Civility Shouldn’t Require Enforcement


When I read the news story about the FAA clamping down on unruly passengers, I imagined there would be two reactions. On one side of the political spectrum is the boilerplate complaint about political correctness and censorship and on the other the plaintive cry to obey the rules, followed by the predictable rejoinder that inevitably includes the word sheeple.

I’m sick of hearing both, frankly. And why are we even having to have this conversation anyway? Why is it necessary for the FAA to issue an actual directive to tell people what they should have learned in third grade, specifically: Be civil, be polite and be respectful. None of us need any rules nor guidance beyond those simple rules. When in doubt, apply any one of them and you won’t go wrong. (It applies to commenting, too, I might add.)

That means if you’re about to go off on a flight attendant for asking you to put on a mask, or move to another seat, or maintain distance in a boarding line or perform some other minor courtesy, applying any of the three rules will tell you exactly what to do. No need to stand on either political correctness or mount the hobby horse of whatever ideology you happen to embrace. Or to announce that the fate of western civilization turns on your making a stand against tyranny in seat 29A. Or that the FAA should make another rule for those who insist on doing it anyway.

Despite what many people think, flying on an airliner owned by someone else is not a right. It is a privilege extended at the discretion of the company providing the service and, ultimately, the man or woman in the left seat that day. When the jet bridge is pulled back, the norms of civilization take on a different character by dint of severance with the most visible restraints against bad behavior. Captive proximity enhances the awareness, or should. There was a time, I think, when most of us understood this and, in the interest of a peaceful flight, we accepted suppressing the urge to strangle a seatmate for snoring or playing an annoying tablet game.

I actually think this is still true for the overwhelming majority of people who fly and maybe many of us are aware that the suppression of those base urges is now more important than ever given the political volatility of the moment. Unfortunately, as many cabin crews are learning, there are just enough angry people to attract the attention of Big Brother and whose adherence to the three basic rules is fleeting at best. Lots of people are angry. I’m angry. I don’t like wearing a mask. Hate giving people the fish-eye for not wearing a mask when they are asked to. Hate the thought of being in an airport terminal with more than three people. And on it goes.

But I ignore all this and let it pass like a pleasant babbling brook under a stone bridge because in a civil society, that is what is expected of me. It’s not so much that I’d disappoint others with childish, self-centered behavior as I’d disappoint myself. I’d be mortified if someone had to apply a “rule” to restrain me.

And that gets me to commenting. I’ve left it on for this post, but for others on this topic, we have switched it off because the comments have devolved into mudslinging personal insults of the sort those hearty few can’t seem to contain on airliners. So I’ll respectfully ask you to take a deep breath and apply one of the three rules before pushing the post button.

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  1. Civil, Polite, and Respectful.
    You are so right–flying on an airliner is like flying on a business jet or any other airplane (except perhaps “Club Fed”–the prisoner transport service). You follow their rules, or you don’t fly.

    The problem is–WHO will enforce these rules? The crew is “otherwise occupied” with flying the plane, and it doesn’t come under the powers of the cabin attendants–and we DON’T want fistfights between passengers.

    What ever happened to the U.S. Air Marshals? They’ve been “a thing” for several decades–then they fade away–and are brought back after the NEXT terrorist threat. Why not bring them back on board (we all KNOW that there are plenty of empty seats on board! Even the POSSIBILITY that one may be on board is a deterrent.

    Even better–we already have “security” in the terminals–people going through your belongings, forcing you to partially disrobe–asking “screening” questions–“on the lookout for ‘suspicious’ behavior. Let it be known that passenger actions will be monitored BEFORE you get on the plane.

    Like most pilots, I’m a “law and order” kind of guy. We tolerate government Uber-regulation in the interest of safety. In this case, there is a bright spot no matter what the outcome–if riding public conveyances becomes TOO onerous (whether that is a bus, train, or airliner), people will resort to private cars–or private airplanes.

    What will NOT WORK to eliminate “air rage” is for government to simply say “Just don’t do it!”

  2. Aviation Law flows from Maritime Law.
    The relevant phrase quoted re Maritime Law, is that “The Captain is Master after God”.

    When you are on an aircraft, you are under the authority of the Captain, and through the Captain, the Crew.
    If you are told to do certain things, you must do them; no option.

    Under International Law, the Captain is a Peace Officer, with ultimate power over you.
    If you don’t want to behave properly or follow the direction of the crew, don’t get on the plane; full stop.

    Kudos to the FAA for moving from “warnings” to immediate action; long overdue.

    (36 years in a non American Airline; usually bad behaviour is tied to alcohol; my airline banned a Government Minister because of bad behaviour; subsequently, that person was banned by other airlines for the same reason; the companies were fully supported by the government; take notes FAA!)

        • Not really, Gary. Imagine a landlord saying to a tenant, “You must move out, I don’t like your political views or the bumper sticker on your car.” Imagine a phone company cutting off service to a customer because “we don’t like what you say over the phone.” If you’re doing business with the public it’s illegal to discriminate based on gender, ethnicity, political views, etc.

          • Those are two entirely different things. One is a place to live and the other is a public utility, both of which have federal protections for obvious reasons. Facebook, Twitter, your local hardware store: none of those are required for your safety and wellbeing. You agreed to certain terms and services when you signed up for those, and they have a right to enforce those terms.

            Also, Facebook, Twitter, etc are NOT doing business with you. They are doing business with their advertisers. You are their product, not their consumer.

        • I agree about private companies having the right to set things like terms of service, etc. on their own platforms, up to a point. Think back to the 1900-1920 time frame in the US, with the emergence of huge monopolies and trusts. They figured out that they could get richer by colluding, fixing prices, and controlling their respective markets. At the time, nothing they did was illegal but it was hurting the country and the people. Government stepped in and changed the legality of what they were doing. In more recent times, there was the break-up of “Ma Bell”. My opinion is that there are companies now, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others who have now grown so large and have gained such a share of their markets that they have no meaningful competition, and it has become detrimental to the country and the people.

          • I will agree to that. Even for services like Amazon that I generally have had great experiences with, they are a bit too big.

          • Gary, you suggest that the phone company is a place to live, or at least necessary for life. It isn’t. I’ve never been a Twit, so there’s nothing to lose. I’m not on any of those anti-social media outlets. But they are making a very concerted effort to keep out voices of reason.

          • Phone service is a public utility. An internet message board is not. Also, despite the proliferation of cell phones, some areas simply have poor cell phone service, so a land line is necessary in those cases to be able to call emergency services. Therefore, it is an essential service.

        • Gary,
          As the comments above show, it’s much more complex than private vs government, and rights vs privilege is just not the big deal people seem to think it is. Certainly, the distinction between rights and privileges wouldn’t matter much if tomorrow your pilot certificate and drivers license were taken away from you. Anger would ensue either way. Your rights and privileges can both be removed. It’s just a matter of process. Neither should be trivial.

          Online, the tech media companies now appear to many Americans as a group of like minded companies that hide behind various rules and regulations, and they use their power to mold opinion. If one bans you, the others are likely to follow suit. Their actions show that they use their algorithm and policies as excuses when convenient and make exceptions when it suits their biases. Whether or not you share that opinion, you should be concerned that their algorithms share a lot of qualities, and those algorithms were no small part of why so many Americans bought into Qanon type conspiracy nonsense and stolen election stories.

          Now, we see the FAA adopt the dangerous and illiberal rule of “zero tolerance”. So now some flight attendant or captain manages to make a mistake or cross a line and a passenger gets a ban and a fine. Do the other airlines join that? What happens to this person who was either innocent or merely human and reacted in a way we might hope they wouldn’t when challenged by a badly behaving airline employee?

          The de platformed and the grounded are very likely to have their lives ruined in a big way. And what recourse will they have? It seems to me most people writing these days assume the system works as hoped. It seems a human failing we continually repeat as a society that we see a maddening problem, demand a solution, then promote the offered solution without really thinking it through.

          Well, I’m a bit paranoid. What I see coming next is a problem where citizens are bullied and oppressed by increasingly powerful private actors to get around the limitations placed on government even while those limitations keep getting violated by government. It’s not some Illuminati based conspiracy but a tyranny of a mob with literal restraint and drunk on self righteousness and hubris.

          At least I’m old and have had an amazing life. I hope future generations can have the advantages most of us have had which were provided by our predecessors. I hope things start moving in a different direction sooner rather than later.

        • The civil rights movement was largely about the right to equal treatment from private companies as well as local governments.

          When Twitter is the primary form of communication for the President, then yes, it is essential to modern life and should be regulated like a privately owned utility.

  3. On behalf of my son who is an FA on a major US carrier, thank you for your usual rationale wisdom and thoughts. Some of the comments I read on the FAA article on the subject just make me sad. So many people have lost contact with their senses over so many things these days.

  4. As a person who has flown 3 million plus butt in the seat miles on airlines over the past 3 years, I have seen civility decrease over time. One reason I attributed the lack of civility falls on the airlines themselves.

    Anyone who has flown regularly has been abused by the airlines and at one point or another had to stand up for themselves. Such as the time the gate agent at DFW decided she not to let 1/3 of the passengers board a flight because they “arrived after the 10 min boarding call”. The incoming aircraft was late deplaning because the gate agent couldn’t figure out how to drive the gate bridge to the aircraft. The departing aircraft left the gate 20 minutes later without us. Without a fairly vocal passenger (me), the agent was more than happy to just leave us all sitting in the waiting area when company policy and federal rules dictated that the airline needed to provide hotel and a little food. The other passengers were appreciative I spoke up as you can imagine.

    Many incidents such as this have contributed to unruly behavior.

    Yes, I was flying on an airplane owned by someone else but on the other hand, I paid for the carriage. Often, I was paying 4X of the person next to me and yet, I was relegated to the worst seats on the airplane. Sounds fair doesn’t it.

    If I never have to get on a commercial airliner again it will be too soon.

    • Dana, I agree 110% Let them fail and go under! Airlines themselves have failed to consider their customers. Tired of TSA and their useless kabuki theater, and scanning equipment that is NOT safety tested. Tired of snow flake FA that get triggered by political clothing. Tired of airlines that can’t understand why airports have physical limitations on plane throughput. Tired of airplanes that thing that seats where even a reasonably tall person can’t it their knees into a seating assignment.

  5. Those rules of civility are no longer taught in the public schools. They are either taught at home, or not at all. We have 911 to be thankful for in one sense. Hardened flight deck doors and flight crew security procedures are already in place. So, the chances of some nut case bringing down an airliner have already been mitigated.

    As a former airline pilot 1964-90 I remember the golden years of riding on an airliner. Nice passengers, nice flight attendants, decent food, and civility reigned.

  6. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t quite as simple as maintaining self control. The social and physical environment determines behavior to some extent. Commercial flying in the “golden years” was like visiting a fine restaurant, even in coach! The cost of flying was high. There was an implied dress code. People dressed as if going to church or Sunday dinner. Seat pitch was generous. Amenities were plentiful. I remember the “bar” at the back of the United Airlines DC-10 where coach passengers could gather mid flight for drinks and snacks. Smoking was permitted. People were expected to sit quietly and either gaze out the window, read a book, take a nap, or simply wait for breakfast, lunch or dinner to be served.
    Jam packing people into a small tube and expecting them to behave as if they are guests in master chef’s gourmet restaurant is unrealistic.

    • I do NOT long for the olden days of smoking on airliners. I was a B727 FE when the “no smoking on airliners” rule was promulgated and almost overnight, our incidents of stuck pressurization outflow valves dropped by an order of magnitude. The valves had been getting gummed up by the tar in the smoke which would accumulate on the valve hinges and freeze at high altitudes. You could see a dirty brown streak on the fuselage behind the O.F. valves six feet long on walkarounds. An R&E also told me their rate of avionics diode failures also plunged because the acids in cigarette smoke was causing the disintegration of components in the electronics. I used to have to wear my O2 mask when flying with two chain smokers in the flight deck just to breathe. Good riddance!!

