PDA

View Full Version : Encounter while on a plane



mirrodie
07-29-2007, 12:09 PM
Last month I was on an AA flight in First Class, seat 4A, in the window. After being seated, I got the sense that my seatmate on the aisle was somewhat important. As the rest of the plane boarded, I noted more than a handful of people acknowledge him as they boarded.

Being that I have been real busy and have not had a moment to really edit any photos, I took advantage of the flight time and decided to edit my aviation photos on the flight.

10 minutes after take off, I begin my work. Another 10 minutes later, the guy sitting next to me stops his AVOD movie and asks, verbatim and in a sort of obnoxious harried way:

"Look, what are you? What is it you do? You a pilot, an aviator, a photographer? What's with the pictures of the planes, man"

What initially annoyed me off was how rude this guy was. Not even an "excuse me or pardon me", just a complete lack of thought before speech. I got the sense he just had to stop what he was doing so that he could find out about me.

(To tell you how obnoxious this guy was.....I'd lowered my shades to do some editing. An hour later, I raised it to take a peek outside. And then he throws up his hands into the air. Why? He's watching a movie and gets pissed that I raised the shade. A normal person would have said, "excuse me, would you mind, I'm watching a movie." This man was not normal. Realizing in an instant that my shade was a bother, I draw it back closed. I mean, I'm a considerate person and I didn't realize it'd bother him. So I say simply, "my apologies" and he then stops the movie, takes out his ear plugs and says, "what? Whatdyou say?" as if he wanted a verbal encounter and again, I simply look at him and say, "my apologies."

back to the story at hand.

I tell him my trade and simply that all I am doing is taking photos of what I enjoy.

I then said, "Why do you need to know? Because of the times?" And he nods yes. Satisfied, he was quiet the rest of the flight.

I then ask him, after having seen him perusing some MajorLeagueBaseball documents, “Well, you have some interest in baseball, no?” He tells me its just a job. Later I find out his name, Jimmy Lee Solomon, the VP of operations for Major League Baseball.

Well, firstly, it's a shame that MLB has such an arrogant fool representing their organization.

Secondly, in retrospect, when he abruptly asked me "What are you, yada yada yada," My evil, direct persona was jumping at the bit to say, "Listen, I'm not an al Quaeda terrorist, so simmer down and relax." I mean seriously, if you cut through the bull****, that's all he really wanted to know. You could take that whole sentence
Look, what are you? What is it you do? You a pilot, an aviator, a photographer? What's with the pictures of the planes, man and instead insert,
Dude, I'm an arrogant coward. By the way, are you going to blow us up?

This guy was rude, arrogant and just felt the world revolved around him. After the shade 'incident' I was compleeled to tell him, "listen, if its a probem, charter your own jet next time.

Now, I can understand anyone's interest in what I do and I can even extend them the right to know why I do it. In fact, on the flight back home, in First, the gentleman next to me looked over and asked, "Whoa, are you a photographer? Have any photos of that new plane?"

But can you see the difference in how I was approached?

How would you have handled this clown?

nwafan20
07-29-2007, 01:05 PM
Wow, well sounds like quite an encounter! I would probably tell him to settle down or something...

Nonstop2AUH
07-29-2007, 01:41 PM
In my experience of over 10 years of business travel, the most obnoxious, self-important fellow passengers tend to be affiliated with either Wall Street or something like pro sports/entertainment. My theory on this is that they are used to having their way and for people to be impressed by who they work for, and they think that gives them the right to expect more than their fellow self-loading freight. Conversely, I have found the nicest people to be entrepreneurs and 'old money.'

PhilDernerJr
07-29-2007, 11:15 PM
For me, much would have depended on my mood. If I am in my very "relaxed" plane mood, I could have brushed it off, and maybe just completely ignored his question altogether. Or, I would I have given him stern and serious conversation that educated him on only what he'd need to know to let him know his place in the situation.

Honestly, Mario, I doubt this guy would have spoken like he did if your skin color was a little lighter or much darker. A great shame.

You;'d think someone in such a position would be a little more educated or respectful enough to not speak to people, especially of First Class pax, like that.

mirrodie
07-30-2007, 10:14 AM
Honestly, Mario, I doubt this guy would have spoken like he did if your skin color was a little lighter or much darker. A great shame.



And the irony is that the man was black.

Matt Molnar
07-30-2007, 10:19 AM
A post-9/11 survey showed a great majority of African-Americans are in favor of racial profiling — as long as it's not of them. :)

Jimmie Lee Solomon's MLB.com bio, for your reading pleasure: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/ab ... mon_jimmie (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/about_mlb/executives.jsp?bio=solomon_jimmie)

mirrodie
07-30-2007, 11:26 AM
Actually, I didnt finish my thought earlier.

The irony was that he is black and yet in the other encounter, on the way home, the gentleman was whiter than a KKK hood.

I was just looking forward to see how you might handle it differently. I'm usually more apt to confront the clown, but in the air, I kept my wits about me. in this day and age, Ol' Jimmie Lee might have called hte FA and diverted the plane :roll:

PhilDernerJr
07-30-2007, 01:03 PM
Yes, Mario. It's a whole different ballgame (no pun) when you're in the air. You don't have as much room (legally and safely, not space-wise) to confront. Should anything escalate, you're in the wrong place and with someone of his position, you'd be on the news very fast. Diversions, or having police waiting when you land can happen for calmer reasons on a plane than on the streets.

mirrodie
07-30-2007, 09:43 PM
and by confrontation, I mean verbal, too. NO need to mix words with such idiots.

