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Travel Story of the Month April

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Travel Story of the Month April 2013

By Bex

The psychology of flying

I was spending a holiday in Crete.  It was Western Easter, 2012.  It was perfect, except the ferries decided to strike, so I had to return to Athens by plane.

Actually, it wasn't so unfortunate as I always manage to find something to write about, this time being no exception.

The first thing that struck me about Heraklion Airport in Crete was that it must have the friendliest security staff EVER! Example: upon scanning my trolley bag I was hoping to take as hand luggage, the security lady took one look at my liquids and "Uh huh'd" me. Instead of demanding I give up these nice shower gels, toothpaste and body lotion (like other airports I won't mention - probably for the staff to claim as their own at the end of the day), she places a hand on my arm and says:

"You have too many nice smelly things here over 100g. Why don't you just go back and check the bag in? Then come back to me here to go through again."

Off I trot - luckily, despite Crete being a large island the airport is still a small one and therefore it doesn't take me long to get to the check in desk. Being a small airport, you then have to trot off to have the bag scanned by a separate security lady. This one's a bit rough looking: well-built, smoker’s skin...but you should never judge a book by its cover. She's beaming at the little blonde boy who's hiding behind his dad's leg from her (kids and kittens - the two "K's" that melt even the hardest of hearts).

I return to the original security lady, there’s a small queue forming.  But in keeping with my lovely experience thus far, she sees me and waves me through again, ahead of the queue.

Now for the psychology: even in a small airport with less hustle and bustle, why, when the flight is announced, do people still scramble to be first on? I can understand if it's an easyjet or similar flight as they have no seat allocation, hence this reduces people to animalistic forays of
"This seat's MINE" - but as other airlines allocate seats, why not just wait?? Most of the time you can't reach your seat immediately due to the person blocking the aisle by taking their time settling down anyway.

Oh, and the same applies vis a vis – upon disembarking. The 'first on/first off' philosophy rules. Have you noticed the clicks of unleashed seat belts almost as soon as the plane's hit the tarmac? These people are oblivious to the screaming flight attendant: "Ladies and Gentlemen, will you PLEASE remain in your seats until the aircraft has come to a COMPLETE STANDSTILL."

Ahhh - the psychology of flying.




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