Responses To Air Rage Editorial

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February 15, 2001

This is in response to the story on" Air Rage". The solution seems rather simple.

End the smoking ban of flights.

Did we ever hear about" Air Rage" before the smoking ban was instituted?

Several months ago U.S.A.Today ran an article on how different Airlines were enforceing the smoking ban. The breathtaking insight was that Airlines that did not vigorously enforce the ban had few if any incidence of" Air Rage. " No kidding. Isn't "Air rage" just a fancy way of saying" nicotine fit?"

Warren Klass

Responses To Air Rage Editorial

I agree wholeheartedly with Warren Klass of Winnipeg, Manitoba linking "Air Rage" to airlines banning smoking. What did they expect? Nicotine is a drug, more addictive than heroin. It's unfair to tell a smoker they cannot smoke for 7, 8, 9 hours. I think the airlines could have come up with a better solution. Better ventilation for one. But that would have cost money and when they banned smoking they also cut down on the amount of fresh air being circulated in flight which saved money. Another cost-cutting measure for the airlines to the detriment of their passengers. To be fair, why don't they ban alcohol too? Drunks don't engage in "air rage"?
Elizabeth A. Jordan
Toronto, Canada

Warren Klass draws a connection between nicotine withdrawal and air rage. It may be true, but the solution definitely is not to yield to what is essentially terrorism. That's been tried, and every day the headlines from the middle east scream the proof that once terrorists have been rewarded with concessions they only step it up; they never reform. If cigarette smoking is at the root of this problem then that is cause enough to place a ban on cigarettes everywhere! Shut down the entire industry, and suck it up for a while. There will be people out of work, and there will be a lot more who will be very antsy because they won't be able to feed their habit. They'll be in withdrawal, but withdrawal does end a lot sooner than you'd think. It only seems long because it is unpleasant. Think of the money that will be saved though! All those lung and heart ailments that will decrease, taking strain off the health care system. All that extra disposable income former smokers will have to spend on other, healthier things. No, Warren. Absolutely not! Never! If people are going to behave like children, throwing tantrums, we have rooms we can send them to.
Roy Torney,
Cobourg, ON

Allowing smoking on the aircrafts is not a solution to the so called "air rage". Firstly "air rage" and any other so called "rage" that is being reported is individuals that are not willing to co-exist in what society considers a reasonable and peaceful manner with others. Each week during newscasts we hear of "rages" happening in numerous venues. Most often the enraged person feels they have been grossly wronged by what ever it is that they "raged" at. On the issue of smoking in aircrafts I don't smoke nor do I want to smoke. If I were to be on an aircraft that allowed smoking I would even though possibly seated in the "no smoking" area be subjected to the smoker's smoke. In an enclosed area like and an aircraft there is no way to ventilate well enough to confine the smoke to the smoking section only. My opinion is that my right not to smoke supercedes your right to smoke. A ban on smoking on aircrafts is correct and justified. In any situation where ventilation is not sufficient to confine the smoke to the designated smoking area and fully preventing smoke from infiltrating the non smoking area smoking should not be allowed anywhere in that facility.
Michael Martin
Ottawa, Ontario

The solution to "Air Rage" is to end the smoking ban of flights? Well that's probably the smart thing to do. Yes, yes I'm sure that's it. It would protect smokers from long uncomfortable stretches of time without smoking. Then again wait, hold on ... perhaps there's an alternative. We should also consider that smoking on airplanes is an unnecessary risk, it's unhealthy and it smells repulsive.
If Warren Klass is suggesting that the majority of "Air Rage" cases are due to 'nicotine fits', perhaps we should consider banning smokers from flying? Perhaps those people who have such a shortage of common sense that they would indulge in an imbecilic habit like smoking shouldn't be allowed to fly. Well now that seems to make more sense.
Remember, it's not a right if it infringes on the rights of others. Absolutely, unequivocally NO concessions can ever be made for smokers in public buildings or transportation. Smoking is not a birth defect or involuntary disability -- nobody asked smokers to be stupid and smoke.
Karla Zalaski
Edmonton, Alberta

