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  • Writer's pictureaymexume

Of Airlines and airports—and everything in between

This is my first official rant here. Please bear with me…

What started it: I recently found out that it would cost me more to visit a friend in Minnesota (2 return tickets) than to meet up with him in Paris. This was the (proverbial) straw that broke the camel’s back. The ultimate tchuips moment. (I’ve explained the tchuips before, but if you need a reminder…)

I have questions.

Why is transportation (air and land) so expensive in North America? Can Ryan Air come here and save us all? Is there a similar company around here just like them that I don’t know about? (Seriously, if you know, share the wisdom!) Don’t people travel to Minnesota? Is the demand to go there that low? Is flying from Ottawa such an oddity? I really don’t understand!

And while we’re here, what’s up with:

Airports with inexistent/bad/slow/paying Wi-Fi

FLL, I’m looking at you!

In this day and age, it is unacceptable for an international airport not to have a decent Wi-Fi connexion. And by decent I mean: allow a photo to upload/download in a timely fashion and allow folks to stream Netflix. That is all! Am I asking for too much?

And, yes, I want it to be free. (Yep. This is the same girl who says that nothing in this world is for free. Hear me out.) Our airfare includes taxes, which I believe go to the airport. We pay an excessive amount of money for food and other miscellaneous stuff we buy there. In my opinion, all these extra dollars should go towards a decent Wi-Fi service.

Have you ever spent 4 hours in an airport and not have access to free Wi-Fi? You’re caught between a rock and a hard place: pay for roaming or be bored. I’m lucky enough to always travel with a book or two, and I happen to love people watching. But that one time I finished my books too quickly and the airport was quasi-deserted—I won’t name names—did it for me!

Shout out to PAP! The connexion there was excellent. I’ve already said so on Facebook. And, because Haitians have no chill, a friend quickly clapped back that this was the only location where that company’s signal was good. *slowly shaking my head*

Airlines, their fees and their horrible service

Now, can I whine about the cost of airfare to Haiti? People are always quick to mention that Haiti is the “poorest nation in the hemisphere”. Airlines should know this! Now, why would they charge the “poorest” more? I’m not a proponent of conspiracy theories, but…

I think the lack of competition is the root of the problem. Someone once mentioned that the airport taxes in PauP were higher than others in the region. I haven’t verified the veracity of this claim. I’m in dire need of an explanation here.

The truth remains that there’s nothing logical about a flight to China being cheaper than the one to Haiti—with the same departure city. The cost of fuel alone should make a difference.

Talking about airlines... Why do they charge for luggage? Seriously! I’ve never received an incentive for traveling light. People traveling sans luggage should receive a voucher of some sort or some air miles/points. #IJS Furthermore, what do airlines do with all that empty space in the plane? Does a lighter plane use less gas? I’m sincerely looking to understand here.

And they charge for food! Folks, this right here is unacceptable to me. So, you’re going to offer me pretzels or cookies and a pop for during a 3-hour flight? That’s just wrong. That’s why I stack up on snacks at the airport (or bring them from home!). I still take the pop (and the pretzels!), they are “free”.

And then there was this… (Still digesting this.)

I’m old enough to have known better service. Back in the days, when you were traveling from PauP to NYC, you got a snack (peanuts and a pop) AND a meal. I used to live for airplane food. You can imagine my disappointment when I found out that there would be no meal. And they used stainless steel cutlery. If you were a kid, they’d offer you a toy or drawing supplies. Ah the good old days!

As prices went up, service went down. And that service is sometimes horrible.

And by horrible service I mean airline employees gone rogue

If you’ve ever flown to PauP, you’ve been frustrated by the other passenger. I mean, let’s be real, my brethren don’t listen, they don’t pay attention to instruction and, God bless them, they are always moving about the plane. I imagine that airline employees will get frustrated as well. They are human. But folks, nothing justifies the level of rudeness I’ve witnessed.

They are rude to people who don’t even deserve to be scolded. They go off on folks asking a simple question. I’ve been on the receiving end of their wrath. I was once the last person to board the plane in Miami (destination PauP). The agent at the counter got on the plane right after me. She said something like: Ma’am… Ugh! Why aren’t you seated yet?! Me: *pause, exhale loudly, turn* Did you not notice that I was the last one to board the plane? Can I get half a minute to stow my bag? Ma’am, you really need to rethink your approach… Another Haitian lady came to my rescue (not that I needed to be rescued) and pointed out that this woman was rude for no reason.

And it’s not a Haiti-specific issue. I once witnessed an airline employee in Germany who snapped at a customer. The lady only spoke French; the employee didn’t speak that language. I offered my services (he spoke English) and reminded him to be patient with people.

Are nice airline employees too much to ask?

There are still some pretty awesome airline employees out there. Shout out to that amazing stewardess on my flight from PAP to FLL in December. What a beautiful soul! The woman punctuated each sentence with either “I love you” or “We love you”. She smiled at every one. And if your gaze met hers, she’d ask you if you needed anything or paid you a compliment. In case you’re wondering, I was traveling coach!

Rant over.

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