Where are some of society's great melting pot locations, those places of equality?
Is it when we're all in the same stand at Mt Eden when the All Blacks win?
Is it when we're struggling on a winter morning to get our trousers or tights on?
For my money, it's a New Zealand domestic plane flight - as Sir Bob Jones has discovered.
International flights are far from an equal environment, with the class rankings in place on planes the size of a city block.
But with our gentle domestic flights, we're all crammed together - and I mean crammed - and the only favourable positions to take are the first row (to get out first), or the seat next to an emergency exit, which are often seen as giving you a bit more room.
If you do have that favoured seat, you have to be physically able - and willing - to operate the emergency door beside you, in the event of an emergency.
The story reported is that, despite being asked repeatedly by cabin staff, Sir Bob refused to say if he could operate the door. In the end, the pilot had him removed, to applause from surrounding travellers.
On a domestic flight, you could easily be sitting alongside an All Black, an MP, even the Prime Minister.
It's a great leveller with everyone getting on with their day, and part of that is handing over the reins to a pilot for an hour.
It is an excellent reminder that flying remains a complex and difficult form of transport that needs a heightened atmosphere of responsibility.When things go wrong on a plane, it's nearly an all-or-nothing deal because, at 25,000 feet, gravity is waiting to punish any failure.
The traditions still apply, with the captain having absolute authority over who travels and who doesn't. And I'm absolutely happy for that tradition to remain.
When you surrender your frail body to a steel and aluminium tube suspended several kilometres above ground level, on an aeronautical theory, we're all equal as passengers.
Andrew Bonallack is the editor of the Wairarapa Times-Age.