Travel Tips

Travel Tip: How to Be a More Responsible Airline Passenger

Image Credit: Lasse Fuss

Locations in this article:  Chicago, IL Houston, TX
On the subject of security, there’s an old saying…if you see something, say something…It also applies to simply being a responsible airline passenger, not to mention the concept of sanity and common sense. In the latest controversy involving United Airlines (the death of a dog that was put in the overhead compartment), let’s consider some additional aspects to the story. 

Image Credit: Lasse Fuss

On March 13, 2018, United Airlines apologized after a dog died on flight 1284 from Houston to New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The flight attendant had told the pet owner to put the dog’s carrier in the overhead compartment. And while the flight attendant later claimed she did not know there was a dog inside that bag, many passengers in the seats and rows around the passenger DID know…but said NOTHING. What does this say about our current airline passenger and crew culture? Are passengers so afraid that they’ll be forcibly dragged off a flight (like the Chicago dentist…on another United Airlines flight) that they are terrified of speaking up when they see something obviously wrong? I’m not suggesting that any airline passenger approach things in a combative or aggressive manner. This is not an issue of questioning authority (remember, if you disobey an order of a flight crew you are in violation of federal law). Instead, this is an issue of politely questioning an order and asking for an explanation, or in the case of the dog, bringing it to the attention of a flight crew member that there really was a dog in that bag. It is definitely time to speak up when you see something that is obviously wrong or question a member of a flight crew if their order seems to make no sense. If you are then ignored, then at least you’re on record. And if you are told you must obey the order, then obey it. And then, after the fact, and only after the fact, it’s then time to speak OUT. Or let me know, and I’ll investigate. But, first things first. If you see something, please….say something.

By Peter Greenberg for


For more on being an active airline passenger, check out:

United Creates New Plan to Handle the Overbooked

Know Your Rights When Your Plane is Overbooked

How Much Airlines Can Offer You on an Overbooked Flight