Here’s a side issue from my recent Lufthansa First Class flight from New York to Frankfurt. During dinner, we were asked (politely) if we could keep our conversation to a whisper. Was that a reasonable request?
A Dinner Conversation Silenced: Do Sleepers Have Priority In First Class?
Despite the 4:05 pm ET departure time, four of the seven passengers chose to go right to bed immediately after departure. I suppose that makes sense on two levels. First, if you are trying to acclimate to German time, 4:05 pm ET is 10:05 pm CET. Second, perhaps these travelers had a full day of work ahead of them and it made sense to try to get as much sleep as possible on what is a very short transatlantic crossing.
But I was still on west coast time (three hours earlier) and my friend is a night owl, so we had no desire to go right to sleep. Indeed, we wanted to enjoy a beautiful meal as part of the first class experience.
We spoke at a conversational level during dinner, which was a multi-course affair extending over two hours. We laughed here and there but were not loud…and I truly do mean that. Midway through dinner, a flight attendant approached us.
“I realize that you are having a lovely time dining and do not want to disturb you, but one of the passengers has asked if you would mind keeping your voices down so that he can sleep?”
The flight attendant was very diplomatic and this was clearly phrased as a request, not a demand. My friend did not particularly care for the request because we were not being loud, but we did reduce our conversation to a whisper (which still went on for another hour).
At one point, the purser came over and very graciously thanked us, while noting how much she appreciated that we were enjoying the onboard experience.
Personally, I was not offended by the request, but don’t view it as totally reasonable. It would be one thing if we were loud and boisterous, but we were just speaking. I realize that the majority in the cabin wished to sleep, but it was still bright outside and it was two hours into a flight that left in the afternoon. Perhaps if you just want to sleep, you should fly business class instead?
I focus on first class because the very set-up of first class (with room for two to dine together) invites conversation, but this discussion applies to business and economy class as well.
We limited our conversation to whispers and I eventually went to sleep as well…only to be awakened by the same passenger enjoying his breakfast before landing while I tried to sleep. Just as it is fairly unreasonable to abstain from eating so those around you can sleep, I think the same is true for conversation at a respectful volume level. Surely, I do not fly first class to sleep, but for the onboard experience. While I was happy to move to a whisper, it did put some pressure on us, which took away from the experience.
Is it reasonable to request that other first class passengers stop talking so you can sleep? Is it reasonable to refuse such a request?
@ Matthew — This is what earplugs and noise cancelling headphones were made for…
Sounds like a “them” problem. Being courteous to other passengers is always a good idea, but they should have taken measures to dampen/lessen the ambient noise of the cabin if they chose to sleep. There’s no shortage of products on the market to help with that.
Did they ask the FAs to stop serving because the sound of plates and cutlery disturbed them? Not bloody likley.
Clearly you didn’t read the cabin and were loud enough that people were complaining. The only thing worse is when the talking comes from the FA’s in the galley. I was on a CX flight to ORD in F seated in 1A and the cabin crew were talking so loud that even with my ear plugs I could still hear them. I literally pull the curtain back and told them to shut-up!
You seem like a delightful person.
I paid $$$ for an intimate First Class cabin where I could get some sleep. Trust me, I gave it LOTS of time and thought several long minutes hoping the talking would stop but it only got worse. Sometimes one’s got to do what needs to be done.
Money, as they say, can’t buy class.
Well, it buys first class
Actually Robert, if Crew need to speak loudly while in a confined area, such as a Galley? This is concerning. Where is the courtesy extended to the Pax? I do agree with the wearing of ear plugs as well.
Robert, your acerbic response is clearly a reflection of your self entitlement.
The FAs job is to keep you safe and to evacuate you in case of an emergency. Not a word about service or champagne. Be human you prick.
Lighten up Francis
And you you would of been embarrassed if I was the F.A. working that flight, especially with such a rude comment, shut up really, there is a better way to communicate and you surly would have found out at that moment, and pulling the curtain back, that’s our space.
