Perhaps this is more of a “big picture” life question than something specific to airports and airplanes. However, with the summer travel season in full swing, I feel like I’ve been noticing this more than ever before, and I can’t decide if it’s my place to do something or not.
People not using headphones properly…
For some reason, a surprising number of people think it’s appropriate to do various activities without headphones in public — this includes FaceTime conversations, playing video games, watching TV shows, etc.
Frankly I don’t get it. At all. I don’t expect the whole world to be like Japan, but how is it that people think this is appropriate? It’s bad enough to do this in public or in a terminal, but it’s even worse to do it on a plane (which is a confined space where you can’t leave) or an airport lounge (which is supposed to be a place to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of the airport).
A couple of examples from the past 24 hours
Just to give a couple of examples that I’ve witnessed in the past day…
I was on a flight where a young kid was playing a “shooting” video game without headphones for over 15 minutes with volume up and no headphones. It literally sounded like 15 minutes of gunfire.
Logically I might have said something, but:
- His dad seemed pretty “macho,” and I didn’t want to set him off
- They were seated in row one, right across from the flight attendant, and she said nothing
- There were five deadheading pilots and flight attendants seated around them, so I figured they would have said something
Then I was in what’s otherwise a very nice lounge with a relaxing ambiance, and an older gentleman seated across from me proceeded to watch several Trump speeches without headphones, and then had political conversations on FaceTime without headphones on. His argument was “the problem isn’t guns, it’s video games.” Ironically I wish he had been on the flight with the kid playing the shooting video game, so he could have told him to stop.
In fairness, in the second case I should have probably just gotten up and sat somewhere else. But I was also oddly intrigued by his FaceTime debate, for all the wrong reasons.
How do you handle these situations?
I’m curious how you guys feel about this. Am I off base for finding this terribly inappropriate, or am I in the minority and need to get over myself?
If you’re as annoyed by this stuff as I am, what’s the correct way to deal with it? I’m a much more passive person than I used to be. I avoid conflicts at almost any cost, because I’m just damn tired and don’t think they’re worth it. But I also hate myself for not saying anything, if that makes sense.
So what’s the correct thing to do ?
- Not say anything, and just deal with it? That’s what I’ve been doing, but I’m also irked, so…
- Say something directly to the person? This would be the most satisfying, but is also most likely to lead to a confrontation.
- Bring it to the attention of the flight attendant and airport staff? I hate putting them in an uncomfortable situation, and in the case of the flight with the flight attendant seated across from the kid, I would have felt even more awkward about it since she didn’t do anything about it.
- Buy headphones in bulk, and passive aggressively hand them out as needed? This actually seems sorta fun and productive. 😉
Anyone have recommendations for buying cheap, disposable headphones/earbuds in bulk? It's mind-boggling how many people on planes and in lounges watch stuff without headphones, and I feel like distributing them is the only solution.
— Ben Schlappig (@OneMileataTime) August 6, 2019