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Monday, March 03, 2008

Discrimination? I think NOT!

I hit one of those funny buttons on the top of my browser by mistake and landed on the former news site, CNN. The first item to catch my attention was the Lufthansa plane trying to make a landing in a very windy Hamburg, Germany.

Perhaps it was because I watched the video 3 or 4 times, that CNN got it into its head that I would like to read more articles having to do with planes, travel and Germany, and soon I was reading this article titled: Discrimination takes an unexpected turn.

The author has a few anecdotes of people being treated badly on planes. These people happen to be female or black or Mexican or whatever and so the author concludes that discrimination is back.

Allow me to retort!

I do not dispute the claims that the individuals were treated badly, in fact I find the stories very credible. I just don't think the abuse is limited to the aforementioned sectors of society. I believe the airline personnel are equal opportunity abusers!

Case 1: Northwest Airlines, LAX, Northwest Ticket Counter, Victim: Poor little me! Requested assistance from lady behind counter in locating lost luggage. Lady claimed she was far too busy to help me although there was not another passenger in sight, and she was sitting on her duff doing not much at all. Races involved: I forget, and White (me).

Case 2: American Airlines, LAX, American Airlines Ticket Counter, Victim: Me again, plus DH. AA ticket lady finishes up with present customer, customer moves away from counter, DH and I step forward towards the counter assuming it is now our turn. AA Ticket lady reprimands us, insists that we take 3 steps back and wait until she summons us. We do, she pauses for 3 seconds, looks left and right and then tells us to approach the counter. We are the only passengers around. She then puts us on a flight eight hours later, causing us to miss our connecting flight, even though there was an earlier flight still available (we found this out by chance later). Total traveling time with American Airlines from Los Angeles, California to Nassau, Bahamas over 36 hours. None of the delays were due to weather or other usual causes of travel delays. Races involved: Black, White, White - although I don't think this has anything to do with race at all.

Wasn't it Lincoln who said "Power corrupts"?

That is what is going on. We gave those flight attendants more authority after 9/11 and it has gone to their heads, causing every bit of sadistic tendency, formerly repressed, to come bubbling to the surface to torment the traveling public.

As for the black passenger who was tossed off the plane for requesting a seat change? I can match that with a 60ish white couple and their FIFI dog who dared speak up for themselves when their seats were given away. Bulkhead seats that they had specifically requested and reserved far in advance to accommodate their FIFI dog in its crate. The flight attendant wanted to stick FIFI with the luggage.

The couple tried to explain that this was all arranged with the Airline etc. and for their trouble the plane returned to the gate, and they and FIFI dog were escorted off the plane by State Marshalls. I don't know what happened to them after that...I was busy trying to blend into my assigned seat and was very careful not to look the flight attendant in the eye or otherwise call attention to myself.

Finally, anybody who hasn't been yelled at or severely scolded by a German airport employee isn't really trying. I mean really. Not being aware of some rule or restriction is no excuse. It says so in German law. And complaining because she is singled out for excess baggage! Try showing up for a flight to Greece half an hour before the flight leaves! (We did...overslept ... oops). The Condor ticket lady yelled at us for 10 minutes, calling into question our moral character and implying that we were a bunch of good-for-nothings...but she let us on the plane, so I consider that a win.

And even when I got tossed into the Airport slammer upon return for some Visa snafu, I only had to stay for 3 or 4 hours while it was straightened out. Another win.

Having to pay extra for luggage? Wouldn't even register.


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