My guess is that Mr. Klass is a smoker. Be that aside, regarding the "rage" factor, I believe it is just another piece of society's steady decline in social behavior, i.e.. road rage, parent's (sports) rage, student rage, etc., etc., and the general publics apathy towards boorish and unacceptable behavior.
I believe it's time to start telling social offenders to sit down, shut up, and learn some manners.
Re the smoking on airlines: I personally do not want to be cooped up on an aircraft that permits smoking. I feel quite certain that lifting the ban on smoking on commercial flights would result in a tremendous outcry from the majority of the traveling public.
Jim Wilson
Denver, Colorado

Warren Klass of Winnipeg might be on to something. If allowing smoking on flights will get rid of air rage, then by the same logic allowing smoking in vehicles will get rid of road rage!
Good thinking, Warren!
Steve Teichtmeister
Mississauga, Ontario

You've got to be kidding! The simplistic view that ending the smoking ban on flights is the solution to stopping "air rage" is ridiculous. Does Mr. Klass really believe this?
I understand that nicotine withdrawal makes people edgy and irritable, but it shouldn't propel a person into a rage that causes them to assault other individuals, endanger peoples lives, or vandalize airline property. And let's not forget that there are measures an individual can take to ensure they can handle a non-smoking environment for the duration of a flight. A simple discussion with their doctor is a start, and let's not blame their issues or problems on the airlines as this is clearly the individuals responsibility.
Let's not step backwards and punish the majority for the actions of few by allowing smoking on flights again! The cabin of an airplane is not an environment conducive to "lighting up", and we will all suffer the negative health effects of this.
Any incident of "air rage" I have heard of in the media always seems to have involved outwardly belligerent people, who would act this way anywhere, or people that have consumed large amounts of alcohol. I'm guessing alcohol is a larger factor in altering a person's perspective on what is acceptable and appropriate behaviour on flights than smoking. Maybe this is where the focus should be shifted.
If people practiced a little restraint on flights and if the airlines adopted tougher policies on the distribution of alcohol on flights (really, who needs to get loaded on a flight?) we might hear less about these incidents. The law enforcement agencies also need to adopt tougher punishment to support the airlines policies, so when someone does get out of line they will face stiff consequences.
Mark Cresswell
Toronto, Ontario

The problems are: Long check in-lines at overcrowded airports, indifferent or downright hostile customer service, crappy headache-inducing headsets, paste-like "food" , chronic late arrivals, understaffed services, and seats that get smaller every year in order to cram more people into an airplane - and I have the luxury of flying business class, at that.
All that at and they still charge you a premium price, particularly if you're dumb enough to fly Air Canada...
As an aside; man, if someone's got such a horrific nicotine addiction that they can't go for more than 7-8 hours without lighting up, they need to check into a clinic and get some help. I regularly go 8 hours without smoking, it's called "sleep".
R. Krutina
Ottawa, Ontario

Is Warren from Winnipeg suffering from too much time at high altitudes? Most people who have "air rage" are unable to handle the effects of alcohol on their system, not the nicotine. Too bad we can't do what most bars do when a customer gets out of hand due to alcohol, throw them out the door! In the interim, lengthy bans on travel for those convicted of air rage in addition to the criminal record should eventually deter most people.
Don Craig
Calgary, AB

I have a better suggestion. Ban smokers who are pathetically weak individuals. If they can't go a few hours without lighting up then maybe they should find an alternate form of transportation.
There is no way in hell that I should have to put up with your dirty, stinky disgusting habit because you are addicted.
The smoking ban is just one more stress that some people are under. Everyone who flies is under pressure. The drive to the airport, the long lineups at check-in, the hassles of pre-flight security, the short tempered airline employees, we are treated like self loading cargo, the serving of alcohol on board, the never ending flight delays and the fact that people today feel that because they pay for something they can do exactly what they feel like doing are all reasons for this problem.
Saying that air rage is because of no smoking plays a small part in some cases I am sure but not everyone who is guilty of an air rage incident is a smoker.
Until the airlines get tough with these individuals who put the entire aircraft and the people on board in jeopardy then the number of incidents will continue to rise. One would suspect with today's technology that a world wide flight ban on these morons might begin to send a message. The airlines must stop paying lip service to this problem.
Jeff Hunt
Guelph, Ontario

