Inefficiency By Tradition

If everyone follows their own rules, it might become a bit chaotic.

If everyone follows their own rules, it might become a bit chaotic.

Depending on one’s mood, different daily occurrences may have different-leveled effects on us. Yes, I am talking about how pissed off we get when other people around us do stupid things. Sleep deprivation or hunger usually have a reinforcing effect on our reaction to annoyances. A disoriented person wandering in our way and slowing us down might be really upsetting on some days, while on other days we just feel sorry for them. What is annoying in any kind of situation, however, is inefficiency, I claim.

The best proof of this is traveling by plane. So many people do it so many times, and no one ever learns from it or changes anything. Neither do the travelers change their behavior, nor would the airlines act accordingly, and like that, getting on and off an airplane becomes the most annoying thing ever, always!

Have you ever sat back and observed what happens when the service workers are about to open the boarding desk? There are two groups of extremists: Those who jump towards the desk with their ticket ready, in order to be the first ones to get on the plane, and those who keep on sitting in the waiting area until the doors are almost closed. Having belonged to the latter group until recently, I can tell you, none of these ways is the right one. Because even though you don’t have to stand in line at the boarding desk, you for sure stand in line in the gateway and right in front of the plane (where, by the way, it is freaking cold in winter). Meanwhile, all the slow people in front of you try to find their seaID-10095437t, squeeze their overweight luggage into the overhead bins (I pray every time that we won’t get killed by those in case of emergency), rearrange their clothes and luggages because they have forgotten something – and all this happens while you and your fellow late-enterers more or less patiently wait for them to place their butts on their seats and free the aisle for you to pass them.

Oddly, while all this is happening, business-class-travelers who booked the very first seats on the plane provide a silent audience, sitting there and staring at you. Only God knows (because I doubt they know it themselves) why they had to be the first ones on the plane – maybe to do exactly that, stare at you with judgmental glances, meaning for you to hurry up (while in fact you can’t). While they feel right to be disapproving, they did exactly what keeps the next ones from getting on the plane now – they rushed on the machine, only to stuff the very first rows already with their presence, hindering people from moving on. This is inefficiency out of a textbook! Presented by people who should be efficient by definition – flying business class and all.

The probably with helpful intentions introduced, but very half-heartedly executed attempts by airlines to get the passengers from the last rows on the plane first, or then through a different path (what, we should go outside, downstairs, and to the back of the plane, and then upstairs again??), are typically ignored on purpose or accidentally overlooked. As usual, everyone puts themselves first, so if they can get on the plane already, why would they take an extra effort to increase efficiency and maybe ease someone else’s journey? No no, this is not how we humans work. Thinking from our nose until our toes, and then complaining about everything beyond that, is way easier and much more fun, right?

"You wanna get to the luggage belt? Try!"

“You wanna get to the luggage belt? Try!”

If you made it successfully on and even off a plane (without having pushy co-passengers succeeded in wanting you to dissolve as you are in the way either on your seat, or then in the aisle when getting off not quickly enough), the next challenge is getting your luggage off the belt past the impenetrable wall of people observing the belt from right in front of it to be real fast when the luggage comes along. They don’t even make space for you when you drag your 50-kilos-closet through the crowd. Because if they did, they might miss the point when their own luggage comes out of the little surprise-hole, and who would observe it then until it’s right in front of their nose? Exactly, maybe someone else!

Describing every bit of inefficiency on planes would bend the scope and tire my readers’ eyes, so I’ll stick to this short excursion – again with no solution left. It might be way too late to try to educate the usually between 20 and 70 year old concerned travelers, so just try to stay calm and do the usual: feel sorry for them. And watch out for Germans, cause they are, besides being surprisingly inefficient on planes, also very, very aggressive.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, Stuart Miles and Ambro at
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