I overheard two different conversations on a flight recently. To set the stage: I was near the rear of the plane. To my right was an elderly woman and behind us, in the last row, two of her female friends. In front of me were a teenage girl and her young brother, and across the aisle from them was their mother.
I didn’t see the boy when he sat down, but I heard his mom and sister talking to him. Before the plane took off, the mother passed his backpack across the aisle and told him to put it under the seat and if he got hungry during the flight, pull it out and get his snack, but “don’t start screaming”. Well my ears perked up a little at that. Screaming? Then the boy started freaking out about not wanting to fly and being scared. Just over and over saying he was scared and wanted to get off. The plane hadn’t even pushed off from the gate at this point so I knew I was in for a fun ride.
I started to suspect that the boy was developmentally challenged in some way, so I was being understanding about this. Not that I could have done anything anyway - what would I have done, yelled at the kid to shut up? But I did start to wonder if I’d have to break the rules and sneak my headphones on during the no-electronic-devices time period. I’m always a good passenger and follow the crew’s orders but this might just be a necessity, especially since I had my noise-canceling headphones. But there’s another reason I realized that wouldn’t be possible and I’ll get to that next.
The boy kept freaking out and the mother and sister were trying to calm him down. I heard the mother tell another passenger that last year he loved to fly and now all of a sudden he says he’s scared. The sister was trying to convince him that everything would be fine, as the plane was taxiing, and she said “you’re a born traveler”. He must have misheard her but his response was still pretty funny. He said “I’d rather be in a car and be a bored traveler, than be in a plane and be a scared traveler”. I’m not scared of flying, but assuming one is, that’s pretty sound logic. Have to give him that one.
Turns out that almost as soon as the plane was in the air, he was fine. There were a couple of times that the plane made some turn and he got a little excited, but for the most part he was quiet the rest of the flight, until we landed and he thought we were going to land in the water for a minute. It did sort of look like that since the airport was near the water.
The other conversation I overheard was the women sitting next to and behind me. By the way, they all had strong Southern accents. Texas I’m guessing, since I was flying out of Dallas. So picture all this said with a slow drawl. This was also before the plane took off. The flight attendants made the announcement to turn off all electronic devices. Then they announced it again a few minutes later. The woman next to me noticed a young man a few rows up that still had his phone on. The conversation went something like this:
Woman 1: That man up there is still on his phone.
Woman 2: He’s making a phone call?
Woman 1: No, but he’s texting or something. They announced two times to turn off electronics.
Woman 2: Well if we crash then I guess we’ll know why.
Woman 3: Well they won’t know because the black box won’t be able to tell.
All of that was said with absolute seriousness. I have to say, it’s also sound logic if you could bring a plane down with a phone. I don’t know anything about electronic fields or whatnot. All I know is that if it was possible to bring a plane down with a phone, then phones wouldn’t be allowed on planes. Do you really think they’ll go so far as to not let you bring a bottle of water on a plane but they’ll let you bring a device that can disrupt the navigation systems with a press of a button? And if it was that easy, terrorists wouldn’t be smuggling weapons onto planes, they’d just turn their phones on all at the same time. Dastardly!
That being said, I too was a little mad that the guy still had his phone on because if I’m going to follow some stupid rules then I want everyone else to have to follow them too.