    • That’s the simplest “rule”, the Golden Rule—again something that should have been taught in childhood.

      Harkening back to flying in the Jurassic Period, I recall sitting in the non-smoking section when my seat mate lit up. I said, “excuse me, but this is the non-smoking section.” Not willing to accept my statement, he asked the stewardess (before they were called cabin attendants), “is this the smoking or non-smoking section?” When she confirmed what I’d said, he thanked her, put out his cigarette, and apologized to me. And I thanked him for doing so. Civility, all around.

      I don’t know what has happened to society in the last half century or so, but it’s apparent that we as a society have largely lost touch with the Golden Rule, or as my ol’ Ma taught me, “to have good neighbors, you have to be a good neighbor.”

  7. Paul, thank you.

    My first trip on an airliner was as a teenager in the 50s. We flew Piedmont Airlines from Asheville to Cincinnati on a DC-3. Sunday best, Sunday manners. A great experience.

    My most recent experience on the airlines was pretty much like a third-world ferry ride.

  8. A major sigh of relief recently broke out in a comment section following news that the FAA has decided to maintain the ban on phone usage in passenger cabins while aloft. For anyone who does not like subjugation by others’ phone conversations in close quarters, what we’re talking about here should be a no-brainer regardless of political persuasion, hatred for political correctness or a clinging need for rules beyond those we all learned in third grade if we hadn’t already learned them at home.

    Thank you Paul for writing a blog which should not have had to be written. It’s embarrassing to know you had to do it.

    • I’m also glad they maintained the ban on phone conversations in flight. However, I’ve often wondered why people (including me) are so bothered by hearing a neighboring phone conversation, but that same neighboring person carrying on an in-person conversation with someone else, in the same tone and at the same volume, does not seem to be a bother.

      • Because you can’t hear the other side of the conversation when it’s being held on a cell phone, so the conversation is has periods of pauses that you can’t anticipate. And unanticipated noise is more disruptive than something that is predictable.

      • Unfortunately, most Americans do NOT use the same tone nor volume on a cell call vs. a face-to-face conversation; they bellow into the phone either because they can’t hear the call very well and thus conclude that the other party can’t hear either or they just want to show off how important they are because THEY have a cellphone. Either way, it’s annoying, (even to the people who do it themselves). Japanese people tend to speak as quietly as they can get away with in the circumstances; it’s obviously a cultural thing.

  9. There was a large population that are responding now when they are harassed… they were being disrespected, punched and spit upon.
    Thinks are about to get ugly. I’ve been in countries when they failed. This looks just like the other ones.

  10. Thanks Paul. Simple common sense. Everyone, in the USA anyway, has the righteous and reasonable expectation to be able to enjoy life without interference from anyone who feels a need to exert themselves on others. The current situation may be an illustration of when politicians of any odor use mob mentality to advance their agenda.

  11. Years ago, I took a flight from Phoenix to Seattle. There was a woman in the row in front of me who had her seat back partially reclined. As the aircraft began its approach to SeaTac, the flight attendant came through the cabin and checked to see that seatbacks were in the upright position as usual. No problem with compliance except for this woman seated in front of me. She was respectfully asked twice by the flight attendant to return her seatback to the upright position. She refused to do so. The aircraft was entering the final stages of approach, so the flight attendant returned to her seat as required. I don’t know if this woman was ever held accountable for refusing to obey a crew member’s instructions or not. My point is this; The reality is that there are obnoxious passengers that take this kind of attitude. Those who do need to be held accountable. It is a violation of FAA Regs. to fail to obey the instructions of the aircrew members on any flight. ZERO tolerance.

  12. Paul,

    Your second to last paragraph assumes that one has self-respect, common sense and social skills, but those virtues disappeared long ago (for reference, check out “The Culture of Narcissism”, written in 1979 but very relevant today).

    Since we’re reminiscing, I, too, remember dressing to the nines to fly on a TTA DC-3 from SAT to HOU in 1964, then a CV240 from HOU to LFT to visit grandparents. And it continued through the next two decades on the legacy carriers domestically and internationally (even Braniff!) until the arrival of SW and other LCC’s that opened economical air travel to the masses. I loathe getting on a commercial flight now, and only do so when absolutely necessary.

    Thanks for another insightful editorial and even though I’m not overly spiritual, I’m praying hard for this country and humanity in general…

    • I wouldn’t blame it on SW and the low-cost carriers, though. They were simply a consequence of deregulation. But even that isn’t necessarily the source of the problem, since it seems society in general has lost a bit of civility (regardless of your political leaning). And I don’t think its any one factor that contributed, but a combination of factors, so there’s no easy fix.

  13. For the few times a year I fly commercial, and being neither a rich man nor a pauper, I always fly first class and use noise cancelling headgear for my comfort. Now, what’s all this commotion happening in coach everyone’s talking about? I just got up a few minutes ago…

    And what’s this I read about third graders understanding what civility means? That’s funny.

  14. A while back I reviewed Paul’s video on how to fly the pattern and not make an @#$%^ of yourself ( Paul gave basically the same advice, civility and manners count. Those things are still practiced by most folks I believe. I guess we do need rules or enforcement of expectations for the handful of folks who are determined to encroach on others.

    As pilots we do from time to time have to take the airlines, it’s just the practical and needed mode of transportation from time to time. Years ago I read an article by aviation author / trainer Rod Machado, he noted that his favorite airline was “mine”. Yep, still true – I guess I can chant what I want (or not) cruising along in the Skyhawk – beware of the stuck mic syndrome however :). Today “my” airline looks better all the time.

  15. Outstanding commentary Paul,
    I agree with your title…Civility Should Not Require Enforcement. But we both know when the meaning of civility is lost, misunderstood, re-imagined, and being exemplified less and less, it must be enforced.

    Civility practiced is a silent but strong sermon. Actions speak louder than words. Unfortunately, the practice of civility is on the decline. Less and less people model it, less and less people see it, leading to more people feeling empowered to behave inappropriately…with the inevitable results of laws formed by our government (led by a significant number of “misbehaving” political leadership) bureaucratically defining expected behavior with bureaucratically defined legal and bureaucratically defined financial consequences.

    Now we have the FAA participating, defining expected behavior with legal/financial consequences as a result. Mr. Dickson now has the added responsibility to referee behavior in airliner cabins. In one year he has had to deal with the Boeing MAX/MCAS debacle, Covid-19, and now the official “Czar” of airline cabin behavior being the ultimate federal arbiter of inflight behavior.

    I really feel bad for modern flight crews. A pilot, first officer, and cabin crew has the added responsibility for the safety of flight with inflight behavior control. As a former Delta employee in the 70’s, I would have never imagined that the lack of civility would have degraded so far within 45-50 years to become a national debate with the federal government becoming an enforcer, with the bulk of the responsibility of policing in the hands of the crew. With the FAA’s blessing it will be interesting to see just how a crew will handle inflight misbehavior at this point.

    I know that I would be tempted to have the crew strap in, and pop the nose down making for a weightless, misbehaving passenger(s) ala Vomit Comet floating throughout the cabin, and then reassign them a seat in whatever position they happened to be in by pulling a couple of positive G’s. A quick call to center for a block of altitude due to inflight “turbulence” just in case it takes a couple of pushes and pulls. Next follow with a demonstration of the “rubber jungle”. An effective way, I believe, to get the most obnoxious passenger to remain seated, quiet, taking their mind off misbehaving making whatever political passions pretty irrelevant for the moment. Probably be a really civil cabin environment from then on. Plus, all the cell phone video of weightless, chanting, fist pumpers in all sorts of precarious floating poses. Probably hard to keep your hat on Red, Blue, or otherwise.

    • Unfortunately you would be punishing all for the actions of the few. Best to have police waiting at the gate to arrest the perpetrator(s) and deal with their consequences. If necessary, divert and land, to deal with them. Do that a few dozen times and maybe that will put a lid on some of this stupidity.

