by DANNY RUBIN
We’ve all been there.
On a long plane ride, we find ourselves right next to a crying, hysterical child. The solution: crank up the volume in our headphones and wait for the flight to end.
At least, that’s the only remedy for normal people.
This past Sunday, Joe Rickey Hundley had other ideas.
USA Today reports that Hundley, 60, slapped a crying toddler and then told the mother to “shut that (N-word) baby up.” The 19-month-old boy began to make noise during a change in altitude. And whaddya know?
Hundley apparently had alcohol on his breath.
Later that day, Hundley’s boss fired him from his job at AGC Aerospace and Defense, a technology firm.
Hundley’s behavior is extreme and totally offensive, but planes can be a tricky place for common courtesy — even for sane people like you and me.
To keep us sharp at 30,000 feet, here is the best advice the Web can offer.
1. It’s OK to end the small talk
‘If someone is driving you crazy with their (dull) life story — it is permissable to tell them you’re too busy, tired, sick or whatever to talk. But don’t be rude. Some people are nervous fliers and talk compulsively.’
2. Dealing with seat kickers
‘”Appeal to the parents’ sense of empathy,” says Caroline Tiger, a coauthor ofHow to Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners for the Socially Challenged. Say, “Do you mind asking him to stop kicking my seat? I’d love to take a nap.” If the child doesn’t stop shortly after your initial plea, kindly ask the adult if she would be willing to switch seats with the child.’
3. Who gets the armrest?
’1. You’re in the middle seat, between two strangers. Who gets the armrests?
Anne Loew, veteran flight attendant: The folks in the aisle seat can lean toward the aisle, and the window-seat passenger has the window to lean on. The poor middle-seat passengers are suffering enough–they get both armrests.’
4. Be aware of yourself
‘Turn it down. While that new Ellie Goulding remix may be amazing, you don’t need to share it with the rest of the plane. Remember that other passengers can often hear what you’re listening to on your headphones if they’re blasting.’
5. Don’t drink too much
‘Some people need alcohol to ease their nerves during flight, or just to take the edge off a long journey. Whichever you are, try to limit your cocktails to one every hour. Nothing is worse than flying next to someone 10 shades past tipsy.’
Actually, something is worse than that: a person ’10 shades past tipsy’ who slaps your child and drops the ‘N-word.’
Bottom line: an airplane is a terrible place to freak out.
Do you think Hundley deserved to be fired from his job? Too harsh? Appropriate?
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© 2013, Danny Rubin
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