Ich rate Ihnen zu einem Privstflugzeug. Wie kann ein Mensch so rücksichtslos sein, alle anderen Passagiere zu drangsalieren. Schämen sie sich.
There are earplugs in the amenity kit, and someone really needing to sleep on a plane should wear noise cancelling headphones. They come across like the sort of bright spark that complains on Flyertalk and Twitter about the choice of other people to take their children with them on public transport. (and I say this as a childless person who definitely isn’t a fan of small kids)
Yes, the request was completely reasonable.
No it wasn’t. Not even remotely. They give you earplugs for a reason. Utilize them and stfu. This is baby behaviour
I guess it depends on how you view things. I don’t see myself as important enough to inconvenience others. You obviously feel differently. Different strokes.
Nice passive aggressive move there. You are in a public space. Anybody can buy a ticket for this cabin. You have a reasonable expectation of a normal sound level and that’s it. Beyond that, you’re the one imposing. Which is fine, if you’re polite about the request. But you have absolutely no right to expect your request will be accepted.
If it was a public space, you’d be correct. As it’s a private space that was purchased (in miles or money), that sets a different standard. The private corporation that owns the transport you’re flying on gets to determine the rules. Also, I wasn’t kidding in that I wish I was important enough that other people should kowtow to me. Ask Mel Brooks: It’s good to be king.
“Nice passive aggressive move there.” lol,,, no he’s not. The guy is just trying to present a different point of view and you tag him as being passive aggressive – it weakens your arguments when you need to resort to name calling. An intelligent person can give counter arguments without name calling, but a weak person often does.
What are you talking about? You would be inconveniencing people by telling them not to talk. Because you don’t want to use the earplugs provided for that exact purpose, I’m supposed to sit there silently? Like the OP said, we’re not talking about overtly loud or disruptive behavior, we’re talking about conversational voices. Totally unreasonable request, especially coming from the FA. She should have asked the guy to use his earplugs.
Well, those only cover about 20-30dB. A conversation can be much louder so ear plugs don’t always help here. It’s not like you pop them in and you’re automatically deaf.
A completely unreasonable request. Nobody is promised a quiet cabin at any time. Certainly not at 4pm. Fly private if want to have total control over your experience.
Didactic BS aside, pretty much any member of the public can buy this seat. If, as a private company, Lufthansa wanted to set the rule that there was no talking on these flights, they could do so. They haven’t. Indeed, they heavily advertise the luxurious dining experience you’ll have and the ability to dine with others.
Feel free to request that others remain quiet during these kinds of flights. But understand you are the one imposing on others and not the other way around.
As others have noted, that is what earplugs are for. If you put them in correctly, you won’t hear any conversation.
See, this is the issue with a 4 PM departure. For many people, a 4 PM departure with a 7 hour flight time is really a daytime flight – so staying up for much of the flight, talking to your companion, etc may make sense…
However – I fund that airplane recent decorum is that you should make things easy for those who are trying to sleep. This includes talking in low voices, closing all windowshades, etc. I am seeing this more and more, no matter what time of day, class of service, region, etc.
I agree with this. I remember when daytime flights were largely like being anywhere else during the day- it was bright (at least for most of it). Window shades were up, you could look out the window and watch the world go by. You could read a book without an overhead light. It was natural to talk to the person next to you. These days, it’s almost like right after take off, it’s shades-down, everyone. I don’t know, maybe I’m exaggerating….
I think the nature of in-flight entertainment has contributed to an environment of the expectation of quiet. Whereas a movie used to be shown at a certain time for everyone, or you’d only be able to listen to whatever channels they piped through your headphones (remember changing the station with the little dial in the armrest?), now it’s wall-to-wall entertainment through the seatback or your own device, so everyone’s focused on their insular experience as soon as they board. So for anyone trying to be social, it’s “Shhhh, you’re disturbing others.”
Back to the question at hand, being courteous to others is always in good order. If you’re talking, keep it down. If you’re trying to sleep, use earplugs. Asking someone to keep it down would be reasonable only if they were being boisterous to the point of disturbing.
I’d be mildly offended to be asked then I’d get over it and be like meh all good. The attendant translated well but I wonder what the passenger said to them lolll.
Conversation is one thing. People sleeping or watching their iPad with shade up when everyone else is asleep is frustrating. Ifwork is paying I’ll sleep but otherwise $10 for 6 hours sleep seems steep 🙂
Btw. So right about the LH biz class tote bag thing. Thought it was so cheap when we got it but have used two of them as day bags all over Europe.
Yes! I suspect the passenger’s request to the FA was less polite…
For flights to Europe, I think it is a very reasonable request. The flights are specifically set up for you to sleep overnight and arrive in Europe ready to start the day. They turn the light down, set up your bed, and provide pajamas, all setting the expectation of sleep. I agree with you that you have the right to converse and that you are totally appropriate to converse in a low tone voice, but it’s unfair to say the request is unreasonable when there are so many other explicit and implicit signals indicating that you can expect to sleep on the flight.
Maybe try making use of the eye shades and earplugs/headsets available instead of the pajamas on a 7 hour flight that leaves in the afternoon. Your not a kid anymore–toughen up.
If you suffer from Loud Voice Talker syndrome (direct correlation to how DYKWIA syndrome) then, YES, it absolutely is rude to be yapping it up. Same guy speaking at volume level 10 is the same DYKWIA with their window shade up and seat into IMMEDIATE FULL RECLINE the moment they get on board. A sizeable portion of this blog’s audience could use the vax the above syndromes.
Seems to me the onus should be on you if you want it dark and silent. You can wear earplugs and an eye mask and get what you want while I get what I want, which is to look out the window. But instead, you want to be the only one who gets what they want by acting like I should close the shade. Speaking of “DYKWIA” syndrome…
How anyone can force themselves to fall asleep at 4pm is beyond me. Talking at a reasonable volume should be expected, at least for the 1st half of the flight. There’s other noises that are far more disturbing to sleep like clanging of silverware or opening overheads. Are you supposed to sit there motionless? Gimme a break
Low dose ambien
I do agree with the sentiment that LH’s ex-U.S. departures (at least for the 748 fleet) are too early. Why not push the FRA-USA 748 flights to mid afternoon and the USA-FRA flights to, let’s say, between 8 and 9 pm? There are plenty of connection banks at FRA – no need for USA travelers to catch the early ones. Flying XXX-FRA-USA on LH often means a 5-6 am departure and a tight layover.
I think the flights are timed for the Europeans, not the Americans.
Okay, but how are these good flight times for Europeans?
I like the midday arrivals in the USA, which mean you still have time to hit the ground running. That said, I would not mind a later bank of flights as well.
I’d rather the 748 flights leave between 2 and 4. Allows time for lunch in the First Terminal and a less obnoxious start time if connecting to FRA.
LH does run some later flights to large markets like JFK, ORD, and LAX, but those do not offer First.
The MUC-USA 346 flights run later in the day.
Also, less foot traffic at Customs & Immigration.
That’s it! It’s designed for Germans and in Germany the culture is all about being quiet. In fact my parents still tell me the story about how they use to not be allowed on Lufthansa’s first class when we were little kids in the 80’s because little kids were considered too noisy for first class, we had to go business and even then got evil looks sent our way (and we were not the noisy type of kids). In fact, it was a well known fact that up until the 90’s several restaurants in Germany said “kinder verbotten” on their doors, but dogs were allowed! So while I agree with you in the sense that I too would like to enjoy my dinner with a nice conversation, maybe book an American or other international airline so you don’t get as many of these kind of requests which will be common on a Lufthansa.