  16. To not understand how we got here is dumbfounding. I’ve been watching this transpire for over 40 years. How anyone could not see this coming and then be surprised about the outcome is mind blowing. We are where we are today because we let it happen. Take a hard look in the mirror, that is where it starts. What have you done, or, not done to bring us to this point in time?

  17. I was a NWA Gold Member AND a private pilot. I’m so disgusted with the whole commercial flight experience, and chose to no longer own an airplane, so it’s either commercial or walk. I’ll walk 99.99% of the time. With FA deciding that political “clothing” is not permitted, TSA and their kabuki theater nonsense, and commercial flights being jammed with people like they are cattle, I will vote with my dollars.
    I will only spend my dollars on commercial airline travel, only when it’s an emergency, or there is no other choice.

  18. I endorsed FAA/FBI intervention and made the exact same “rights vs privilege” point last time this came up as Paul does here.
    Wise O. “Why do we need the no-fly list? No intervention is ideal or foolproof but it DOES demonstrably reduce risks to public health and safety aboard those fragile flying cigar tubes.
    Why are they legal and Constitutonal despite being restrictions on personal freedom? Because flying is a privilege, not a right. An entitlement granted by the state to a restricted group on a conditional basis vs a right which is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens.”
    Eric W., Yars, Arthur F., John G., Kurt, et al insulted me and decried it.
    Eric W. : “right vs privilege is pretty much a distinction without a difference outside of a court… this[enforcement] policy, and the cowardly little nazis behind it, need to be dropped immediately.”
    Brian S. “Amen, Wise O. Very well said.”
    Eric W. “Please don’t encourage him.”
    YARS “All of that ink, and not one word of truth. Sad, really. TDS is real.”
    I wonder if Yars is still defending his hero after 5 died to make Trump feel loved and wanted and right on January 6. Who’s deranged, Yars? Looks like YOU may be. Clearly Donnyboy IS. Don’t take MY word for it.
    “The mob was fed lies,” Senate Majority Leader McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor. “They were provoked by the President and other powerful people.” Donny Jr, Giuliani, Cruz, Mo Brooks, Hawley, Ginni Thomas, Peter Navarro, Arina Grossu, and Trump. All terrorists fomenting insurrection. All should be on the no fly list.

    • I stand by my comments (not your warped interpretation of them, eg. “hero”).
      I sincerely hope that your TDS abates after 12 noon today.
      I also hope that I hit one of the two big lotteries.
      About equal probabilities, I’d say.

    • I will try one more time if we can please lower the level of drama?

      I disagree with Paul.

      How about we pull back a bit and see if we can find some lesser agreement. Every American gets these privileges unless they do something to cause them to get taken away. We do not, nor should not anyone, live in a country where things like driving, airline travel, or being able to participate in the public discourse be easily taken away.

      Can we agree on that?

  19. I recall an HR seminar once in which 8 participants are given 8 different sets of rules and a deck of cards. They are not allowed to talk, but must play the game based on the rules on their piece of paper. They cannot share the rules. The games have been known to end in fights. That’s where we are.

    We all think we know the rules and we are playing them using our view/understanding of the rules. See above. Someone posted that businesses can’t discriminate based on gender. In June 2018, SCOTUS (7-2) said that a baker can refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. [That’s a fact, btw: MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP, LTD., ET AL. v. COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL.] As aviators, we see this all the time in “discussions” on traffic patterns and landing priority, among many other things. At the moment, we as a nation do not agree on the rules of a civil society. We all want the rules to work the way we think they do, or should. This is playing out in many different areas, from masks, to seats, to abiding election results. Rules change and when they do, they disrupt a level of comfort we had with the existing norms of society, and in many cases find ways to challenge those changes by asserting our view of the rules as we think they should be, resisting, misinforming, or ignoring. Now I don’t why anyone has come to believe that rules about interfering with a flight crew have changed, but I think this is a manifestation of a bigger problem in our nation where the rules of civility society have splintered into an unrecognizable mess.

