I reflected on people when I ventured to Seattle a few days ago, but nos on my return trip I’d like to discuss something different. While I love the stories of the people I see at airports, I wanted to reflect on some observations I’ve made about practices, which make me questions some of the values of our society.
When I first checked in on my way to Seattle I noticed a few things.
- The not surprising lack of human faces as check in occurred through technology. Today, this was even worse because one man worked the entire American Airline counter, and of course he was stationed at first class.
- The $45 upgrade offer that made me wonder how much a first class ticket would have cost in the first place. I’m always tempted to take those offers, but I didn’t this time.
- The ridiculous fact that both times I’ve gotten boarding group three with an offer to upgrade to an earlier boarding group for $9.00. Of course, as I observed last time. Nobody is in boarding group 1, so it is all a scam to make more money. Don’t do it, because group 2 is really 1 and so on.
Then we move onto security:
- Empty lanes open only for first class or premiere passengers, which means workers sitting around doing little while the regular folk wait in long lines.
- The repetitive video trying to convince everyone that the full body scan is non-invasive and somehow protects our privacy. Yeah, I buy that. I mean, just because my face may be obscured, nobody is going to recognize the voluptuous curves of a 5 ft. tall women with breasts that compete with Dolly Parton.
- The woman in front of me getting her coffee confiscated. Seriously, you know the coffee is going to be drunk before she gets on the plane. But, that would of course mar the business of the Starbucks prominently located just after you get through security.
- A woman after me having her unopened and forgotten water bottle pulled out of her carry-on bags. It made me wonder what they do with the confiscated bottles–add to the waste by throwing them away, scan them, or simply drink them with a subtle laugh for the free water that they get from these naive travelers.
Call me cynical, but so many of these security measures express a disturbing facet of our society–the fact that the world functions on greed and distrust, and subtle manipulation in the name of control.
Does this make anyone else sad?
On a positive note, at least Seattle Airport has free internet access. Dallas and Tulsa don’t.