Why Do Some People Experience Air Rage? We’ve Got the Answers

We’ve all been on a flight, about to enjoy our complimentary glass of wine, and had some random person three seats back start freaking out at the top of their lungs.

If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. We call this air rage. However, we want to know: why do people experience air rage?

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After some careful speculation, we think we’ve figured out the top five reasons why people get air rage. Whether it be because of one too many, or the overhead baggage is full, there’s always a reason for the madness. Well, almost always.

5 Reasons People Experience Air Rage

1. Someone has one too many drinks

Drinking is a significant cause of air rage. Remember the scene from Bridesmaids when Kristen Wiig goes on a drunken rampage on the plane? If this exact scenario happened in real life, we’d probably just laugh it off. But it can get much worse. Take this video for example. The passenger tried to kiss the flight attendant’s neck. That’s just wrong.

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2. They feel lower-class than some passengers

Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University, conducted a study that concluded that a significant reason for air rage is people being reminded of their social class. For example, walking through first class to your squishy economy seat.

The study found that air rage happened nearly four times as much in planes with first-class cabins. After all, it wasn’t just the economy passengers freaking out. In fact, first-class fliers were 12 times more likely to be angered when passengers boarded through their area. Yikes.

3. There’s no room for their bags

So this might be the person who snuck on a suitcase that they knew wasn’t within airplane standards and now that they’ve boarded they realize their bag isn’t going to fit.

Or they could be a late boarder and found there wasn’t a spot left near their seat. We’ve seen people have to place their bags a few rows back and not be thrilled about that. Don’t sweat it, people, your bag is still going to be there when you land.

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4. They’re annoyed by other people around them

Maybe they didn’t get to sit beside their BFF because the flight was too full. Maybe they had to give up their roomy emergency exit seat for someone who needed it more.

Whatever the reason, these people are very annoyed about who they end up having to sit beside. It could be that the person beside you is snoring loudly or chewing with their mouth open. We feel you. Any of those reasons would make us want to air rage too.

5. They can’t have their routine cigarettes

This one is all too self-explanatory. No smoking on airplanes can be a huge problem for heavy smokers. And if you get caught smoking in the lavatory and are told off for it? Even bigger air rage!

This kind of air rage doesn’t only go for smokers though. Sometimes people who are used to having certain medications that they can’t on a plane get agitated too.

Our advice? Keep drinks to a minimum, put on a smile and don’t sweat the small stuff.

UPDATED: June 14, 2018

Melina Morry

Melina has a knack for travel style, a love for leopards and is always keen to pack a suitcase and fly to a different part of the world.