Exaggerated entitlement could possibly explain what’s driving the recent surge of abusive or violent incidents on flights in America.
We live in a time where everyone seems hypervigilant to the point where even a slight snub can be taken as an act of deliberate aggression—either reactively or without provocation. People want to assert themselves, and every little social interaction seems to turn quickly into a battleground of entitlement.
Self-Protective Efforts Heighten Entitlement
To make things worse, air travel sits at the confluence of so many things involving so many people (and circumstances) where each “participant” has little direct control over what’s happening to them and others around. Political polarization and mask mandates seem to have intensified these anxieties too. Moreover, the FAA’s zero-tolerance policy toward disturbances and the threat of massive fines are unlikely to disincentivize passengers and staff in the heat of the moment.
When people feel entitled, they’re not just frustrated when others fail to acknowledge and entertain—even listen to—their presumed superior rights. People feel deceived and wronged. They feel victimized, get angry, and exude hostility. Worse, they feel even more justified in their demands and thus assume an even stronger sense of entitlement as compensation.
Idea for Impact: Entitlement and Responsibility are Inextricably Linked
Underlying this kind of anger process is a lack of separation of rights from responsibility. No professional, social, or domestic environment can remain stable and peaceful without everyone respecting the fact that rights and responsibilities are inseparable.
Nobody is entitled to compassion or fair treatment without acting on the responsibility to give it to others. If you don’t care about how others feel, you can’t demand that they care about how you feel. It’s a formula for disaster in human interactions.