People and queues

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October 6th 2010
Published: October 11th 2010
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People - can't explain 'em!

Hi All

As a finale to my blog I would like to ask a simple question. Well actually it is a question with a long lead in and probably has no answer but I'll ask it anyway.

Consider this. Most people nowadays have flown on a plane and are aware of what a horrible experience it is. You are jammed into a long aluminium tube where normal human personal space rules are eliminated for abnormally long periods of time. You are asked to sit upright with sharp metal or plastic bits poking into you and are expected to sleep or at least not stand, wriggle or squirm and disturb the equally uncomfortable people around you. You are also required to do this while your body clock is as out of whack as the cook who provides your 'food' and therefore your next bodily function is unpredictable and a little bit scary given all of the above.

Yes I know all of this is unavoidable given economies of scale and power per person ratios and 'at least you get there cheap' but that is not my question.

Airports are large places with lots of restaurants and beer and toilets and hard seats. They are certainly not the most elegant of places but they are functional. You can sit, stand, walk, drink, eat or even slide on your belly on the shiny floors if you so wish. They are hugely better than any aircraft seat.

I sat with my companions drinking beer and watching our departure gate in Madrid and saw a scene unfold as it does everytime I board a plane. Let's say the advertised boarding time is 3.30. At 3.15ish people began queuing at the boarding gate. Soon there was a line about 50m long of people waiting to jam themselves into the aforementioned aluminium cylinder and trying to make sure that they got there early! Now this is strange behaviour to say the least given that it is certain that the plane will not off until everyone is on board so the order of how you get on is irrelevant.

In Madrid this time it was even more bizarre. It was announced that there would be a 35 minute delay for boarding. Now you would think that normal people would groan, walk away and go and have a beer, coke, pee or slide along the floor on their belly. No! The people in the queue groaned and then sat down on the shiny floor to make themselves more comfortable but also to make sure they did not lose their place in the queue. We, on the other hand, ordered another beer and went for a slide and Donna went and bought another friggin pair of shoes she just happened to see.

So my question, which is now probably obvious, is 'Why do these people queue to get onto a plane early so that they can sit there longer?'

Why don't they wait like I do until the nice lady on the microphone finally says 'Rod, put your beer down and get up and come over here and get on the plane for Chrissakes!"

Any ideas?

Anyway, herein lies the log of the 2010 Iberian experience. I hope you enjoyed. We had a ball. Now we sleep in KL for 3 days. See you on Sunday.


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