And Matt, let me tell you, his title and education unfortunately didn't reflect his low class persona.

N790SW
07-31-2007, 12:15 AM
Well I am going on a plane tomorrow, WN and lucky my seatmate will be my 16 year old bro, he memorized the WN tail numbers soo I dont think it should be a problem for me and hes sick of WN and planes and I really wonder why? :lol:

Mario:

You did the right thing, some people especially those who sometimes sit in first class, think they are the most important person in the world and like someone else said before " thinks the world revolves around them". You should have replied to him " I am on American Airlines, and in America its a free country and I can move the shade whenever I want to, sorry if it inconveniences you."

I do however would like to see some of the pics from your flight!! =]

mirrodie
07-31-2007, 10:08 AM
I just added a poll to this. Feel free to vote or to post and tell how you might have handled the situation if different to how I did.

cancidas
07-31-2007, 12:11 PM
i would have been somewhat nice the first time and told him why i do what i do. i tend to lose patience with stupid people very quickly, and would have simply told him to %$&# off if i had say something more than once.

HPNPilot1200
07-31-2007, 12:26 PM
Depends on the situation I suppose. If the guy seems like a real jerk, I would stretch the truth a bit and say that you're an aviation photographer for a major aviation publication and you're touching up a few photos for tomorrow's deadline. The typical joe shmoe isn't going to know any major aviation publications of the top of his head anyway.

adam613
07-31-2007, 02:02 PM
Depends on the situation I suppose. If the guy seems like a real jerk, I would stretch the truth a bit and say that you're an aviation photographer for a major aviation publication and you're touching up a few photos for tomorrow's deadline. The typical joe shmoe isn't going to know any major aviation publications of the top of his head anyway.

On the other hand, a typical Joe Shmoe who does know major aviation publications would be quite impressed by you saying you're a photographer for a.net. So maybe you don't even need to stretch the truth :)

PhilDernerJr
07-31-2007, 03:13 PM
There are more people in the industry than you know...especially when you're already in the air.

HPNPilot1200
07-31-2007, 03:20 PM
There are more people in the industry than you know...especially when you're already in the air.

Certainly very true, but many of those in the industry usually don't question about stuff like that. Just like the guy sitting next to me going to Orlando didn't question why I was reading numerous aviation publications and a Cessna 172 AFM. Similarly, I won't question anyone doing the same type of thing on flights, I already know what he's doing and it's not bothering me.

Mateo
07-31-2007, 07:29 PM
On a flight out of FLL back in April, as we taxiied out to 9L, I think I went from the bins to the camera to the notepad to the bins to the notepad in the span of 15 seconds as we got a far look at the west biz ramp and then went past the Air Sunshine/YS-11 storage ramp. The guy next to me said something like "you're an enthusiast, I take it." I said "yup," and we chatted for a few minutes about airshows and the state of the industry, before getting back to our respective business. I think something simple like "I'm an aviation enthusiast" works well enough to be descriptive, polite, and to close the conversation. If the topic continues, it's about the enjoyment of aviation, and not to threats thereof.

Speaking of environments, the number of people carrying CRJ manuals on flights ex-YUL is astounding!

kc2aqg
08-01-2007, 03:51 PM
Mario - I think you did the right thing. Unfortunately Phil is right, it's an entirely different situation in the air these days, and you wouldn't want to come off as being remotely confrontational up there, lest you find things being blown way out of proportion and out of your control. The best way to handle it (in my opinion) is to remain non-confrontational and to initially try to be nice and explain yourself, but eventually give up and go about your business. An easy way of doing this is to politely say "Excuse me, I need to focus on my work" and put on an iPod or something of the sort. I am sad to say that I think your skin color probably played a role in the incident, and for that I feel someone must apologize to you. It's quite unfortunate that this is the way of the world, and even if a situation is exacerbated by a jerk like that, you could still be at fault if you don't play your cards right. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what an idiot like that thinks, as long as he doesn't start anything to get you in trouble in the air.

On a side note, I was on DL down to ATL a few weeks ago and I was seated in coach next to a relatively young guy who appeared to be treated like royaly by the FA's. After some time into the flight, we began a conversation and it turned out that he was high-up in managing the flight attendant base at JFK and was headed down to ATL for a FA training event of some sort. Towards the end of the flight we were still chatting and I asked him to kindly excuse me, as I usually videotape the exciting parts of the flight (takeoff, landing, etc). His response was a very simple "Go for it, I understand!" We chatted some more after we shut down at the gate and I finished taping. A real nice guy and completely understanding of people who love aviation. Granted I look more like a kid than a professional commuting to work, but still, knowing how familiar he was with federal air regulations and flight attendant procedures, he could just have easily said "you can't use that device while we're landing". I guess it's just the luck of the draw.

Don't let the experience bring you down Mario. I still, for the life of me, can't understand why you're still flying AA though :P