Heather Poole, a flight attendant turned author, recently posted an article on Mashable theorizing why people feel they have the right to be such a-holes when flying, and it checks out. She begins by recounting all the mean things people have said and tweeted about her while on the job. She then breaks down her thoughts on the source of their rudeness by positing two theories.
The first theory concerns the fact that when you're flying, you won't be judged for your actions by anyone you know:
First, it's the feeling of anonymity of being on an airplane. You can be the worst version of yourself and there’s nobody around to judge. Well, nobody you care about anyway. F*ck that lady in front of you, right?
The second theory concerns social media:
And Facebook — or Twitter or Instagram — is the second reason I think bad behavior is on the rise. Just like on a plane, there’s a mental distance. You may be in a room full of people when you sit down at your desk to log on, but it’s almost like you’re all alone, surrounded by hundreds of other people you don’t really know. That makes it easier to say things you might not say in front of your close family or friends. That makes it easier to tell someone you barely know where they can stick it if they dare disagree with your opinion.