The reason for increased reports of "Air Rage" is not those poor souls that are addicted to nicotine. It's the lousy air quality, cramped seating, and most importantly our "always in a hurry, can't spare a moment, I don't give a damn about anyone else" lifestyle.
Ian Whyte
Toronto, Ontario

Perhaps Mr. Warren Klass should remember not to believe everything he reads in USA today. What a ridiculous comment, "lift the ban on smoking" on flights. That's it, lets start giving into all the bad habits and addictions of criminals. "It wasn't his fault, he needed a cigarette" will be the new excuse. Smoking on aircraft was banned as a safety precaution not a public health issue. It is generally not a good idea to have people holding burning materials and lighting matches on an enclosed tube full of flammable and toxic materials at 25000 feet. The majority of all onboard fires are started by cigarettes and onboard fire is the number one cause of aircraft fatalities...use your head Mr. Klass.
Air Rage is a crime and as a former flight attendant I find it appalling that the government is taking such a weak stand on the problem. Flight crew and flight attendants are their for your safety, not to serve drinks. If airlines could get away without putting them on board they would, to cut costs. Interfering with any onboard crew member is endangering the lives of everyone aboard the flight and should be dealt with much more harshly than the current light sentences and small fines.
Spencer Callaghan
Ottawa, ON

So, what I'm hearing is that we should let people smoke in airplanes so they don't go nuts? You have got to be kidding me!
First off, the argument that the reason we have Air Rage is because of the smoking ban is not well thought out. Have all the cases of Air Rage had to do with people who couldn't get their "fix"?
If this was the case, they I could just as easily argue that the increased cases of Road Rage are directly related the increase in gas prices. Makes total sense, doesn't it? Please....
Rocky Jain
Mississauga, Ontario

I guess he has done the research to determine that all "air ragers" are smokers. If that is the case, then we should simply ban smokers from flying. Further, does he not realize the safety & health concerns? I'm not sure I want to be on a flight with smokers while I'm sitting on a few thousand pounds of jet-A fuel. Also, since the mid-seventies, cabin air is only made up of 50% fresh air & 50% recirculated air. I don't want to breathe their smoke in this confined environment. Get a clue.
Pete Allanson
Toronto, Ontario

This solution paints the smoker as an out of control drug addict that would risk hundreds of lives in an aircraft disaster just because he/she can't get their tar and nicotine hit when they want it. If this is the case then smokers should be required to submit to a straight jacket before boarding an aircraft for any length of flight. Come on, Warren cigarettes have killed enough people and ruined enough lives already!
Clive A Howcroft
Thunder Bay ON

I think a better solution to the "Air Rage" problem is keep tazers on board and teach the flight attendants how to use them. They could point them out as they are going over the safety tips, "... there are emergency exits at the rear, middle and front of the aircraft. Now, if you will bring your attention to the device attached to my belt: this is an 'Air Passenger Control Device', it will be used if your ass gets out of line."
Now obviously I'm being sarcastic. This is not a good solution, you can't put weapons on a plane, it could end up in the enraged persons hands, but it has just about as much merit as removing the smoking ban on planes. It's not like smoking is a basic human need. Last I checked I believe that breathing was.
Ever hear of Nicorette?
Tom Priest
Mississauga Ontario

Considering that the number of non- smokers on any given flight will probably be far greater than the number of smokers, I'd suggest that there would be even more trouble if someone were to light up. No, the only way to stop air rage (Air Canada note) is to provide better service. Considering the fares that AC is forcing us to pay for domestic travel, and considering the overall service that we receive in return, nothing is going to change. Funnily enough, I haven't heard of any problems with WestJet and the other smaller airlines.
Ivan Solomons
Orangeville, Ont,

