Whatever happened to the Good Ol' Days?


Ya, im still young so i haven’t gotten my complete share of the whole people foaming at the mouth angry incidents yet but ive had a few run ins with those kinds of people. The last time that i ever flew southwest there was an angry man about 75 years old who had had a little too much to drink. He was fussing about not being able to get onto the aircraft and he said that he had cancer and that he was going to die because the airport people werent going to let him get onboard…The security people came and had to apprehend the man because he then proceded to grope the ticket agent and then he reached over the counter and started talking on the intercom. Whatever happened to the good old days of the 90’s when people actually showed some patience?

No matter where I fly i almost always encounter people who have bad kids and yet the parents do nothing about it. I was heading to Ft. Benning back in January and on the flight from MCI-ATL a young little girl infront of me was standing up in her seat facing me. The whole flight the mother had neglected to do anything while everyone in the cabin (the flight crew included) insisted on the child sitting down. Well about 30 minutes prior to landing over northern Georgia we encountered some rough air. The Captain turned on the seatbelt sign and the FA’s came over to tell the woman to sit her child down…the woman did not cooperate and nor did her child. All of a sudden the plane lurched up into the air with the Starboard wing dropping, the little girl flew from the middle seat and hit her head on the Overhead PTV and then slammed into the window, cutting her forhead. As you can imagine the mother was horrified and the FA’s came over to help. The man sitting next to me began applauding and simply replied by saying, " They told you so!"

It seems that as the years have gone on that people who fly onboard aircraft become more and more rude and vulgar. I just wish that everything could be the same way as it used to be back in the days of TWA and 90’s style travel. I just hope that when my days of being an airline pilot come around that things won’t too much worse than they are now.

Sorry for being on my soapbox for too long…I am open to comments and please share your airline horror stories of unruly passengers.


This is what happens when fares come down so low that just about anybody can afford to fly. It’s not that all “poorer” people are rude or can’t follow instructions; it’s just that a greater percentage of them are that way. Sorry if I offended anyone, but the truth is the truth. There are plenty of rich jerk-offs as well, but I’ve heard people refer to modern-day coach sections as "city buses in the sky."
The above is compounded by the fact that there are so many more pax (and flights) than before, so volume delays are more widespread than they used to be.
Also, while customer service has tanked overall in retail, at the same time, people are realizing that when you bitch enough about something, you get stuff for free. Folks now completely take advantage of this, and throw a hissy fit over the slightest inconvenience. I’ve witnessed someone get all bent out-of-shape because the 2 standby tickets he purchased (Apparently, the last available seats) for him & his wife weren’t next to each other, and noone wanted to move. He DEMANDED a free trip for the inconvenience!! Talk about a set-up! I don’t know whether he got his wish (I doubt it), but it’s just that mentality that people carry with them.
Finally, I think our entire culture is losing its patience at a steady rate. I don’t know if it’s too much TV or what, but people seem to make the smallest problems out to be tragedies. Imagine a flight being delayed 25 years ago by weather. Most people probably chatted with others at the gate, making small talk and being satisfied that their flight would depart as soon as possible. Now, imagine the same scenario today. People throw fits over things that are out of anyone’s control, and think that arriving home 2-3 hours later than expected (in most circumstances a minor inconvenience) will ruin their lives.


I really feel I need to put my $.02 in on this. I have a 5 1/2 month old son now, and this topic has frequently come up between me and my wife. I see the apathetic attitudes of parents these days. I have seen documentaries showing people who would love to have kids, but don’t want them to change their lifestyles (sadly, one of my best friends is about to realize that his social life is going to come crashing down around him when his son is born in July).

The fact that (and I really am not trying to go totally political on this) the liberal, touchy, feely, left has started succeeding in making a society of bed wetting, what have you done for me lately, I should be entitled to anything that anyone else has, without working for it is what is leading to this. My BIL is the perfect example, which came from living in Eureka Springs, Arkansas for three years. Anyway, I digress. People rely on the news, which, I don’t care which side of the preverbail asile you stand on, is slanted to the left, to let them know how to think. Now, it is bad to punish your kids by scolding them, or HEAVEN FORBID, spank them. It is not good to correct their papers with RED ink. It is not fair that students that are not fluent in English have to take a state ENGLISH exit exam from high school before going to college or being forced to join the real world.

