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Man tells a doctor to 'shut up' on a turbulent flight, 'it's not a five-star resort.' AITA?

Man tells a doctor to 'shut up' on a turbulent flight, 'it's not a five-star resort.' AITA?


"AITA for Telling a Doctor to Shut Up on a Turbulent Flight?"

I (30M) was on a flight from Atlanta to LAX last night. Packed flight, everyone just trying to get some sleep. About two hours in, the lights come on and an announcement crackles through the intercom: turbulence ahead, fasten seatbelts. Pretty standard stuff.

Then, all hell breaks loose. This woman, maybe late 40s, impeccably dressed, starts freaking out. Screaming about air pockets, demanding to speak to the pilot, the whole nine yards. Flight attendant (super patient lady, bless her) tries to calm her down, explains it's standard procedure, turbulence is normal. Nope, not having it.

This lady, who we'll name Jane, throws a fit. Not the screeching, nails-on-a-chalkboard kind, but a cold, steely fury. She accuses the flight attendant of lying, of putting everyone in danger, and demands to be deplaned immediately. Flight attendant says that's not possible mid-flight, and Jane launches into this whole spiel about how she's a doctor (pulls out an ID to prove it), and if something happens, it's on the airline.

Now, the rest of the plane is awake. People are grumbling, some looking scared, a baby starts crying. Flight attendant is trying to reason with Jane, but it's like talking to a brick wall. Finally, I just lose it. I yell out (probably a little too loudly), "Look lady, we all get turbulence. It's not a five-star resort, but it's safe. Sit down and shut up before you get yourself arrested!"Everyone stares at me.

Jane spins around, eyes blazing, and starts in on me about disrespecting a medical professional. I fire back that a real doctor wouldn't be causing a scene and freaking everyone out. The flight attendant dives in, trying to mediate, but the damage is done.We hit some turbulence, not terrible, but enough to jostle the plane. Jane freaks again, and some people start getting panicky.

I feel awful, maybe I made things worse? The flight attendant gives me a look that could curdle milk, but then steers Jame away to talk to her privately.By the time we land, things are calmer, but the tension is thick. Jane gives me a withering look as she disembarks, and a few people mutter thanks under their breath. So, AITA? Did I just escalate a bad situation, or was I right to shut down a meltdown that was putting other passengers on edge? I'm honestly not sure.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

chalk_in_boots said:

YTA, but unknowingly. The crew are trained to handle these sorts of situations and you in your frustration escalated it. I fly. A lot. I'm also a very big guy who looks like he can handle himself. There's kind of an unwritten rule that if there's an aggressive passenger I sit the f-ck down but pay attention, don't jump in, don't risk making things worse in an attempt to fix the issue.

Sit down, shut up, and if the crew need help they'll ask. You ever watch/play netball? Unlike a lot of sports where players will call for the ball, open players in netball say "here if you need". Or, imagine going to the supermarket and you see someone with a pallet stocking shelves you don't just start grabbing stuff and putting it on a shelf saying "I'm just trying to help". Let the professional handle it.

Ok_Perception1131 said:

I don’t know a single doctor who would behave that way. The only scenario that would make sense is if she’s an alcoholic with a fear of flying. YTA for escalating a bad situation. Let the flight attendants deal with it, theyre trained to do so. Yelling at someone who is angry (or in the middle of a panic attack) isn’t helpful. Has being yelled at when you’re angry or afraid ever helped YOU?

AmateurExpert__ said:

NTA - “disrespecting a medical professional”? What like they’re superhuman just for being in healthcare? Bullshit - respect is earned, and her conduct didn’t merit it. Lucky she didn’t end up in restraints tbh.

IrrelevantManatee said:

…did you yell at someone in the middle of a panic attack?? Yeah.. YTA. The job of the flight attendant was already hard enough, you just made it worse. Let them do their job. The have formations on how to handle panic attacks, and yelling is not part of it.

WestCovina1234 said:

YTA. A FA trained to take care of these situations was working to do so, but you thought yelling at the woman would make things better? Has yelling at someone behaving irrationally ever made anything better? You should've know you'd only make things worse.

smalltreesdreams said:

YTA. If the flight attendants were being physically overwhelmed by a violent passenger or something then I could see getting involved. Or perhaps if you are a therapist or somehow trained in mental health support or conflict resolution you could identify yourself to the flight attendants and offer your help and expertise. As it is all you did is yell at an anxious person and escalated the situation.

The opinions were slightly divided for this one, but most people weren't on OP's side. What's your advice for this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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