I am second to Michael MacIntyre in this diatribe! Nevertheless, I feel that it is a rant worth having. In the last six months the number of flights I habitually take has ramped-up massively! As such I have been able to observe the peculiar characteristics of traveling individuals: the businessmen enraptured by their computers (one conjectures email but most probably games); the girls and guys trips, over-excited no matter what time of day, on the way out, and somewhat deflated on the way back; the traveller who is sleeping on their rucksack and invariably is wearing clothing too big for them with many ochre colours interwoven; women being very loud ‘good mothers’ to their children (never one child always two or three); old people, who are clearly unaware of the importance of moving faster when your time is running out; the most peculiar breed is the man, unaffiliated with any other category, who has decided that having a pint of Guinness at 5am is the most appropriate course of action. (You deduce I have been to Ireland recently)
However amidst all the hurrah of the drinking youths, the sleeping travellers, the dithering elderly and the busy businessmen, there is one constant! This is boarding. What continually baffles me is people’s rush to board the plane. In days gone past of the budget airline I did understand, because there are no booked seats, so you could secure a position at the front of the plan, thus get off the plane faster at the other end. Moreover, if you wanted to be sure you sat with your travelling partner, this was the only guarantee. The only airline for which this is still the case is Ryanair. EasyJet, AerLingus, Thompson, FlyBe etc… all allocate you a seat at check-in! It goes without saying that the likes of Delta, BA, Quantas etc. the big airlines do this! Nevertheless, irrespective of the airline, the moment the gate opens for boarding the queue starts! People actively run to get into this queue! When last I saw this I was on the phone and just ranted down at the lucky recipient! Those around me remained rooted to their seats (fear is a powerful thing).
But I am astounded that these sheep rush to queue! Their seat will not be taken, they are doing nothing but maximising their time on a large bus whose air is filled with bugs, where you have no room! My raison d’être when it comes to planes is spend as little time as possible on board. I wait until everyone has boarded the plane – I wait until they announce the gate is now closed before I trade my seat with copious leg room, usually wifi, and much less decease in the air before I subject myself to the the plane where I will have no choice by spend the next however many hours!
What lies behind this? Well I spent some time in Central America with about 80 British and 80 latinos. Outside waiting for dinner one evening I observed the two cultures: the latinos were in circles, dancing, singing, playing games – the British had formed an orderly queue and were no doubt discussing the weather!
Perhaps then it is cultural, it is not that people want to be on the plane, but as British, we crave the opportunity of getting in a queue for anything!