First there was the lamenting of not properly “curating” one’s airplane passenger costumes and now there is passenger shaming. The stewards and stewardesses, our hosts in the sky, getting snippy.

While I agree, that some of the passengers are being impolite. They probably shouldn’t change their baby’s diapers on the food tray or on the passenger seat. Dirty diapers shouldn’t be left in the aisle or littering the floor. The floor shouldn’t be littered with food and food wrappers. People should be appropriately covered (That means, men, keep your shirts on).

I don’t want think anyone should leave a mess behind nor do I want a stranger’s feet appearing suddenly popping on my armrest from behind because the passenger behind feels he owns the armrest space in front of him (I pity the person sitting next to him). Still, one must remember that one is rarely fit for photos in real life when sleeping. Mastering the art of sleeping on an airplane isn’t one of those things covered in high school. Perhaps we need to resurrect charm schools, but some of the photos on the Facebook page for Passenger Shaming seem little more than petty bullying.

1374336_582340518467915_1029503660_nThe 20 October 2013 entry has the line “Overly-dramatic-passive-aggressive asshole that forgot to wear something with sleeves” for a person who is covered with a few sheets of newspaper, perhaps out of modesty? As some people pointed out “How is this hurting anyone? She’s cold and figured out a way to keep warm.” Another person pointed out this is more likely a “airline staff fail.” Another person agreed asked, “Why didn’t the airline/flight attendant give them a blanket? I’d call this Airline Shame.” Who knows? Maybe some other passenger had hogged all the blankets or the airline was charging for blankets.

One gentleman isn’t bothering anyone, but he does have his head into his OWN headrest. One person noted that while it didn’t look comfortable the passenger got two things rights–he’s using his own headrest and no one is next to him. Another person wrote, “He is just trying to get some sleep.”

524572_508481395853828_268662465_nAnother person has simply taken his or her shoes off and doesn’t have feet on the food tray or anything but the floor, but this is shameful because of the clothes? Or because someone has something against bare feet?

Like when one is asleep, another time one doesn’t always look attractive is when one is exercising. Two photos catch waiting passengers exercising. One is of a man. Another is of a woman (28 April 2014). Neither is being rude or bothering others. These two photos just make the editor of Passenger Shaming seem mean and petty.  The man whose face was pixelated out, gets to be the object of ridicule, but one person points out, “He’s not on a plane and he’s not close to anyone else. This picture is boring.”

One person commented about the faceless woman doing yoga, “No shame in getting a workout in whenever you can” and another person commented that it wasn’t shameful but hot. Other people agreed that there was nothing wrong with going yoga or exercise in the airport and one person ventured “Other girls are just jealous.”  Another person commented “Nothing wrong with that. I’m pretty sure whoever posts these pictures is just terrified of feet.”

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Then there is the photo of one passenger’s leggings that looked phallic (27 September 2013) under “All dressed up & ready for the flight! #PassengerShaming #dick.” A lot of people got laughs at this person’s expense although one person pointed out (in French), “It is a matter of taste.”

This person who edits the Passenger Shaming Facebook page, Shawn Kathleen, can join the Slate whiner as a fashion police, none of these makes flying the skies seem friendly. Contrary to the Slate article, this might encourage people to dress in large shapeless clothing to cover up.

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Surprisingly,  Shawn Kathleen is, according to a Yahoo interview, quite fine with people having sex in the bathroom. Really? You don’t care if bodily fluids are shot all over the bathroom and two people are taking up a bathroom that other passengers might want to use and yet you want to complain about barefeet and used condoms left under the seats?

A lot of Passenger Shaming is about ridiculing sleeping passengers in coach who cannot defend themselves and a lot of the situations arise from trying to figure out how to sleep sitting up. The body isn’t made to sleep sitting up and the airlines know this, but business and economy classes will just have to make due and be subject to ridicule if caught on camera by the people who are supposed to be your hosts and hostesses. Those that can’t afford the luxury of first class or private jets get to wallow in coach and become targets of ridicule should we fall asleep. Passenger shaming may cause bitter dreams on the increasingly unfriendly skies.

Next time you get on a flight, one where you want to sleep, you might want to ask what the airline’s policy is about photographing you while you are sleeping.

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