Conversations on Twitter earlier today got me to thinking about how some people's behaviour changes when they travel on an aircaft. They might be the sanest, most normal people in the world in their everyday lives; but put them in an airport, through check-in, past security and as most crew will know, they turn into slightly crazy weirdos who do odd things.
For example, one of my Twitter posts was mentioning how some people board through the premium part of the plane, see things set out on the counters for the service, (such as drinks) and help themselves.
The rationalisations for such behaviour include 'I paid for a ticket too', 'They looked nice' and 'I just wanted one'. That's all well and good, but what it boils down to is, to put it bluntly, stealing. If you bought an economy seat and you take something meant for premium economy, business or first (without asking first), you're technically stealing it, because you didn't pay for it. Those drinks laid out on the counter, that magazine in the book rack, the newspaper you lifted from a premium seat- they all belong to the people who paid for the seats in that class.
Another example of this is 'helping yourself' to things from galleys or other service areas when the crew aren't looking. These include things like eye-shades, alcohol, extra meals or snacks. The most serious one though, is the alcohol. Believe it or not, I've actually caught passengers with their hands inside bar carts, rummaging around for a drink and thinking this is ok. When we ask for the drinks back, they get mad, and say "I've bought a ticket, I'm entitled to it". Actually, they're not.
Alcohol is a controlled item (and on international flights is bar-bonded by Customs & inspected on landing). Taking alcohol without it being served to you by the crew actually breaches the liquor licensing laws in some countries, and is technically a crime onboard the aircraft. So if you do it, and get caught, don't be surprised when the crew cut you off from having any more drinks. It always surpises me that people ge tmad when told they cannot just help themselves to booze- I mean, come on- would you jump behind the bar in your local pub and just start filling up on drinks? I don't think the barman or bouncers would be very happy!
Then there's the other items- like extra meals, snacks, blankets or taking 3 pillows for yourself even though you only need one.
All this means that some other passenger (who also paid for their ticket) misses out because some people don't know the boundaries. If you want two pillows, fine. Wait until everyone else has got one before you take a second. Or if it's that important that you be comfortable, bring your own! (Novel idea huh?) By all means, ask for any of these things, but please don't just help yourself... because most of the time, you definitely won't be helping others.
Photos: Wine-By Hirox on Flickr, Attendant- NyDailyNews.com,