As my flight from Omaha to Dallas was making its scheduled brief stop in St. Louis, the pilot informed us that we would be picking up some stranded travelers in Tulsa. What? Just a little hop from St. Louis to Tulsa, so we might be delayed arriving in Dallas by an hour. Southwest had run out of planes due to mechanical problems somewhere along the line earlier in the day. So we were the rescue flight. Not really convenient, but more time to read my book, All Quiet On the Western Front. The classic war novel is a selection of the Dallas Morning News Points Summer Book Club.
The St. Louis passengers were informed as they boarded, and told to rearrange their ground travel plans for the delayed arrival in Dallas. They walked down the aisle grousing loudly into their cellphones. Many of the passengers acted darn ugly to the flight attendants, assuming that the extra flight crew that had boarded "just needed a ride home."
When we landed in Tulsa the pilot announced that we should remain seated so passengers could deplane, and others could quickly board. As the dozen people stood up to get off, after what had probably been a rotten day sitting in the St. Louis terminal unable to get home to Tulsa, some of the Dallas-bound passengers started shouting things like, "So you're the ones who caused this mess!" One young mother looked like she had been slapped in the face. She quickly took her daughter up the aisle and out of the hostile environment. Other passengers made loud, obnoxious comments to the stranded passengers who boarded in Tulsa like it was their choice and their fault.
Airlines treat passengers poorly. No question there. Passengers needn't treat each other or the flight crew with such mean venum. What is this? Lord of the Flies??
© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder