in close contact with us should not be harassed, disturbed, distracted or annoyed with our petty, selfish tendencies by constantly receiving text messages, speaking too loudly on the phone or failing to show any bit of propriety when dealing with others face to face. In my opinion, if specific "rules" are not put into place, the use of cell phones on airplanes will turn into an overbearing abuse of personal space and privacy for everyone on the flight.

Many people get wrapped up in their phone conversations that they fail to realize the incessant talking and distractions may cause a hindrance to others and is down-right RUDE! The lack of face-to-face interaction has become a thing of the past which needs to be re-examined. We shouldn't be living our lives through a technological device that updates every few minutes. We should be living our lives in the present moment, whether that means saying "hello" to the person sitting next to you on the airplane or striking up a conversation with the stewardess to show appreciation for their hard work. These small acts of kindness may seem menial, but in reality this is what makes the world go round and creates a more comfortable atmosphere for everyone: not only that, it's contagious!

This may sound like a rant, but I am trying to make a point. A point that seems to be over-looked by so many people due to self-absorption. While driving I see many cars with bumper stickers stating "commit random acts of kindness", but how often do we actually witness such acts? Even a smile, a well-meaning conversation with a close friend or flowers for an ill neighbor seem to rarely happen because we are more absorbed with taking "selfie" pictures and posting them on Instgram. We feel the need to update our Facebook and Twitter status several times a day and in reality do you think anyone cares that you just ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Or we are completely unaware that driving 15 miles per hour below the speed limit while talking on the phone will cause a traffic jam. Or, do we not care? All of these things are good in themselves when used in moderation, but when such things begin to control our everyday routine then we become slaves to our devices and we become unaware of those around us, especially those who are suffering and are in need of our attention.

Are we such slaves to these devices that it is impossible for our society to refrain from answering phone calls, text or emails during an airline flight and simply having an old-fashioned conversation with the person sitting next to us?

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