I think it’s entirely reasonable. I’m not sure how vision is different from hearing yet a separate column was devoted to how considerate it was to create a candlelit breakfast and yet folks are demanding earplugs…
Why not eat breakfast with the cabin lights on and demand eye masks?
@mathew to what extend was the German mask mandate enforced on this trip? Would like to connect through Frankfurt on a flight next month and already found pz but really don’t want to wear a mask for 12 hours.
I guess you were on Lufthasna which is probably more strict than United? Also if I only flew Germany to US would it not be enforced on the US bound flight? I read somewhere that UA doesn’t enforce on any flights to the US but when I called them to ask about it they said they do.
UA does not enforce masking IME and masks are not compulsory at FRA. I would grab the PZ space!
Oh wow, do they not enforce it in either direction? Even flights going into FRA?
Others perhaps have more recent experience, but it was not enforced in late April.
Offer them Ambien.
Totally reasonable request.
I fly literally constantly on the US to Europe route and take for granted the concept that the FC cabin is going to be pretty much quiet and tranquil: Supplied with pillows and blankets (and even slipper and a down mattress pad on United’s Polaris) I don’t expect the cabin to be abuzz with dinner conversation.
My only question is: I am surprised that as such a “frequent flier” you have never brought the subject up before – maybe you typically travel alone?
And given your newsletter, I’m imagining the Purser probably wanted to do damage control. It must be hard to have to ask people to lower their voices, but even harder if there are would-be influencers out there who want to “make an example” of them.
Earplugs and headphones make it so I believe slightly muted conversation, but not whispering, is ok. Laughing out loud is not.
With earplugs etc should not have a problem!! !!The only issue I had in FC Lufthansa was the loud snoring of 4 german guys… The FA apologized but could not do anything to help the situation.
Plus, they were snoring in German!
I think it’s a reasonable request, but I also agree that this is what earplugs are for. They really work at shutting out noise and if I want to sleep on a flight, I’ll assume that I will be using a pair. Ultimately, I view this as not an issue of which side is entitled to what, but one of respect in a shared space. If we all try to treat each other with respect and kindness we usually find a way to accommodate different people with different needs. It sounds like it worked out in the end with you being respectful of the other passengers by quieting your voice while still being able to enjoy dinner. No need for anyone to get worked up about it.
The seat wasn’t designed for two people to dine together – so you were going beyond ‘norms’ for the cabin in that regard
On a flight from FRA to the US would imagine it’s less of a concern given the timing
the flight attendant certainly considered it a reasonable request. i’d actually be embarrassed if someone had to make this request of me.
Why? If you were yelling, sure, but why if you were just talking to your seatmate?
No, the flight attendant probably felt obligated to make the request on behalf of the other passenger, as diplomatically as possible. It is a request, not a command, one need not comply. I would’ve carried on. Two passengers want to chat at a reasonable level, one wants silence. Unreasonable at 4 pm, too bad
Actually it is a reasonable request. People sleep when they need to/are able to. You are often obsessed with enough sleep. We all operate on different clocks, and buy/secure First Class for different reasons.
Glad you could whisper….
@Matthew Klint, it is a lose lose.
Some folks want quiet, some folks want to enjoy the experience and some folks want to do both.
I remember a number of years ago now, I was flying Swiss F from ZRH-MIA and my wife and I decided to dine together. We were chatting quietly and someone decided to complain that we were disturbing their sleep.
We were not loud and in fact the Swiss FA said to us that she did not think that we were loud, but someone complained so maybe we could try and even speak a little quieter than we already were.
We were now uncomfortable that even though we were trying to be respectful we had managed to bother someone and the other passenger made us and the FA uncomfortable by complaining to begin with.
In the end the Swiss FA was really sweet about the entire thing and gave us a goodie bag upon departure in MIA with an unopened bottle of wine that both my wife and I enjoyed onboard as well as an entire box of unopened Swiss chocolates.
