Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Different cultures at the gate
We just returned from Scotland and flying back from one country to another it became evident how different cultures view activities. At the Glasgow airport we arrived at the gate and there were 10 gate agents there checking tickets, directing people to where they needed to go, or just pacing back and forth. It was a bit comical and from my perspective some of the positions were a bit redundant. Then when we arrived at Newark airport we were waiting for another plane. There was not a gate agent in sight for any of a dozen gates. One of the gates had three flights delayed and filled with frustrated and angry people. The lone agent that tried to work the gate finally was so overwhelmed, underequipped and kept out of any tools to actually help the situation that it was simply tragic. It was my experience that the anger came from the lack of honesty in the way we were treated. The airline knew that the flight was going to be at least an hour late, yet would never post such information. In the United Kingdom people were seen as passengers and treated very well, probably too nicely and with too many people caring for them. In the United States efficiency was what was most important and people were called customers and seen as a problem. Employing people was obviously something that was to be avoided at all costs in order to save money. Part of the problem is that people want to fly as cheaply as possible, another side of this is that stockholders have overridden any integrity of the product for immediate gain.