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Passenger shaming on planes: Highlighting issues or embarrassing fellow travellers?

Not all weird and wacky behaviour from passengers warrants a shameful recording. Picture: Instagram/

Not all weird and wacky behaviour from passengers warrants a shameful recording. Picture: Instagram/

Published Feb 20, 2020


From clipping their toenails, airing their rancid shoes using the plane’s airconditioning to resting their dirty feet on someone else’s seat, passengers actions on a plane will make you wince. 

Living in the age of technology, going viral doing something grossly embarrassing is something that everyone fears. Passenger Shaming, voted Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Best Instagram Accounts", is an Instagram account that exposes the bad habits of passengers on a plane. 

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The page, created by former flight attendant Shawn Kathleen, has showcased behaviour that would make anyone cringe. However, not all weird and wacky behaviour from passengers warrants a shameful recording. 

Those who readily pull out their smartphones need to ask themselves an important question: Is snapping a video to garner likes and comments worth embarrassing a fellow traveller? 

Eating corn 

While some of the videos make for riveting viewing, others are done in poor taste.  Like the woman filmed eating corn on the plane. The woman, oblivious that someone is capturing her flight snack indulgence, savored every bite while she listened to some music on her earphones. 

Last year, a video of another woman enjoying a healthy snack of celery during one of her flights went viral. The unidentified woman packed her celery sticks as her mid-flight snack option. 

In the video, she broke the celery into pieces before she tucked into one of the branches. While some praised her for carrying her snacks, others weren’t too kind in the comments section.

The issue of consent 

I am a big fan of naming and shaming passengers who behave poorly on board a plane. Like the man who repeatedly punched on a fellow passenger’s reclined seat in hopes of her converting back to a seating position. Or the passenger who lit a cigarette while seated in the aisle seat (smoking is prohibited on planes). 

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If it endangers the lives of the cabin crew and the passengers’ video evidence is vital. 

However, capturing video of people eating, sleeping and any other harmful but shaming activity is a no-no. We need to respect fellow air travellers. How would you feel if someone filmed you doing something embarrassing? 

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