Re: Editor Bob Hall’s October 19 column “The airline of arrogance.”
Having your own weekly column gives you a fine pulpit to rant from. However, I think you should take a few deep breaths and think things through before you use your column to vent your frustrations with life.
Your Saturday got off to a bad start because you didn’t allow enough extra time in your schedule for the little screw-ups that often occur when ferrying kids around. When you realized that one kid was going to be a half hour late, taking up all the extra time you allowed, leaving you with no wiggle room (for slow traffic, etc.), you chose to wait for the child. You should have known your generosity might be paid for by your mother-in-law. A difficult choice: Leave the child behind, or risk your mother-in-law missing her flight. Difficult as it may have been, it was a choice you had to make, and you did so. You should accept the repercussions of your decision — not try to download them onto Air Canada.
You arrived late for the flight — pure and simple. You had a story of extenuating circumstances. You can imagine all the stories the Air Canada staff have heard over the years; some true, some embellished, some totally fabricated. If the local staff was given some discretion to ignore the airline policy, it would soon become known, and then the staff would come under merciless pressure to make exceptions.
A lot of these strict policies came in after 9/11, and for good reason. Terrorists know that their best chance for getting past an inspection (or getting their suitcase past an inspection), is to set up a rushed situation. You may unknowingly owe your life to policies that say “We will not be rushed.” If they let a “sweet 68-year-old woman” on at 18 minutes, can they say no at 15 minutes? 12 minutes? What about a 68-year-old Muslim woman? A young Muslim man at 10 minutes? They thought about all this, and decided that 30 minutes was the deadline. How would you run airline security differently? Their decisions have a lot more riding on them than your decision Saturday morning to wait for kid.
“That day Air Canada had a choice: To make somebody’s day or ruin it.” Not so. They were just following a sensible policy, one that protects all airline passengers, at the expense of angering a few latecomers. That day Bob Hall had a choice: To ruin a kid’s day or risk ruining a sweet old lady’s day. To his credit, he tried to please everybody; but it just didn’t work out. C’est la vie.