Airplane etiquette is a frequent subject of Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" After all, there are a lot of social rules and courtesies to obey when you're hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour, trapped in a small cabin with a bunch of strangers passing the same gross germs back and forth for hours on end.
And this story tackles a classic plane conundrum. How many times have you been on a plane or a train and began watching a TV show only to die a little bit inside and look around you when there's a sex scene or crazy violence happening on screen? It's happened to the best of us. But it's fine, it's all in your head, and no one cares what you're watching. Well, almost no one. When this guy decided to finally sit down and start Game of Thrones on his flight, he didn't expect to get yelled at and called names. But that's exactly what happened.
He explains that he was on a long flight in an aisle seat. He inexplicably hasn't seen any of Game of Thrones yet, so he set up his tablet at his seat and started watching. If you'll recall, in the very first episode of the show, Bran sees Jaime and Cersei having sex, so they push him out the window of the tower. So I imagine it was when this happened (he said it was about "an hour or two into watching") that the woman two rows behind him tapped him on the shoulder and told him that he needed to turn it off immediately.
Confused, he asked why. She said "that her young son could see the show playing" on his tablet and that it's not suitable for kids because of all the sex and violence. He agreed that it's not for kids, but he did not agree to turn it off. "She then basically told me that I am an a--hole for not considering other people around me," he wrote. And he wanted to know if she was right, so he took to Reddit.
In a few edits, he clarifies that he was wearing headphones the whole time and he was flying from Europe to the U.S. He's not exactly sure what seat the kid was in as it seemed like he and his mom switched seats frequently.
First of all, she was two rows behind him. That's... so far. She should have been able to shield her kid from Game of Thrones by...not letting him strain his neck to see it. I highly doubt from that distance that he could see much to begin with. Second of all, this is a long flight, and this woman thought it was appropriate to tell someone else that they couldn't do the thing they'd decided to do to pass the time. The nerve!
Some commenters agreed the mom had so many options to consider before yelling at a stranger. "She could have swapped seats with the kid or distracted him. If all else failed she could have politely asked you if you would mind angling your tablet so he couldn't see it. Instead, she jumped straight to telling you that you *had* to turn it off. That is entitlement right there. The world does not revolve around her child," one person wrote.
That's exactly right. It's not everyone's job to walk on eggshells around her child. That being said, there were plenty of commenters who said you shouldn't watch that kind of graphic material in public at all. "Watching particularly violent or sexual TV in public is a bad look on anyone," another commenter wrote. "It's not even about sheltering kids or whatnot but some people feel uncomfortable seeing these sorts of shows and it's not polite to put people in a position to see it."
"Don't watch porn in public places," someone else wrote, "no matter how critically acclaimed said porn is." OK, that one's pretty funny. But as another commenter wrote, "GOT is a major phenomenon. It would be absolutely ridiculous to expect that people wouldn't be watching it on a long flight... Come on. Adults watch adult things."
While I understand the idea that it's inappropriate and I personally would feel a little bit too uncomfortable to watch Game of Thrones on a plane, I still think it's fine. It might not be the most courteous thing to do, but I would have stood my ground too if that mom demanded that I turn it off.
Plus, I still cannot get over the fact that she and her son were two rows behind him. Maybe if they were directly behind him, I could understand her position a teeny bit more. But two rows?! That kid would really have to be straining to see his screen. And, again, it's not like he was playing sex scenes at full volume. He had his headphones in. It was playing on an iPad in his personal space.
Traveling on a plane is tough because I simultaneously expect people to be on their best and worst behavior. You're stuck in close quarters with these strangers for hours. You should do everything you can to be nice and polite and not ruffle feathers. Then again, you're tens of thousands of feet in the air in a tiny cabin, trying to pass hours of time without going completely insane. If you have to privately watch a little Game of Thrones on your iPad to do that, it's OK with me.