It’s not news that gone are the days when flying, being at an airport, was actually kind of fun. Security and loss of competition have ended that. But when exactly did the airline experience change from being merely unpleasant to actively evil?
Let start with the computer glitch that inconvenienced thousands of Air Canada travellers. Now, I’m sure Air Canada didn’t do this on purpose. But the way they handled is just so typical of the lack of caring with this airline. As just one case, the Globe and Mail’s Stephanie Nolan reports not being called out of the huge lineup (though other people were), and therefore missing her flight; receiving no apology for this; not being rebooked onto another flight (though the people behind her in line, at the counter beside her, were); boarding a plane and waiting an hour on the tarmac, only to be told to de-plane; and of Air Canada losing her luggage, though she never left the ground.
She finally flew, luggage-less, on West Jet.
But maybe that’s not evil. Maybe it’s just callous, bad customer service.
Well, how about acceleration the destruction of the planet? Airplane emissions are a considerable contributor to global warming. Some environmentalists feel we should basically stop flying altogether. It’s hard not to feel some guilt in boarding a plane, since you know that when planes aren’t full enough, flights are cancelled.
Or are they?
Last week it was reported that British Airways “has flown dozens of empty planes across the Atlantic Ocean in the past two weeks to avoid losing valuable runway slots at London’s airports.” London has a use it or lose policy, and they chose to use it. Isn’t that charming?
But one man who won’t have to face the upcoming global warming apocalypse is poor Robert Dziekanski, the Polish man who died after being tasered twice by RCMP officers at Vancouver Airport. Most of the attention has been directed to the actions of the RCMP in this cases, and the question of whether tasers should continue to be allowed. And it’s very appropriate to look into both of these—the incident truly puts Canada in a bad light.
But I think some attention should also be given to what led to Mr. Dziekanski being in such an agitated state, and that is the callousness or incompetence of airport staff. Mr Dziekanski, flying for the first time, out of of Poland for the first time, had been trying to reach his mother for 10 hours. His mother, who was indeed in a different part of the airport, had asked repeatedly for help in finding her son, only to be told he was not there. Meantime, apparently no one noticed or cared that this man had been wandering, lost, in the secure immigration area for such a long time.
Airline staff did not kill Mr. Dziekanski, but they certainly led him to slaughter.
“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.” — Helen Keller