Author’s note: Post originally written Monday, July 2, 2007
I read an article in the Post-Dispatch today about two “suburban moms” taking their daughters through security at Lambert. They were in a hurry, but were stopped through security for a more extended search, causing the daughters to miss their flight. One of the women claims the extra search was a purposeful delay, because she had made two sarcastic comments to TSA agents. Of course, the TSA spokesperson says that all passengers are subject to search at any time, regardless of circumstances.
Here’s my question: what does making smart-aleck comments to the TSA folks accomplish? Okay, so you’re in a hurry and running out of patience. To me, this doesn’t give you a license to be rude to people doing their job. This is one thing that I had a lot of time to think about this weekend (see previous entry).* If I had a dollar for every person I heard being rude to airline employees, I could have hired a private jet to fly me back to St. Louis. Here is a sampling of the things I heard:
“The weather is not that bad! They can fly!”
(I’m fairly certain that the airline does not cancel and delay flights for shits and giggles. I’m also fairly certain that cancelling and delaying flights costs the airline $$$$, and would probably be avoided if at all possible. I am also also fairly certain that the person making this statement was not a member of the American Meteorlogical Association, or even a aircraft pilot. Let’s leave those calls to the experts, k? Better delayed than dead, right?)
“I am never flying this airline again!”
(Statistically, the chances of this sort of massive delay happening to you again is probably small. If the chances were high, the airline in question would probably not be operational).
“Look at this line! This is riduculous!”
(When the ratio of agent:irritated customer is 1:40, yes, the line will go slowly. Particularly when every single irritated customer demands that the agent investigate every single possible solution to their problem right there and give them answers right this second).
Going back to the P-D article, I just don’t see the point in being rude. How would you like having the job of the ticket agent? NO THANK YOU. Dealing with a zillion angry, almost hysterical people, asking you the same questions over and over and over again, and yelling at you as if you personally cancelled and delayed their flights–just for your own sadistic pleasure? Does this make sense?
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be angry, or frustrated, or upset, or whatever. I’m just saying that being mad doesn’t give one an excuse to forgo thinking before speaking
A friend recently had one of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad Airline Experiences, and to him I say this: That sucks, dude. It really does. But the more you travel, the more this is going to happen. That doesn’t make the situation any better, I know, but for now: go home, take a nice hot shower and get a good night’s sleep in your own bed. Maybe even throw in a little prayer for good measure: “Thank God I don’t work for an airline or am required to travel every single week. Amen.”
I’ll end with one of the best things I’ve ever read:
“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” (Robert Frost).
*I had had a Bad Airline Experience (BAE) the previous week. More on that later, maybe.