Should you tell someone if they hit you in the face with their bag?

If someone accidentally whacks you in the head, or knee, or arm with their carry-on, should you say something? Last week I got a Victorinox werks 20text from a friend, another frequent business traveler, who said that between people boarding and leaving the plane he was hit in the knee or head no less than six times. In fact, he has a pretty ugly bruise on his knee right now, almost a week later. His question to me: should I have said something?

The summer travel season can be hard for frequent travelers. In my experience, people who fly a lot tend to be more aware of the potential etiquette violations and try to avoid them. For instance, they know to pick up their stuff and get out of the way at security. They know to listen closely to announcements and board during their group. And they know to watch their bags as they walk down the aisle to avoid hitting people. But the holiday travelers, those who only travel once a year—they’re just not around enough to recognize how obnoxious or even painful these things can be. a text from a friend, another frequent business traveler, who said that between people boarding and leaving the plane he was hit in the knee or head no less than six times. In fact, he has a pretty ugly bruise on his knee right now, almost a week later. His question to me: should I have said something?

So, my thoughts. Often times the person is already several rows past you by the time you get your bearings enough to say something, and there is probably no point in chasing them down to tell them to watch it. If it is someone still nearby, a simple, “Excuse me!” might do it. Or, “Do you need a hand?” That draws attention to the fact that they’re not fully in control of their bag, but doesn’t call them out for being an oblivious jerk. (Because that’s the most likely scenario, right? It’s not that they’re rude people, they just don’t realize how much they are impacting others.) If you see someone hit someone else, it’s not a bad idea to offer help, for the same reason.

Readers, what do you think? Would you say something to someone who accidentally hit you with their bag?

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Comments

  1. I accept that the aisle seat will result in more injuries than window – part of the sacrifice you make when flying. Having said that, if I see a big bag heading towards my noggin, I will either make a show out of leaning out of the way(so they get the hint) or I might politely point out that their backpack just clocked another passenger in the head, and they might want to shift it a bit – that usually works.

  2. I always have my knees and elbows slightly out to protect the head and ankles. When a bag hits either, I don’t give an inch. This usually forces the bag back into them and delivers a message.

  3. YES! This is just not annoying, it can be dangerous, especially if it knocks your glasses off and they get stepped on. Plus I have had a person putting their bag in an overhead bin and drop in on the person in the aisle seat.

  4. I have had my eyeglasses knocked off and into the aisle by someone with a big backpack turning suddenly to place a bag in the overhead bin a couple times before I could duck out of the way. Although it was not a well considered response, I shouted a few swear words spontaneously the first time it happened.

  5. Two words: Hell YES!”. If someone is so oblivious that they do not notice that the trajectory of their bag changed during stowing or unstowing, they need to be read the riot act. Or my fist might just accidentally slip into their nose.

    I use a Zero Halliburton roller case and I could do some significant damage as it is aircraft grade aluminum.

  6. I guess I get hit a lot, but I have never really said anything to anyone about it. It happens a lot and has never been serious. I did certainly comment when someone SLAMMED their seat back into recline during meal service drenching me with a full glass of wine. Accidents happen. Give backpackers some space – you know they will turn and cannot see behind them. Grumble under your breath at folks with carryons heavy than can lift and know that it will fall when they pull it out. If you can’t dodge it, offer to help them.

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