'It's not your job to make other people behave better': How to safely handle unruly travelers

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Unruly passengers on flights? How to (safely) handle the situation

Erica Lamberg

Special to USA TODAY

  • We asked experts for strategies to politely try to deescalate an uncomfortable situation while traveling.
  • “Keep your demeanor neutral and respectful,” says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.
  • “Remind yourself it’s not your job to make other people behave better,” says psychotherapist Amy Morin.

Hardly a day goes by when there’s not a media snippet about an interaction with an unruly passenger on an airplane – or at a restaurant or at a theme park or in a store.

As travel picks up again this year, you could be faced with the quandary of how to handle an unruly traveler. We asked experts what to do if this happens and for strategies on how to politely try to deescalate a situation, and when you need to raise your concerns to someone with the appropriate authority. 

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