I can see both sides of it, but in summary- for this instance, I think it’s a reasonable request.
That’s a small open cabin, and you can easily see what other people are up to. If the rest of the cabin is tucked in bed with shades down and eye masks on, then acting like you’re in a restaurant would be pretty inconsiderate.
They do serve a dinner, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect people to eat in silence. So I think sleepers should expect to accommodate some conversation.
However, you mentioned in your other post that you spent three hours dining on that flight. A three hour conversation in a small area where clearly other people are trying to sleep seems excessive to me, so I can understand why, after listening to you for 2 hours, someone asked if you might quiet down a bit.
With the aircraft noise, I would suspect that even speaking softly would be hard for others to hear.
As for ear plugs, if a conversation is loud enough it will still be audible, and there are reasons why certain people cannot or should not wear earplugs.
It’s completely unreasonable, selfish to ask that. If you need silence to sleep and are in the forward cabin, Karen can afford ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones.
The FA should have told that customer there is no violation/ no need to contact or bother another custyou at all Also you did say your friend sat on an ottoman so perhaps F class is not set up for dual dining?
What if you had been traveling with a crying child ?
The FA invited us to dine together.
Honestly, the crying children was a concern when we all flew LH F for Christmas last year. Thankfully my daughter was an angel onboard…it’s a difficult issue.
A totally reasonable request. It’s not like I can get up and move somewhere else if I don’t want to listen to your conversation. Go ahead and converse during the meal, the rest of us are eating, too, but keep it short and quiet the rest of the time, please.
That’s fair enough, but here you see the situation was that four passengers skipped dinner and went right to bed.
Part of the first class experience is the meal service! I understand people flying for business but lotsa people fly for vacation and experience! The request was silly! Everyone is entitled to their own enjoyment of the flight!
In an environment such as in an airplane, there is no privacy and you shouldn’t expect it unless you have your own private jet. I don’t expect anything. And I don’t pay for anything extra. I just want to get from point A to point B.
Some of these comments are just… I’m ALL about being conscientious to fellow travelers on flights. But this is like the person who expects/demands the window shades to be down on a midday domestic flight from ORD to DFW. There was a meal service going on. It was still daylight and you also purchased your seat just as they purchased theirs. If this was four hours into the flight and you were having a Barb and Star style nonstop chatfest I could totally understand the request being made. But to want to have a conversation at reasonable volume during a scheduled mealtime is not unreasonable of you.
The purser definitely handled it professionally and courteously. But they had to have been relieved because… despite being in LH first, there are types of people who would have done the exact opposite and become belligerent or raised their voices and it could have backfired. I assume it was a safe bet neither of you seemed like those types of people.
I mean this really reminds me of the time my partner and I went to see Mary Queen of Scots at the theater in DC and a woman actually told him at the end of the film that he was making too much noise with his popcorn bag (trust me, he was not, I would have smacked him if he was)
In today’s culture, when so many people don’t even exercise common courtesy, it blows my mind when other people act entitled to excessive deference in a common space. And yes I do consider this to be a bit excessive, because despite the majority wanting to sleep immediately, it still was a reasonable time to be up and conversing and therefore was placing an unreasonable burden on your own enjoyment.
But good on you two for being classy and respectful. I’d have done the same thing, but it definitely does make you feel a bit uncomfortable that someone felt the need to complain when you were doing nothing wrong.
Joey gets points for the “Barb and Star” reference.
Deduction for mention of the movies’ title…a tad pretentious. …
LOL! Gold star for Darkstar!
Not at all, because the title is Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. I was referring to the two characters.
Me correcting you would be pretentious, except I assure you this is entirely tongue in cheek.