  20. When the President of the United States makes a mockery of civility,
    not just once but continually, others will, too. Conversely, when an
    average passenger airport begins to resemble a secret military base,
    with security checks that are arbitrary and authoritarian in character,
    yet utterly ineffective in preventing so-called terrorist attacks, then
    it is not hard to understand why civilians chafe at any restriction on
    public demeanor, no matter how reasonable the request, and how
    minor the inconvenience. The result is that rules are not obeyed
    when they should be, yet upheld when they should be challenged.
    Chaos and order become one and the same; anarchy and fascism
    become indistinguishable. Rational dissent is silenced; despotism
    and destruction are encouraged, from top to bottom. The fault
    lies, not in our manners but in our masters, and in the rebellion
    of those who embrace lost causes, to which they are enslaved.

  21. In the late 60’s I remember flying from MSY to POE(home of the ultimate weapon-Infantry) on TTA(Tree Top Airlines). The tower, in contact with the associated firing ranges, would call a cease fire moments before aircraft arrival.

    Not wearing a mask is not about freedom it’s about power. Petty tyrants pushing their ignorant agenda with no basis of facts or science. When they get the covid remind them where their red hatted dime store Mussolini told them to put that blue light bulb. If it’s true unemployment is down than it’s also probably true that we have 400,000 fewer in the workforce.

  22. The title of this blog is “Civility shouldn’t require enforcement” . Is there any more that has to be said ?

    Aviation Regulations are not a buffet where you only have to follow the ones you like, that is the path to anarchy. I get that some people might not agree with the mask mandate but taking out your outrage on fellow passengers and the cabin crew is the sad result of people who refuse to take personal responsibility for their behaviour.
    The fact that we even have to have this discussion is very disappointing….

    • “The fact that we even have to have this discussion is very disappointing….”

      Maybe. Maybe not. I’m looking at it as a desperately-needed opportunity to discriminate between “civility” and totalitarianism, a.k.a “Cancel Culture.”

      For the record, I wear a mask whenever out in public. It may or my not work, but it makes some others happy, and it takes little effort – so I do it. I guess that that’s an example of “civility.” It’s the least that I can do.

      But here in the Peoples Republik of Maskachusetts, I’m surrounded by open advocates of a Ministry of Truth. Like Humpty Dumpty, words mean exactly what THEY say they do – no more; no less. Thus “censorship” has been replaced by “de-platforming.”

      What does any of this have to do with General Aviation in America? Easy question. GA is one small manifestation of Freedom. History shows us that the loss of ANY freedom is an existential threat to ALL freedom.

      Yesterday, in the space just above, Wise O said “Donny Jr, Giuliani, Cruz, Mo Brooks, Hawley, Ginni Thomas, Peter Navarro, Arina Grossu, and Trump. All terrorists fomenting insurrection. All should be on the no fly list.” Unsaid was: “and on the no-speak list.” Don’t worry, though. Facebook, Twitter, and AWS already have said THAT. And done something about it.

      Cancel Culture is a clear and present danger for our democracy. And a danger for General Aviation. Is that hyperbole? Unfortunately, it is not.

  23. Ja, but… scientists have known for a long time that too many lab rats in a cage cause social breakdown among the rats.
    The number of seats, hence passengers, on most commercial passenger plans has gone up over the last 15 years — I have not got any taller or fatter, but where I used to be able to sit comfortably in economy class, I can no longer do so. Especially when an ill-bred mouth breather in front of me throws his “recline” seat back on to my knees — I am not very tall 6ft 2 in old money.
    Now I am a well adjusted, kind, good looking chap, (can’t think why my wife says I have a huge ego) but the temptation to hit the head hard of the person in front, who does that, comes on me. Mostly I resist, but plot dark revenge.
    For the less well adjusted it is easy to see why they act as the rats in the overcrowded cages.
    Airlines have known this is a problem for years — I have told them — but they do nothing.
    So if they now find they have to give up 10 seats a flight to the riot squad it is their own fault.