I am not a good flyer. By that, I don’t mean that I have a fear of flying, the thought of whizzing through the air in small metal container with the potential to crash, explode or just disappear has never bothered me. Not because these aren’t genuinely serious things to worry about, but more because I’ve always assumed I’m more likely to get hit by a car than go down with a plane.
What makes me a bad traveller is that airports tend to make me really angry. I am not a patient person so the interminable hanging around that takes place both before and after the actual flying tends to set me on edge.
On Wednesday evening we arrived at the airport about an hour before the flight, plenty of time when you’ve no luggage to check in and the security process is usually pretty good. It was a bit annoying to discover that our flight had been delayed for 15/20 minutes but I had a good book to read, we hadn’t got to the airport super early so a little longer waiting to board wasn’t the worst scenario even though I was pretty tired after a hectic day.
A chap came round and asked to check our boarding passes with our passports whilst we sat in the waiting area, so that when we were finally able to board we wouldn’t have to show passports again and I thought that’s a smart move, I appreciated their trying to minimise further delays when the plane was finally ready.
Finally it was time to board and we accidentally pick the slowest of the two queues, soon I spotted why, but it was almost impossible to switch into the other queue at this point. The easyjet employee on the left was employing a scrupulous bag checking standard that the easyjet employee on the right wasn’t (or maybe there were less attention-worthy bags on that side).
Easyjet has a ridiculous policy where they insist that you can only have one bag regardless of any common sense application. Fair enough you can’t have a cabin bag and a massive tote filled to the brim with the kind of belongings you should have just checked in as hold luggage. I understand their taking issue with that. What gets my goat is that they won’t let you pass the boarding checkpoint, unless a small handbag is unceremoniously crammed into your larger cabin bag.
Normally I don’t say anything but I was tired, we’d already been waiting an additional 20 minutes because boarding was late, we got stuck in the slow moving queue of a thousand deaths and now I was being delayed further by this ridiculous policy.
I started off by asking why I had to do this, as I was only going to take my small bag out of my big bag as soon as I boarded the plane, which would delay passengers trying to board the plane? We were already late, why did they want to slow the process up even more?
Then I pointed out that the policy was discriminatory. I got the expected response of ‘we apply this to women and men equally’. I pointed out that it was discriminatory regardless of whether it was theoretically applied equally because it disproportionately affects women more than men. Women’s coats tend not to be like men’s coats, with secure zipped or inside pockets where you can safely stow your passport and other valuables you don’t want to trust to the overhead locker of some passenger fourteen rows ahead of you. I didn’t have to ask how many men she’d told to put their bags away, the five other women trying to stuff handbags into their carry-on immediately in front of me proved my point.
The easyjet employee responded well by agreeing that she didn’t understand the policy. Anyone who works in customer service or has ever had to deal with an angry person in the role of their job, knows that nothing is more effective at deflating a person’s righteous (or not as the case may be) rage by agreeing with them. However it does highlight the absurdity of the policy when even the staff don’t agree with it.
But when she asked what I expected her to do about it, I realised I was railing at the wrong person so I grumbled and moved past. I made an elaborate show (imagine theatrical arm gestures and extra loud huffing and puffing) of putting it in my bigger case.
I boarded the plane and, as anticipated, held a few people up as I had to stop in the aisle to set my cabin bag down to release my handbag before taking my seat. The rage within me continued to seethe.
I know that the woman checking us in was in no way responsible for the policy and she was just doing her job but I still don’t regret acting the way I did, although granted had I been less angry I might have looked a tad less ridiculous and embarrassed my fiancé a little less, at least I got to register my protest. And I know that I was not wrong in pointing out the unfairness of the policy.
Maybe what I said will stick with that employee or get some other passengers thinking. Maybe it won’t. But sometimes just asking the questions, calling into consideration something which you consider to be unjust can be enough to get the ball rolling. Or maybe I’m just a really angry traveller and should start taking the train instead.
17 thoughts on “Flying into a rage”
Sounds like something I would do 🙂 It never hurts to ask (one of my mottos in life). I’m sure you’re not the only one who has asked this and probably won’t be the last. One day, hopefully, they’ll hear it enough and bring it up the management chain and try to make a change.
Here’s hoping. I should probably formally raise my complaint with the company rather than individual staff but hopefully my ranting wasn’t completely wasted as part of wider murmurings of discontent
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You can always go online and email the company about your experience. That’s what I’ve been doing lately, every time I’m not satisfied with something or have a complaint. I did it on my microwave that crapped out last weekend!
That’s a good idea! Less effort than a letter so more likely to do it! Did you get any response about your dead microwave?
Exactly! I actually did get a response back on the microwave, we had a little exchange. Nothing changed, as we had already purchased another one and had no intention of buying that particular brand again but at least I let them know how I felt about the whole situation. Also left product reviews on several sites. We also got screwed over when trying to book a hotel room in Mexico and I left a review on Trip Advisor. If nothing else, I make my opinions/experiences known to the company and other consumers in the hopes that it will open some eyes.
That seems a good way to go. I guess emails wil be registered by the company but reviews on things like tripadvisor actually likely to be seen by a lot of peopleso can make a difference
My feelings exactly. Plus, it helps other people make an informed decision. I always read reviews on stuff before going/purchasing.
I should take the time to write reviews more, I rely on them a lot too. I finally emailed easyjet, I wonder how they will respond?
Hopefully you’ll find out. Keep me posted, I’m curious if they do write you something back.
Had a reply this morning that failed to address my concerns and simply restated the policy back to me. I know the policy, I want to know why the implement it! Still I replied to that message and completed the follow-up survey on effectiveness of customer service so we’ll see if they come back with anything else.
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Yeah, I’ve had that happen too. You’re like “no shit, Sherlock!. I want to know why!”. Hopefully you get a response back. Either way, you voiced your concerns and that’s all you can do.
It fueled my rage more than if they just hadn’t bothered replying!
That’s how I felt when I got a response back on my microwave. I wanted to punch them because they missed the point of my rant.
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You have to speak up as you did in hopes of correcting a policy that makes no sense. I love to travel but I hate the whole process of airports and flying. To top it off, I do have a fear of flying, but I do it anyway.
I love travelling too and flying is often cheapest and easiest way but airport time can be pretty stressful. I’m impressed that you don’t let your fear of flying stop you from the travelling you love 🙂
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When I still flew with easyjet I always made sure my handbag was shoved in my bigger bag before joining the queue. Same with taking off my coat before joining the security queue. Anything to speed things up.
Yeah I should probably just do that, knowing that 9/10 they’ll make me anyway. Sometimes I buy something from duty free just so I have a bag I can put it in (as duty free bag allowed where my handbag isn’t)