Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Airplane, Airplane, Sorry I'm late...

A St. Albert couple just recently were coming back from a Las Vegas vacation with their baby, and arrived at the gate between 2 minutes (as the airline reports) or 20 minutes (as the couple reports) time to check in, and were refused their flight! Ooh, How mean!

A Chinese man snuck on-board a flight wearing a face mask that made him look like an old white man,which apparently no-one noticed and now is claiming refugee status over here! Ooh, How unsafe!

So we're back to the age-old (stale as a day-old croissant) question; Security or liberty? Yes, yes, we deserve neither for even thinking the question, but Ben Franklin never had to deal with a man who was willing to pack his anus full of explosive just to bring down a Boeing, so perhaps he's not the best judge in this circumstance.

The fact of the matter is good security takes time; time to double-check, time to rethink, and time to pay attention. We will increasingly run into these types of situations where people are denied service because they are coming too close to "haphazard" service if we want to keep increasing security measures.

Personally, I was once on-board a flight that left three hours early, just in time to miss my connecting flight, and the time, stress, and panic it caused me makes me a little bit insensitive to people who's circumstances may cause them to delay the plane. Dear Reader may wonder what I expect people to do in circumstances like the St. Albert couple, and the truth is this; I don't care. I don't care what they do. Events fall into one of two categories: 1) Plan-able 2) unplan-able. If someone is late because of number 1, then forget them, they can take their consequences like an adult. If they're late because of number 2 (Har. Har. The couple was allegedly late because of a diaper explosion) then, well, emergencies happen, and sometimes we have to just throw our hands up and say, "Well, shit".

Further to this new story breaking comes the revelation that I may have to eschew the Edmonton Journal as a source of publication in addition to the Edmonton Sun. Their coverage of the story was heavily oriented towards portraying the business as "at fault" and the couple was blameless. It details that they were twenty minutes early for the flight (before the mishap), when Alaska Airlines clearly requires passengers to be available 40 minutes before boarding. The tone they use, especially in this paragraph,

 " Blais ran to the bathroom and yelled for his wife to hurry. Inside, Roberge scrambled to get Levi's diaper changed and clothes back on. But when she came out, it was too late. The agent had given away her seat."

clearly  implies we are to feel for the couple who was so heartlessly abandoned by the big, bad, airliner. I don't want my newspaper to editorialize unless I'm on the opinion page, which I don't read, because that's my job, shameless side-taking. Anyway, I feel for the couple, I do, but when they showed up late even before they had a "crisis", it shows lack of planning and forethought, not malice on the airliner's part. 
Their reaction to the incident, as well, is childish at best. They started a blog titled "Alaskan Airlines Hates Families", which is inaccurate. Alaskan Airlines hates late people, and treats families with the same guidelines it treats everyone else. Imagine the public response I would get if I was 40 minutes late, arriving at the gate right at the departure time because I had to fix my make-up. If I then proceeded to make a blog stating that the airline hated women, I'd be laughed off the Internet, which is a herculean feat given the garbage floating around in here. 
It seems, however, in the light of today's consumer outrage society, that raising a big argument about something is enough to be fully compensated. Alaskan Airlines has reimbursed them for $1000, which is more than I feel they deserve. I guess the squeaky wheel really does get the grease.

On the other hand, but in the same vein, we have the situation of the young Chinese man who slipped through security with a stolen passport and a bad Halloween mask. Many people are wondering why no one noticed, but the truth is; someone did but in our society of "non-accountability" she did what most people would likely do- she told the stewardess. She became upset because she told them three times and they didn't do anything. If she genuinely had suspicion that "he was going to blow the plane up" then she should have been raising a huge fuss. Decorum be damned, in my opinion. Obviously if she was wrong it would be embarrassing, but it would be more embarrassing is it to have to explain to your plane-mates at the pearly gates why you didn't want to be a nuisance. I'm not saying tackle the guy, just  make sure your concerns are being addressed. That is not too much to ask.

I  hate to sound like a broken record but where has our personal accountability gone?

No comments: