I don’t fly often. Maybe twice a year on average. Anyway, on my recent trip to London, i discovered a few new and old hates.
1. Queue’s at gate to board plane
You’ll always get some eejit who decides to start queuing at the departure gate for a flight that is due to depart in about an hours time. Even if their plane hasn’t even arrived in yet! Most airlines these days operate an open seat policy, so it’s first come first served when it comes to choosing seats. If you’re with a group, you want to sit together so it’s important you’re not last in the queue. Other passengers then see this guy standing in the queue and start to get nervous and keep an eye on the queue – if it starts to get bigger, they’ve not choice but to join, otherwise they face not sitting together and point no.2… it all just snowballs from that first person who starts to queue.
2. Isle Hoggers
photo credit: f_dude
The first people on the plane are the one’s that cause the delays. These are the guys who’ll sit in the front or back rows and stand in the middle of the isle, putting their luggage and jumpers and whatever they can find in to the overhead lockers. You’re allowed to put bags and stuff underneath the seat in front of you. It’s quicker, it stops you getting up during the flight and allows everyone to get on the plane faster when boarding as there are no isle hoggers.
3. Race to exit
As soon as a plane lands, you can hear people unbuckling, fidgeting around and eager to get off the plane first. Some will stand up before the plane stops, only to be told to sit back down by staff who see this on every flight. There will be an influx of ‘beep beeps’ – the sound of phones which are switched on, on loud, and using default message alert tones… most likely nokia phones (if you’re in Ireland or UK) – these do not mean people are popular, it means they’re getting ‘welcome’ messages to new/partner networks. I never understand why, if a plane arrives on time, why people are in such a huge rush to get off. It’s not as if they’re gonna go anywhere as they’ll grind to a halt at security / passport control.
4. Over the top security
Remove shoes, remove laptops from their cases, all liquids in tiny plastic bags, no belts, no metal watches, remove children from buggies, fold buggies up… it’s all overkill and could easily be done away with with proper technology in place. Biometrics, X ray, human tracking devices which scan for unusual behavior (a.k.a emotion detectors), advance passenger information…
All used to some extent already but not properly and widely. Flying should not be a chore and at the minute it is. For short haul flights, it’s a real pain. Flying should be easy and just like grabbing a taxi. The threat of terrorism will always be there and it will always happen no matter how tight security is or no matter how smart we think we are. Individual screening and human to human contact / judgement should always take place, but it shouldn’t be intimidating or hassle for the passenger. That’s not going to put a terrorist off.
Security doesn’t mean having more security staff on site (unless intelligence suggests there’s an army of terrorists coming through the airport)… it means getting smarter and thinking like terrorists… why not allow average joes to submit terrorism ideas or loopholes they find in security – obviously not publicly but privately.
5. Where is the free wi-fi?
Although both of my hotels were first class, i’m not going to let hilton away with my seal of approval when they’re charging for wi-fi. Â£15 per 24 hours if you wouldn’t mind. It’s a complete rip off and they should be following radisson’s model of free internet access / wi-fi for all paying hotel guests. All airplanes should also have free wi-fi on board and it should be available FREE OF CHARGE in airports too.
Ultimately, it will put more money in their pockets. I’d probably travel more myself if it was less hassle and i knew i’d have internet access everywhere i go.