It is this kind of crap that has lead to the problems you see, not only on the airlines, but in the USA in general. Bill Cosby had to see it coming when he did his HBO special many, many moons ago called “Bill Cosby: Himself.” He even touched on the little kid that annoyed the passengers throughout the flight. Naturally, about 15 minutes before they landed, the kid fell asleep. Cosby went on to joke that each passenger that went by the kid took pride in waking the kid up.

OK, so that is a little extreme, but this bit was done back in the early 90s, if not the 80s. My whole point is that PC is taking over the country in an extreme way and people are buying into it way too much. Don’t beat the ever living crap out of your kids, but a good scolding (no verbal abuse), or even a quick spanking is good for them.

Parents just don’t care enough anymore, which translates into the kids that behave badly. Combine this with the “I deserve everything for free because of something that might be my fault, but I can find a way to pin it on you, the company” attitude, and you get what you see today. I have said it before on here. I would love to be in a situation when my flight is delayed because of weather at the arrival airport and listen to the people bitch and moan. I have told my wife that I would love to be able to get on the PA system and explain to the morons exactly why we can’t fly and what effect whatever type of weather is causing the problem will have on the plane.

OK, I really need to get back to work… This topic just gets to me…


I don’t think it’s due to lower fares and ability for everyone to fly. It’s the attitude of “me first” and “it’s for the children” that has developed over the past few years.

The children are brats. If I did some of the things that I see kids doing today, I’d still be on restriction with a very red butt. Why the hell do parents think they have to be friends to their kids? They are the PARENTS, they are the CHILDREN. The former is suppose to be in control of the latter.

People are generally rude. Again, it’s because of the “me first” attitude. It didn’t help any that for 8 years we had a president who was like this.


It’s just like you righties to always blame the people!

My belief(*) is the deteriation in air service (preceived or actual) stems from deregulation. In the “good 'ole days” the government controlled prices and routes. If an airline was to get right to fly A->B and C-D, they HAD to fly from A->Z as well. Didn’t matter if only two people wanted to go to Z (and even less wanted to go back). Prices were controlled, so they could not charge higher prices for the A->Z route, they had to make it up on the other routes.

This made airline ticket prices very high. Airlines couldn’t compete by cutting prices, they could only compete on service. Give the passager a good meal on their $1200 flight from Detriot to Chicago, or they’ll fly another $1200 airline next time.

With price so high, seat load was not as big of a factor. Airlines knew seatload would be low on certain flight (and they had to fly them anyway) So most flights were not as crowded.

Enter Deregulation. Charge what you want. Fly the route you want, how you want to.

Now the airlines quickly learn how to fill the flights, and a push is on to increase the seat count (that is, descrease the seat size). Supercomputers are brought in to manipulate pricing on the fly to achive this. Some routes are dropped, or the prices on them go through the roof. On most however, the price drops. Alot.

Now you can fly (mostly) where you want for a much more reasonable price. Selection of an aircarriers for the customer is based almost solely on price. Most people are willing to put up with a coke and peanuts on their 4 hour flight (if that) since they saved $300 a ticket.

With all the extra congestion at gates, they extra suffering when a flight is delayed or cancelled (ALL of the next flight to a point has been overbooked too, of course) there is bound to be more misery and tempers flairing at the ticket counters and gates.

Which way was better? To me, I prefer the lower prices and the fact the the airlines concern themselvs with getting me from here to there as cost effectively as possible. If I want extra frills flying, I can still buy it (if not from the airlines, by hiring one of the fine pilots flying for the small jet charter services).

There, a “lefty” arguing against government regulation. Now you’ve seen everthing!

*Belief - Something I “know” to be true but don’t have the time to back up with actual facts.

edited because nobody “Buts up with coke and peanuts”.


Sure… Deregulation created a whole new set of issues regarding airline operations, but that was nearly 30 years ago and still doesn’t excuse the behavior of passengers.

Never-the-less, i’m still impressed with your argument against goverment regulation. “Lefty” or “Libertarian”?? :wink:


Thiry years ago? holy crap I’m getting old!

Nothing excuses bad behavior, but I do believe(* see above) that on the whole people have not gotten worse. I believe we are moving towards an era of more and more crowding and struggleingh for resourses (ponder the A380 and imagine the plane/deplane process on that bad boy- and [according to the latest issue of [url=http://www.airspacemag.com/]Air and space the A380 might be considered small in a few decades.

(By the way the ADA was signed by that well know antiregulation hard right Carter in October of 1978, less than 28 years ago. So 'ya see, I’m not that old!)


Ya, Thank you guys for responding to my post. I actaully agree with just about everyone of you on a part of your comments. Jreeves you had a really good point with the government regulation. I was raised in a household of where my family got flight benefits because my dad was a Marine and he worked for WorldSpan so we got benefits onboard Delta, TWA and NWA. Kids today are just bad and immature and yes i blame the parents. If i acted the way that some of the kids today act on airplanes today my life would have been over. Parents are so afraid of what other people might say…verbal scoldings dont do anything and timeout is the most pointless thing. I just think that a parent should do a quick and easy slap. Not to the point of child abuse but to the point of getting their point across. Thank you again guys…

Keep it real 8)


Yeah, I believe it’s a big picture combination of all of the mentioned factors! I remember the days of regulation. I was 12 years old or so and had never flown on a plane. I saved my paper route money for months for a round-trip ticket from IAD to PHL (28 minutes). $51.00 each way (and worth every penny to me then and now). I got to fly on an L-1011 going up there, and a 707 coming back. I remember being treated like visiting royalty by the airline staff (did my youth factor into my treatment?). To me, that was the golden age of air travel!

Today, they treat a bunch of low-class, whiney, self-serving, gotta-have-it-now brats (and I’m refering to today’s adults) as if they’re cattle on their way to the slaughterhouse. All of the elements have come together to form “the perfect storm” in the form of air-rage! Take out any one or two of the symtoms mentioned by others above, and things would be more acceptable and tolerable to the traveling public.

I remember shortly after deregulation - I think the NATCA strike coincided with the time - I flew on Eastern Airlines somewhere. A steward asked me for my ticket during the flight. I’d flown a few times before this flight, and this was the first time any such request had been made of me. I had my boarding pass handy, and figured I couldn’t get a boarding pass without having purchased a ticket, so I showed him the boarding pass. Well, this guy got really snide with me - asked me something to the effect of, “Would you like to pay for this flight now?” I mean, he could have simply said “that’s a boarding pass and I need to see your ticket,” but he basically accused me of being a stow-away. I undid my seatbelt and reached in my backpocket for my ticket, handed it to him and asked if that’s what he wanted to see. No apology - just looked it over, handed it back to me and said, “Thank you, sir” and walked away. Needless to say, I never flew on Eastern again… :smiling_imp:


Passengers Subdue 80 year old man onboard an American Airlines flight from LAX-------

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060523/ap_ … isturbance

WOW this is a prime example of todays society.


What’s that? The part where he advises a chicken to undergo breast augmentation surgery? http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b8/CheckM8/spinner.gif


I’m young, in college, so the transition from the “golden age” to the “modern age” of air travel happened at a time when I was too young to really understand the forces behind it. But, from what I read in history books, commercial aviation is not what it was.

It seems that few people take any pride in air travel anymore (speaking primarily in the United States). People walk on to airplanes now with torn jeans and a ripped t-shirt. There was a time when people dressed for air travel, recieved a nice meal, and the whole experience was more of a voyage than a ride. Now it’s all about herding the passengers into the airplanes, compounded by massive security. The airlines could care less about your “experience”, rather, they just want you on and off, and they’d prefer you know nothing about the behind-the-scenes. It’s kind of sad really that this is the way things are. Except for us pilots and enthusiasts, people are pretty much ignorant to the fact that they are seven miles high and traveling at a rate of nearly six hundred miles per hour - for us that’s damn cool, for the rest of the world, it’s a routine hastle.

I kind of wish somebody would form an airline based on the principles of the “Good 'Ol Days” - classy service, nice meals, and a general interest in making the flight “elegant”. But, no airline would make money this way, and therefore, it will probably never happen.

By The Way. I was scolded as a child. I occasinally got spanked. (But never once on an airplane, I was too busy looking out the window.) I love my parents, and I appreciate the way they have raised me. Anybody who bases parenting on political correctness is missing the point.


I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again…





I’ll take a devil’s advocate position. I don’t think that passengers are a whole lot worse behaved than some 30 years ago. We just get more press coverage of bad incidents today.

The environment has changed, though. Airlines have cut back on staff and amenities. Many of today’s incidents wouldn’t have happened if passengers didn’t think they were getting zero service. Flight attendants today work harder and often have taken pay cuts. They just aren’t as friendly and tolerate of passengers who need more attention.

Any decline in behavior parallels a decline in environment. It happens.

Similarly, in a very different field, one could ask if we really have an increase in geriatric diseases – or just an increase in geriatric people. Our perceptions might not match reality. Same for passenger behavior.


I do agree on one point. We do see more coverage of bad events, which can, NOT DOES, make it seem like there are more incidents.