You will be surprised to learn that ‘free’ isn’t among people’s favorite words. At least we are, since most of the commotion over a plane seat happens because entitled passengers believe what’s free should be theirs, too. If we didn’t know any better, we’d think these people come with the price of the ticket.
As u/winyyboi shares in his quite terrifying “Entitled Parents” story, this was the exact case after an entitled parent learned about an upgrade he’s getting because of his unaccompanied minor status. Deeming it unfair that parents with toddlers don’t get the same treatment, the mother fought tooth and nail to get the boy’s first-class seat, starting a commotion that resulted in a very memorable flight.
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Some passengers feel entitled to certain amenities for reasons beyond reasonable logic
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A 13-year-old shared what an awkward situation he had to live through because of an overly entitled neighbor who couldn’t believe not getting a seat upgrade
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Turns out, unaccompanied flying is more popular than we might have thought (although, not without its own set of drawbacks)
Image credits: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi (not the actual photo)
If you’ve ever encountered an unaccompanied minor, a child between the ages of 5 and 12 flying by themselves, chances are that you must have been somewhat surprised. It’s not every day that you see a sight like that outside of “Home Alone” movies. However, it’s a more popular practice than you might think. According to Encyclopedia.com, there are at least 7 million unaccompanied minors who travel alone by plane each year, at least in the US. In France, the number of kids flying solo is approximately 285,000, as told by Air France.
All major airlines, meanwhile, have different policies for accommodating unaccompanied children as young as 5 years old. For instance, United Airlines requires solo-flying kids to wear distinctive red-and-white buttons, enabling flight crews to easily identify them. Similarly, Southwest Airlines introduces unattended children to flight attendants to ensure their care and safety during the journey.
The biggest drawback to unaccompanied flying is there being different standards. Despite children being well-prepared with the necessary information, the procedures for unaccompanied travel are not standardized. This is due to the absence of specific regulations from the Transportation Department regarding the transportation of minors without adult supervision. As a result, each airline establishes its own policies and prices, starting from determining the eligibility of children to fly alone.
Entitlement is on the rise in the current generations, studies have found
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You know those infuriating individuals who believe the world revolves around them? The ones who exude an air of entitlement so thick it could suffocate an entire city block or hijack an entire row of seats in the plane? Well, according to a 2017 study, individuals who possess a heightened sense of entitlement tend to exhibit a reluctance to comply with instructions due to perceiving rules as unjust impositions.
Interestingly enough, the same individuals that show a heightened sense of entitlement are willing to face consequences or penalties rather than conform to a system they perceive as unfair towards them – you know, like getting kicked out of a plane. Which systems they deem unfair, however, depends on every individual.
A 2016 study published by the University of Hampshire, meanwhile, revealed an increasing trend of entitlement among young people. The study found that when examining entitlement tendencies, millennials born between 1988 and 1994 scored 25% higher than individuals aged 40 to 60. Furthermore, their entitlement scores were observed to be 50% higher compared to individuals in the older age bracket.
A separate study by The National Institutes of Health showed that the occurrence of narcissistic personality disorder is almost three times higher among individuals in their 20s compared to the generation currently aged 65 or older. Additionally, a study reveals that there was a 58% increase in college students scoring higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 compared to 1982. This rise in narcissistic tendencies has been linked to the prevalence of participation trophies during the formative years of many millennials. The study also suggests that 40% of millennials believe they should be promoted every two years, irrespective of their performance.
Nevertheless, entitlement encompasses more than just a psychological trait and its effects extend beyond the individual displaying entitlement. A notable illustration is the Capitol riots that occurred in 2021. Investigations indicate that the apprehension regarding the so-called “great replacement” phenomenon, which was a motivating factor behind the riots, can be attributed to white entitlement. This unsettling manifestation of entitlement has the potential to be utilized as a driving force for acts of terror.
In the case of our formative years, a sense of entitlement should be expected
Entitlement, however, is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it should even be expected. “Called healthy narcissism or egocentrism, it is part of how a child views the world in the early stages of cognitive and emotional development,” F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist based in New York City and Massachusetts, told Bored Panda in an email.
It is common, she adds, for children and adolescents to experience periods where they exhibit self-centeredness, possess an exaggerated sense of confidence or self-importance, and may struggle to empathize with others as they prioritize meeting their own needs. However, it’s the parent’s responsibility to help their kids learn that “while his own self is important, it is also equally important to recognize and respect the rights of others.”
So what makes someone believe that they are entitled to preferential treatment over others? During the early stages of life, Barth explains, it is natural for us to exhibit a sense of entitlement. However, “as we grow and mature, we also develop the capacity to acknowledge and respect the needs of others. This progression cannot be rushed, as it relies on a child’s internal cognitive abilities to comprehend such concepts,” told Barth. Nevertheless, through meaningful interactions with parents and individuals who genuinely care for us, we can gradually learn to balance our desire for uniqueness and manage our expectations in a way that considers the needs of others.
While there is still ample progress to be made in the study of entitlement, Barth has asserted that the way individuals are treated by their parents and authority figures, the impact of media, and the experiences they encounter in life all contribute significantly to shaping their sense of entitlement.
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