Blaise Tapp: Passenger peevishness is at a peak right now

One of the things that millions of us have missed during the Covid years is the ability to travel wherever and whenever we pleased.

By Jane Chippindale
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 4:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 4:25 pm

Blaise Tapp writes: As much as I have enjoyed exploring even more of what our country has to offer there’s only so many cream teas and pasties that one man can consume, and then there’s the fact that I’d missed the buzz of travelling further afield and, in particular, the unique excitement of air travel – or so I thought.

Last week I ventured to an airport for the first time in three years and was instantly reminded of the reality of travelling anywhere by air during the school holidays.

Put frankly, it’s a place and time of year that brings out the very worst in people… myself included.

Airport queuing brings out the worst in people (Adobe)

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    I’d forgotten that busy airports are the closest thing most of us get to being cooped up inside the monkey house at the zoo, especially first thing in the morning, which is precisely the time of day that we attempted to leave. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    As helpful and professional as the many airport workers we encountered were, it’s hard to escape the fact that there is nobody more self-centred than a British tourist on a mission to get to their destination.

    Our World famous commitment to queuing goes out of the window the minute that many of us get a sniff of duty free or the opportunity to bag that rarest of luxuries, a spare seat in the departure lounge.

    Suspicious glances, combined with the sharpest of elbows, make for an uncomfortable atmosphere, especially when large crowds shuffle en masse towards the understaffed security scanners.

    Having not stepped foot in such a place for three years, I was woefully out of practice and I forgot golden rules such as removing my belt before stepping into the chamber, which looks like the sort of shower you’d see on Grand Designs. Then there were the boarding cards, which I insisted on packing away in my rucksack on the two occasions I was asked to show them.

    This didn’t endear me to some of my fellow travellers, who were clearly of the belief that if it wasn’t for me then they might stand a chance of getting to their all-inclusive resort that bit more quickly.

    This impatience is almost understandable before people get airside, because, before then, there’s always the fear that you might miss your flight but what is less clear is why people continue to behave badly when they are queuing up for an overpriced panini or a £7 latte.

    Of course, passenger peevishness is at a peak right now because of the well-documented recent chaos at most of our airports, which is being blamed on the lack of staff.

    Both our outbound and inward flights were delayed by an hour and a half, which was partly put down to there not being enough ground staff to put luggage into the hold.

    The fact that we were making the rather straightforward journey to and from the rainy Isle of Man didn’t deter some of our fellow passengers from attempting to get on and off the plane in record quick time.

    It’s perhaps easier said than done but overcoming our current travel crisis would be that much easier if we were that bit nicer to each other.

    After a weekend of delays and dealing with obnoxious travellers, the prospect of driving to my next holiday seems that bit more appealing.

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