Who Can Blame Mad Airline Employees?

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comSeventy percent.

That’s the percentage of Americans who hate their jobs, according to several articles I read on the subject.

That’s pretty extraordinary, if you ask me. Can you imagine getting 70 percent of people to agree on anything beyond what day it is?

I think I know why the percentage of disgruntled workers is so high.

It’s skewed by the airline employees.

Around 10 million Americans work in the air travel industry. Every single one of them must be completely miserable, and I understand why.

Last week I flew for the first time in a few years.

The problems started at the ticket counter.

Even though I was first in line, I wasn’t first in the Priority line, which meant lots of people got to cut in front of me.

This included a woman carrying an infant buried under an avalanche of infant accessories — including a stroller the size of a Volkswagen Beetle — who was checking in for a flight which was leaving in 3 minutes. I got to stand there 10 minutes while the ticket person rebooked her on my flight, which left in 2 hours.

It wasn’t a great way to start the day, but I merely said “that’s okay” when the agent finally got around to me, because I’m sure she gets an earful from passengers all day long. I don’t know how she does it.

The security checkpoint line was fairly short, which was nice on the surface. But it doesn’t make up for the pain involved in making it into the terminal area.

I’ve been through the whole post-9/11 security screening thing several times, so I knew to expect the unexpected. The inconsistency from one airport’s security to another will always baffle me. I know it must baffle the TSA agents as well.

Flying out, I was forced to take my laptop out of its bag and put it in its own tub. Then I put the empty laptop bag in another tub, the contents of my pockets in yet another, and finally my shoes in a fourth.

And there went Barry’s little train of tubs under the X-ray machine.

On my return trip, there were no tubs to make a train. When I started taking my laptop out of the bag, the security guy screamed at me to leave it in there, and then he instructed me to empty my pockets and put my belongings into the bag with the laptop.

“But in Chattanooga —“

“Shut up!”

Okay, he didn’t really say shut up, but he had a shut-up look on his face.

Then I started taking off my shoes, and I can’t even describe the look on Agent Dale Carnegie’s face then.

Why can’t whoever heads up the TSA send out a memo standardizing things such as tubs or no tubs, and shoes on or shoes off?

At the gate, it’s always the same thing. Nobody knows what to do because the rigmarole of actually getting on the plane rarely works the same way twice.

I know the gate agents hate it when they call for the women with giant strollers to pre-board and 200 people jump in line like it’s ice cream time at Miss Mary’s Kindergarten.

It’s a wonder the flight attendants ever get the passengers crammed on the plane. And that’s why I have always felt the sorriest for them. 

Can you imagine saying, “Would you like peanuts, pretzels, cookies or a granola bar” 180 times, only to have to do at least another round or two based on the length of the flight?

Or, how would you like to carry a tray full of hot cups of coffee as the pilot slams into mid-air potholes at 600 mph while trying to remember the Yiddish word for Sweet’N Low?

I know they’re thankless jobs. But the thank yous might be a little more common if we at least knew whether or not we were supposed to wear shoes.

I’ll bet we could get 70 percent of passengers to agree on that. 

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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