All of my German aunts would have complained to the FA about anyone making noise that they didn’t like. They all had an entitled attitude where their desires trumped the general public’s standard operating procedures. Don’t get me started on their distain of utensil noise on China during family dinners……
You are right: Assuming that you were not speaking loudly or being obnoxious in any way, then the request is unreasonable. I have another beef with Lufthansa though: The stupid face-masks. I have a request from Lufthansa: Please stop the face-mask nonsense. That’s a reasonable request. Breathing free and showing your face are basic human rights.
If you are flying to an important meeting and need the sleep then shame on you or your employer for not flying you in the Gulfstream. For everybody else…whether on Miles or a splurge, if you sleep in first class you are missing the entire experience.
I am sorry but if you are sleeping in first class on a commercial flight and feel the need to complain about other passengers enjoying the experience then you can just go and f*ck yourself.
And THAT’S why we need doors on the suites. It helps to reduce the noise. I rest my case.
Quite the double standard. Them eating a short breakfast alone when you wanted to sleep was too loud and unacceptable. Your hours of conversation with a friend during a shared dinner with alcohol when they wanted to sleep should be graciously endured.
Planes are loud. Spaces are way too small. Acoustics suck and headphones and earplugs can only do so much. Just be considerate and be quiet.
Read more carefully – I did not complain about my neighbor waking me up for breakfast.
Your comment is senseless, you fail at reading comprehension. Re read the article. And not all earplugs are the same. I carry ones that block out more sound. They have a decibal rating, you can buy them easily and write cheaply online. I always fly with them.f irst class is noisy with people and staff walking around, ordering snacks, getting drunk, etc.
Could the problem be related to American culture? I have dined overseas in expensive restaurants where I was chatting quietly with my wife only to have the conversational volume of one or two American diners dominate the restaurants which were otherwise full of much quieter locals. The shocking thing is that these Americans were seated several tables away from me. Not only did they lack an “indoor voice” but they also were oblivious to the fact that nobody else was speaking anywhere near their volume.
If you’ve ever met me in person, you’d know I’m a pretty soft-spoken guy with European sensibilities after living in Germany. In this case, our voices were really not loud.
I love these controversial topics that could go either way because there’s no right or wrong answers. The other one I liked a lot was whether or not to swap seats with a family that’s separated. Now back to the matter at hand – I’ve never in 40 years of flying ever sat in First Class, only Business a few times but mostly in Economy or zoo class. The way I see it, there’s nothing wrong to have a normal conversation unless one is boisterous or laughing uncontrollably. If a First Class passenger needs to sleep, he should bring earplugs or book the entire cabin. To expect others to not converse is unreasonable. Perhaps airlines should have two separate zones for talking or sleeping.
Most of these so called First Pax nowadays are so full of themselves and needs a reality check for time to time.
Some exaggerate with the quietness because the entire class is sleeping and the other is the loud type ” look at me I am flying First Class – behold” and converse loudly or dining loudly just to make his presence noted by everyone in the cabin..even at the back in Economy Class.
Simply Pathetic! It is time First Class should be in fully enclosed mini cabins like EK First. Out of sight and out of noise !
Ummm, hello, none of your damn business. This article is a metaphor for the problems in the world today, everyone too busy worrying what other people are doing or saying. Mind your own damn business and get on with your own life.
It’s interesting that after so many comments, I’m guessing from regular business travellers. Not one contributor stopped to consider what time zone, the other travellers body clocks may be on.
Not everyone flying from JFK to Europe will be on East Coast time. They could be on one leg of a multi segment trip, or the final slog home.
If being disturbed by others voices, asking for a little consideration after two hours is not a big deal.
As with many things, there is no clear-cut answer. I always try to be courteous to others and will try to solve my issue with noise or light pollution with earplugs or eyeshades first, before approaching the passengers or crew. But I also expect people to be courteous to others and not be loud and boisterous, especially in a premium cabin (not saying that you were).
