This is a great question that evokes plenty of emotion in me so I'm certain this answer will be too long and for that I apologize.
Rage does seem to be on the rise.
Because I fly a lot for both business and travel I've given this topic far too much thought. It may have even become an obsession. This is a complex issue that will not be solved any time soon.
In the old days flying was unique and special, people dressed up for the flight and behaved their best. Flight attendants were originally nurses and their role has always been customer safety. These days I doubt people think about flight attendants being on board for their safety....this was not intended to be a tea party. In those days a nice meal was served on real plates with real silverware. Ah...those were the days.
I think they should start by cutting people off who have had much to alcohol. We're not at a frat party.
We live in a capitalist world where often success is measured by $$$ signs.
Being a frequent flyer I have had first hand experience with rude passengers who bark at people for no reason. Passengers who don't abide by the airline rules ... luggage, phone and other nonsense. Passengers who sit in the wrong seat, move slowly during the boarding process and are basically just annoying if not hateful.
Over the years I've had a few negative interactions with hateful, unprofessional flight attendants. I will go on the record to say this is not a job I would ever sign up for due to the paragraph above but I will remind you that they did ask for this job and they said yes. This is a customer service job. The perfect flight attendant is incredibly patient and a bit perky. Certainly if your experience has been similar to mine then you can state the airlines have found a shortage of those personality types to hire.
One night I was on an overnight flight coast to coast and around 5am I asked for a cup of coffee. The flight attendant must have had a bad night while I was attempting to sleep because she became completely unglued with me. Yelling at me saying that people kept putting their lights on. Ah, well...yeah,.... that might happen in this job. I'm certain she had just had tragedy in her personal life as she was snarky.
I thought about that interaction for a long time and moving forward I am sweet, sickening nice to all flight attendants. Plus it is shelf preservation because I don't want to get yelled at again.
I fill out lots of airline feedback surveys giving compliments and identifying opportunities for improvement.
Flying is a bit of a cattle call these days. Fees for this fees for that. Less leg room and narrow seats. Customers feel like a burden rather than a customer. Communication on issues cause more stress. Gate staff whispering, the flight not boarding and little communication on the issue or delay. (although they have been a bit better recently) I think the general customer feels like the airlines have taken and taken and taken. Broken equipment...etc.
I think we need professional mediators on board to communicate between flight staff and passengers to get us safely and calmly to our next destination.
Years ago I was flying out of LA at Christmas back to Ohio to be with my family. At my gate they announced they needed volunteers because the flight was over sold -- 31 volunteers-- yes 31 on one flight (at the holidays) What were they thinking? A riot just about broke out. Common sense needs to prevail in all business but especially the airline industry.
According to CNN money the airlines are making profits. airline profits
. If this article is even half way correct in their data then they should start treating everyone a touch better.
My closing comment is if you want to be a flight attendant you should like people, you should have some customer service skills and understand you will be expected to talk with those people boarding the plane and that you should be nice to them.
Yes, the travelers should be nice too but they've paid a lot of money to fly. (no excuse for rudeness)
PEOPLE JUST BE NICE!!