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Air rage is 4 times more likely when you get on this plane

Ever felt agitated while flying? You can probably blame the first-class fliers.

Researchers at the University of Toronto and Harvard Business School suggest that air rage during flights is often caused by inequality on airplanes.

The report, which was published online, says planes that have a designated first-class cabin are almost four times more likely to have an onboard incident than planes that do not offer class seating.

The researchers note that the increased potential for air rage caused by the presence of first class is level with that of passengers who endured more than a nine hours of flight delay.

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In addition, economy-class passengers who board from the front of a plane and walk through the first-class cabin to reach their seats were more than two times more likely to experience air rage.

But lashing out isn't just for the cheap seats. First-class passengers also face an increased risk of an airborne outburst just by having economy passengers walk by them on their way to the economy section.

"We hypothesize that first-class passengers are made more aware of their relatively advantaged status [compared with economy passengers] in the presence of situational inequality, increasing the odds of air rage by first-class passengers," the researchers said.

First-class passengers were more likely express belligerent behavior—indicative of feelings of entitlement—while economy passengers were more likely to have emotional incidents stemming from feelings of unequal treatment.

"Class-based seating is both more prevalent and more unequal in recent years, with first-class cabins claiming an increasingly large share of total space," researchers said. "As both inequality and class-based airplane seating continue to rise, incidents of air rage may similarly climb in frequency."