Don’t Be a Dick (please)

Aug 8, 2023

Travelling, in general, is essential to properly understand ourselves and those with whom we cohabitate this planet.

Travelling also brings out the very worst elements of humanity.

Last week, on my way to YQB (Quebec City) I hit 1,000,000 miles flown with Air Canada. While AC may not be your favourite airline-I love them. Like the love you feel for another person, I know that AC isn’t perfect but I accept the good with the bad. I expected there to be a parade, band and other accoutrements upon arrival but I landed without any fanfare whatsoever.

My routing was from YEG-YYC, then direct to YQB on Rouge.  If you’ve not flown under the Rouge brand, think of it as tier 2 AC IE: older planes but with less experienced flight crews.

In the Maple Leaf Lounge in Calgary, we witnessed a woman remove her shoes and socks, then put her nasty-assed feet on the table that other guests will use to eat their food.  She was also walking around the lounge in her bare feet. Absolutely nasty!

Because of my status, I am frequently upgraded; my YYC-YQL leg was no exception.  Business class is great and all but only when you have service to match-otherwise it’s just a bigger seat.  Unfortunately, we had sub-par service.

Our flight attendant took our meal/drink orders when we were still on the ground. He didn’t reappear for almost an hour and a half after take off. Generally we’ll see the beverage cart rolling about 30 min in the air, so this was disappointing. Our food arrived and we did not see the flight attendant again for the entirety of the flight. In fact, we had to go up to the galley to request drinks-namely a small bottle of champagne to celebrate this monumental occasion.  One walk through the cabin for service and the rest of the flight was spent on his iPad watching a movie. All in all, not the end of the world but still not what I’ve come to expect from AC or their staff.

Picking up the rental car is also usually a fairly straightforward process but for some reason the rental car counter at YQB was in total disarray. There was one person in front of me and somehow National was unable to get him his car even with 2 agents working.  Once I got to the counter my rental was processed in about 2 min…..I’m never sure why so many people make things so f’n complicated.

On our return flight from YQB to YYZ, an on-plane altercation that was verbal almost became physical (no, I wasn’t involved).  I spend a lot of my time observing people and determining personalities. When we were in the departures lounge I noticed a couple that I could immediately tell were assholes. They were very demanding and cut past the line of people patiently waiting to speak to the gate agent (apparently they were more important than anyone else).

They were almost last to board and saw that the overhead bins were full. Of course, their bags were far too large to fit under the seat in front. This is where things start to go sideways-they believed that they were entitled to “their” bin space over their seats. They didn’t seem to understand that bin space is “First come, First served”. They then proceeded to remove the luggage from the bins setting it randomly on the floor. The male of the couple even stated to the owner of said luggage “This is the bin above MY seat and this is MY space” as if this asshole had any understanding of how things work on an airplane. It got heated enough that people started pulling out their phones hoping to capture another viral moment on an airplane.

This is what can happen when things get out of control:

It doesn’t help that airlines, in general, do not enforce the rules that they create IE: the numbers and sizes of bags that are allowed. My opinion is that if airlines allowed checked bags for free but charged for carry-ons the boarding process would be cut in half and there’d be ample space for everyone.  Teaching passengers that as long as they get their bag to the plane it will be checked at no charge sets a precarious precedent.

The asshole couple kept making wild claims but mostly what I heard was “blah blah blah”. Their bravado was quickly tempered by the AC flight attendant who quickly and directly informed them that they have no claim to the overhead bins above their seats. He then gave them 2 choices: check their bags to their destination or they could deplane and wait for the next flight with availability. They chose the former. Their actions wasted about 5 minutes of boarding time plus caused a lot of stress for everyone within earshot.

Such behaviour is thoughtless, selfish and just plain rude.

To date, I believe that I’m the only person in Edmonton radio history to use the following expression in a commercial but it’s as true now as it was back then: Don’t Be a Dick!

Colin Livingston

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