Research shows there are more incidents of air rage when the plane involved has a first class cabin.
Not all domestic airline flights offer first-class seating, but those that do are more likely to experience in-flight emotional outbursts, known in the industry as “air rage”.
The data indicates that flights with first-class seating experience more incidents of antisocial behavior, causing researchers to conclude the painfully obvious class-based society present on those flights prompts air rage moments.
According to Katherine DeCelles from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management and Michael North of Harvard, if the passengers in the economy section are required to walk past the first-class seats to their own seat, there are approximately four times more frequent episodes of air rage. The researchers used thousands of incident reports from millions of flights to produce their data.
When incidents occur on planes in which passengers are separated by class, 84 percent of the incidents occur in economy and 15 percent occur in first class.
The study was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The researchers say the walk through the first-class seating “prompt negative emotions and aggressive (behavior),’’ with men involved in incidents three times more often than women. More often than not the target of the aggressive behaviors is a flight attendant rather than another passenger.
The data also showed fewer incidents of air rage on planes where all passengers board at the middle of the plane then go their separate ways once they are on board.
The researchers noted that since there are more passengers in economy than in first class, there is a corresponding likelihood of aggressive behavior in the back end.
The authors also suggest that air rage could become more prevalent as economy seats shrink in size to include more passengers while first class becomes more opulent and larger.
“As both inequality and class-based airplane seating continue to rise, incidents of air rage may similarity climb in frequency,’’ they wrote.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.