Before there was "air rage" there was also no "road rage" nor were secondary and high school students packing weapons in their book bags. Can all of this be blamed on nicotine deprivation, I don't think so. Rage is driven by stress, frustration and anger not withdrawal.
Stephanie F. Donaldson
South Huron, Ontario

Oh yes, why don't we just cater to people's addictions! And next we can introduce the "All-you-can-drink" flights for those alcoholics out there. So what we're actually saying is if you act badly enough you'll get what you want. There is no need to take out your frustrations on people just trying to make a living like everyone else or on the rest of the passengers who are probably just as frustrated as the jerk making a bad situation worse. Maybe the real cause of "Air Rage" are people's reaction to being crammed into ever increasingly smaller seats and longer flight delays! Or how about the price of air travel in this country? How do they justify charging more for a flight from Calgary to Toronto than a flight from Calgary to London, England? It's absolutely ludicrous and if you think about and don't have "Air Rage" then you should!
Melissa Stewart
Calgary, Alberta

Cancer for the masses as a cure to 'air rage'. What a delightful proposition!
Rawlin Falk
Cranbrook, B.C.

Re: The solution to "Air Rage" seems rather simple. End the smoking ban of flights. by Warren Klass, Winnipeg.
Isn't it considered fair play to mention one's affiliation if sending a related comment?
Mr. Klass no ordinary man-in-the-street. He seems to endlessly pump out letters to the media in the US and Canada on a variety of tobacco issues, while apparently neglecting to note the fact that he is the president of a group called "FORCES Manitoba." FORCES, it may interest you to know, stands for "Fight Ordinances & Restrictions to Control & Eliminate Smoking".
Verification may be found at this link:
Gene Borio
Tobacco BBS
Village Station, NY

On January 13, 2001, I was at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary to see the visiting Ottawa Senators face off against our Calgary Flames. I was astonished and appalled to learn that it was Government of Canada t-shirt night. I don't know how many t-shirts the Government of Canada handed out, but I suspect many hundreds or even thousands. Since when is our Government in the business of manufacturing and distributing t-shirts? Is there a new franchise: GAP for Liberals?
As if being taxed to the hilt in this country is not injury enough, the Liberal Government insultingly flexes its fiscal irresponsibility and squanders our tax dollars on t-shirts. Right up until the moment I saw those t-shirts, I was clear in my understanding and appreciation of taxation; paved streets, public schools, healthcare - all worthy tax-dollar expenditures. But t-shirts? What happened to accountability? If this is what the Government does with my money, perhaps someone could explain exactly why I pay taxes? I must have missed the memo, re: paying off the public debt and running a surplus. Perhaps there's an extra copy the Liberals could print on a t-shirt and have couriered to me.
Canadians are crying out over cuts to social programs, such as health care, and the Government responds by handing out t-shirts. I am a very proud Canadian but I do not feel the need to advertise my national pride across my chest on a t-shirt made on the backs of Canadian taxpayers.
Please, Liberals, leave the marketing to Molson or Labatts. If corporations want to print t-shirts with the word "Canada" plastered all over them, then all the power to them; they have boards of directors and shareholders to whom they must answer. Last I heard, the Government is answerable to its citizens. I challenge the Heritage Minister, Sheila Copps, to justify this expenditure, and to explain why and how this plan was ever approved.
Tony Barron
Calgary, Alberta

This is my reply to the dude who stated "that he had nothing but disdain for Westerners as they were all whiners and complainers." Okay, your insular attitude is showing and you need to travel across this great country more, without the bad attitude. Are people from Quebec all rabid separatists? Heck, no! I found the majority to be polite, informed and they greet you in two languages. Some of the funniest, most articulate people I have met were from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and the kindest from small town Saskatchewan. Celebrate our diversity!
Sher Wellman
Carstairs, Alberta

The Writing of Warren Klass

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