Dann After Dark – More on Air Travel, November 2022

Photo by Sheila on Pexels.com

Everyone is tired. Especially front-line staff at airports. It’s easy to see and easy to understand.

What I am understanding less is the arrogance of people who make the choice to be disrespectful to staff in situations that may or may not be the fault of the airlines. I’ve observed people to be mostly positive. They make the best of it if they can.

I’m going to mention Westjet Airlines here because I fly with them more than other carriers. They have been in the news lately due to a myriad of problems that appear to be mounting. I do not believe for a second that front-line staff to blame. The problems lie within the upper-levels of management. I concede they have had to make difficult decisions given the pandemic effect on travel. All carriers did. Some like Porter were shut completely for a period of time.

I remember a few people sharing stories of when founding Westjet shareholder Clive Beddoe would be on a flight, that he would introduce himself to passengers and often help with food and beverage service. Employees were happy to be at work, they were encouraged to share their sense of humour and bring some life to the flying experience. Observers are now wondering where that spark has gone. Airline staff have had to deal with increasing toxicity from the flying public that feels a sense of entitlement when things are not within their control. I’ve been told in confidence that a domino effect has happened and the culture has really changed. Not for the better.

Twice within the last year, I was faced with delays due to mechanical issues with Westjet. Not only were staff helpful, I found they were steps ahead of me in the process of arranging alternate flights and accommodations when connections were missed. I count myself fortunate.

The pandemic has taught me to try and be kinder to people overall. Especially when travelling. If I have a complaint, I’ve found diplomacy and tact to be beneficial.

More people need to change their attitudes on air travel. First, not everything you bring is a carry-on. It just isn’t. Stop trying to convince airline staff otherwise. Second, if your flight is delayed for maintenance or weather, be grateful that someone you don’t know actually cares about your safety when travelling.

Finally, being an idiot can and will prove costly. One wrong badly-time word and you might lose the ability to even appear in an airport.

Rightfully so.


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