It's a sad sign of the times as one fight after another seems to break out on airplanes.
There are steps you can take to defuse potentially explosive situations before they turn into a stressful situation for flyers.
Faye de Muyshondt is an expert on social skills and etiquette or, in these cases, “jetiquette.”
“Give the person the benefit of the doubt,” she advises. “Don't get aggressive. The way you act on an airplane is how you should act in a movie theater. It’s minding your space; it's not talking loudly, its doing the things that are common courtesies for people around you.”
A passenger in front of you reclining their seat way back can be annoying. De Muyshondt says you can either put up with it or recline your chair. She advises advises against telling the person it's bothering you.
There are websites dedicated to shaming passengers who take their shoes off during a flight, but sometimes the best way to approach the situation is with a sense of humor.
“Take a deep breath, let go of the aggression and try to be funny about it,” she advises.
Sometimes airlines are to blame for mishandling tense episodes, like that now notorious incident in which a doctor was physically dragged off the United Airlines plane last month.
She said anyone who's ordered to give up their seat should simply comply.
“Get off the plane as you're asked to, and handle it outside at a different level from the person who removed you from the plane,” de Muyshondt said.
So take a deep breath and get as many credit vouchers as you can, she said.