With LH, first class was historically marketed as “sleeper class” since business class did not have lie-flats seats. So people would fly first to sleep on LH, and travel in business class if they needed to work or converse with someone (at least that’s how I was inducted by my father and grandfather into LH’s premium cabins) since these premium cabins exist not to have fun but to arrive in good working order. So it’d be reasonable to talk to others during meal services (dinner, breakfast) in first class, but not during the portion of the flight intended for sleeping.
But of course, this is made more difficult in situations where many go to sleep and only a few eat during regular meal time, as in your case. Although with this particular flight one could argue that you should avail yourself of the pre-flight dining & wining room above the LH SEN lounge and then use the time on board to sleep, given the very short flight time.
People who make requests like this seem to forget that you have also paid for your flight and have a right to enjoy it in a way that suits you, it’s all about them!
My more usual one is window shades on westbound day time flights. I will not close them because even on a sector like SIN-LHR I want to stay awake throughout and will, it’s the best way I have found to adjust over many years to the time change. I have had some abuse for it over the years but I will not change what I do, it’s what eye masks and ear plugs are for.
Wonder what type of cheese would go best with these “w (h)ines” ?
I’m a casual traveler (several times per year). I pack my preferred eyeshades, ear plugs, noise cancelling headphones, neck wrap, and breath mints.
It’s unreasonable to expect people to be quiet while dining with a companion from 4-6 p.m.
After dinner, the expectation of quiet is reasonable.
If this comment section represents a cross-section of what to expect in the First Class travel experience— please remind me to book economy next time.
It is not the an issue with either yourself or the flyer that complained. It is up to the airline to facilitate with an appropriate cabin environment and amenities for guests to both be able to sleep and to enjoy a meal in company. In addition it is not for the cabin personnel to ask you to be quiet rather to find a solution for both parties especially in first class. The guilty party is LH that does provide either it’s staff or guests adequately.
I think the whole thing started with the FA “inviting” the two to dine together. The ottoman does not double-up as a partner’s seat (and this is clearly stated somewhere, I went through my pictures, but I obviously didn’t consider that note important enough to photograph when I was on board) and for example my wife and I did not get that invitation, when we flew Frankfurt to Tokyo on that 6 p.m.-ish flight and had seats 1A and 2A, because 1K was booked by a quite “difficult” passenger, who had nothing but complaints for the crew for most of the flight (mostly because of the poor meal choices offered).
Bose ANC headphones were provided, so regardless of the ability to use earplugs, one can certainly make good use of the amenities provided to first class passengers and get that quiet environment. In all seriousness voices can’t be louder than the noise the plane is making (which by the way also can’t be considered “white noise” even at the lower levels in LH’s F at the very front of the 747-8, however: Hight-pitched sounds or voices can go through engine noise, sound dampening material and, critically, ANC headphones (an example would be a baby crying). So if @Matthew or buddy are high-pitched, then they get through. Does that make it OK to ask them to keep it down? Honestly, I have an opinion, but after reading all these comments here I’ll spare you the trouble of going through yet another one.
I’ll just say courtesy (I call it respect) goes both ways and I’ll also say it took me some time and an “incident” (thankfully not on a plane) to realize how loud I was conversing in an already loud enough (due to backround noise) environment (the obvious reason being, that we usually “measure” our own volume by what we hear through our own ears, however our voice is directed away from them, while backround noise is directed towards them).
Americans under the age of 50 generally have lousy situational awareness and are infested with self entitlement. Common sense and manners are out the window. A three hour meal demanding conversation is beyond boorish. I blame you and the FA that ‘sat you together’. Big fails all round. Not a greyhound bus.
As others have pointed out if they wanted to sleep that is what ear plugs are for. I would have handed the Flight attendant a pair of ear plugs and ask if they would give them to the passenger. The request was unreasonable. What would have happened if a baby started to scream, tell the parents to shut the kid up. I have been on enough long flights were a baby would scream from push back to getting off. Wonder what the passenger would have done. If you want no talking book a private jet or charter one, than you can have no talking.