People make it

I’ve been travelling a lot this week, twice requiring three flights in one day, the prospect of which didn’t inspire me. The excitement I once felt at flying has evaporated over the years and, with the advent of mega security and budget airlines, it is now usually a chore. Sat here waiting for plane number six I have to admit that, so far, the experience has been rather more pleasant than usual and the reason for that has been people.

It’s not been totally perfect you understand, the lady at Copenhagen’s gate C18 has just made everyone sat in the departure area get up, go out and queue up to come back in again, so that she can check our tickets, when her own arrival ten minutes earlier would have saved nearly everyone the upheaval. But then she redeemed herself by opening up an adjacent empty area so that more people could sit down.

For some reason everyone has been cheerful and friendly, even the slightly baffled lady at the Lufthansa desk when I walked up and presented my tickets for a KLM flight.

My favourite was the smiling steward on an SAS flight from Stockholm running 15 minutes late because of a delayed incoming aircraft. After the final passenger had boarded he held up a book left behind on the previous flight saying, “It’s called ‘Death solves all problems’ I don’t agree.” After apologising for the lateness he said he’d given the captain two cups of coffee so that he would fly faster.

Later, as we neared Copenhagen he announced, “The good news is that nobody will miss their connection” before reading out a list of all the departure gates for connecting planes, which helped a lot of passengers feel less stressed.

I’ve just had a big smile and a cheery “You’re welcome” from the air hostess. That’s six out of six.

Plane or bus – people make a big difference (and so does giving passengers the information they need).

Stuart Jones



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