Come fly with me PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 September 2012 13:48

I have been taking a lot of plane trips  this year and these trips have been both domestic  and regional ones. This doesn’t happen every year but this year turned out to be different.  The domestic trips  have been on the three most active airlines  of the country while the regional flights have been on carriers of neighboring countries.  There are expectedly differences in services , both before we board the planes and while in flight.

While waiting in Terminal 3 for a regional  flight I and my travelling companions noticed a strong smell of cigarettes in the pre-dep  area. Looking around I did not notice anyone smoking and then it dawned on us that the smell was coming from the “smoking area” just nearby. Every time  someone entered or left the smoking area the door would open and let out cigarette smoke to the non-smoking area.  And there was enough smoke that came out so that the smell of cigarette was most discernable where we sat. I talked to the person who seemed to be in charge of the pre-dep area and from him I learned that other passengers had complained earlier but the terminal management was slow to act on the problem.

Punctuality  is another  difference. To depart later than the stated time is not good but so is departing ahead of the schedule. One airline has gained   a reputation  for always being late that it’s corporate nickname has been equated with lateness. A budget airline   seems to take pride in arriving way ahead of schedule , principally because it leaves ahead of schedule. But arriving very early is not really something to cheer about as those who are to be met at the airport will  have a longer wait.

A much more striking difference that I have noticed between our flag carrier and the other regional carriers  is what the in-flight announcements include.  I always cringe a bit when the reminder comes through that “taking out life vests and other  safety  items” is prohibited by law and is a criminal offense”. Or something like that.  I have flown in  other carriers but I do not recall that this announcement is ever made. Is the fact that this reminder about not taking life vests is made in the Philippine carrier which is normally patronized by Filipinos indicative of our country men’s propensity to take what is not theirs?  If it is then that is rather embarrassing. And to think that generally people who fly are those who have more in terms of material things – money for instance , which can be used if you want to own a life vest.

I believe that this is not a case of not having enough. Very likely it has more to do with a low respect for the rights of others over their own possessions. Or are many of us simply immature? Children  very often take the toys of other children because  they still have not yet developed a sense of  ownership, -theirs and that of others- and what this means . Is this something that we still have to drill into our own people even when they are already adults? -- REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO