Leavin' on a jet plane

Leavin on a jet plane

By Bikram Vohra

Published: Fri 23 Aug 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 23 Aug 2019, 2:00 AM

The moment we enter an airport, we seem to lose our marbles. A sort of panic sets in and much of it is linked to unexpressed, unrecognised, acrophobia, which is a fear of flying. It is also a handing over of our authority and safety to a stranger to whom we've not even been introduced.
We would never do that on earth. Nor would we make friends with someone who arbitrarily sits next to us in the waiting lounge or on the plane. Our nervousness manifests itself in leaving passports on counters, losing the boarding passes, asking 10-minute-old acquaintances to watch our luggage while we go to the loo (Are you crazy? They could put something in there).
The holiday season is upon us and we are up in the air a lot. So, be smart, not stupid. Here are tips you are not likely to take, but if you do, they could save you a lot of trouble.

Gifts wrapped in ignorance
Would you carry a small packet for someone? Sure, you would, especially if you know them. What if it contravenes rules? Are you innocent or guilty? Response: Innocent carriers may get sympathy but that won't take them very far. The fact is that innocence is difficult to prove. Examine the packet, never mind how the other party feels. Under the law, it is your property. Ask that it be opened before you leave for the airport. Don't be silly or worry about appearances. In a worst-case scenario, never volunteer to take along electronic items because someone is giving you a ticket on a massive concession. It could have contraband or cash hidden within and, if caught, there is no escape. The fact that someone is giving you a freebie indicates things are not above board.
Strangers are not friends
You are standing at Security when a VIP passenger or someone who knows the duty officer goes past without having his handbag checked. What should you do? Response: Most likely you will do nothing. But you should. The buddy-buddy relationship cannot compromise security. If the passenger's bypass troubles you, call attention to it. Those on duty are breaking the rules and, as a passenger, you are entitled to complete security measures. Also, don't so fully trust fellow passengers; they are not your buddies.
Schizoids on board
Your friend has a ticket in his name for an internal flight. No passports are required and you can easily go in his place. You do. If there is no incident in flight, well, you got away with it. But if there is, where do you stand? Response: By travelling under a false name, you have forfeited your rights to compensation. If you die in a crash, your next of kin get nothing. In fact, the odds are that you will be posthumously under investigation. The family will suffer grief and official harassment simultaneously. What if there is a minor accident? A bag from an overhead locker falls on your head and hurts you. Need medical attention? You don't exist. So, how can you be looked after, let alone compensated? You can be sued by the airline for impersonation. If you are not, then you're a security risk automatically.

Personal stuff
You are sitting in a plane. The person next to you has one of the following problems. A crying baby. Body odour. Is excessively inebriated. Is imposing on you. Has an ailment you find offensive, like a cold, sneezing, sniffling, some tic that is driving you crazy. Do you have to suffer him? Response: No. Inform the cabin crew. The annoyance factor may not be intended and, therefore, there is no need to hurt the person's feelings. The cabin crew will then invite you to another area. If there are no seats, a sensitive airline will get the captain's permission to move you to a higher class of travel. Once they are convinced, it'll be a very cussed crew member who won't lend a hand. Cabin crew are the worst sufferers of bad conduct and can understand someone else going through it.

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