JournalismPakistan.com July 7, 2015
The holiday season is upon us soon so be smart not stupid. Here are some tips you are not likely to take but if you do it could save you a lot of trouble:
Carrying gifts wrapped in ignorance:
Would you carry a small packet for someone? Sure, you would, especially if you know them. Come on, you have to trust someone. You agree. No problem. What if it contravenes rules? Are you innocent or guilty? Response: Innocent carriers may get sympathy but that won’t take them very far. The fact is that innocence is very difficult to prove. What you must do is examine the packet, never mind how the other party feels. Under the law it is your property. Ask that it be opened before you leave for the airport. Don’t be silly or worry about appearances. In a worst case scenario, never be so desperate as to volunteer to take along electronic items because someone is giving you a ticket on massive concession. This is very common and the less affluent are tempted to go in for the agreement. It could have contraband hidden within and, if caught, there is no escape. The very fact that someone is giving you a freebie indicates things are not above board.
Watch it. Pleasant strangers are not friends:
You are standing at Security when a VIP passenger or someone who knows the duty officer goes past without having his hand bag checked. What should you do? Response: Most likely you will do nothing. But you should, in these troubled times. The buddy-buddy relationship cannot compromise security. If the passenger’s bypass troubles you call attention to it. Those on duty are breaking the rules and as a passenger you are entitled to complete security measures. Don’t be embarrassed to ask why someone is walking past.
Schizoids on board:
Your friend has a coupon in his name for an internal flight. No passports are required and so, you can easily go in his place. You do. If there is no incident in flight, well, you got away with it. But if there is where do you stand? Response: By travelling under a false name you have forfeited your rights to compensation. If you die in a crash your next of kin get nothing. In fact, the odds are that when the truth is known you will be posthumously under investigation. The family will suffer grief and official harassment simultaneously. But what if there is a minor accident. A bag from an overhead locker falls on your head, you trip and hurt yourself. You fall ill. Need medical attention, any of a hundred possibilities. You don’t exist. So, how can you be looked after, let alone compensated. You can be sued by the airline for impersonation. If you are not you then you are a security risk automatically. Six hours of this hassle will drive you crazy… just because you are taking the domestic sector doesn’t make it right.
You are sitting in a plane. The person next to you has one of the following problems. A crying baby, body odour, is excessively inebriated, is imposing on you and you paid for privacy, has an ailment you find offensive, like a cold, sneezing, sniffling, some tic that is driving you crazy, keeps clearing his throat, anything beyond acceptable parameters of conduct. Do you have to suffer him? Response: No. Call the cabin crew and discreetly inform them of your problem. In many cases the annoyance factor may not be intended and therefore, there is no need to hurt the person’s feelings. The cabin crew will then invite you after a few minutes to another area on some pretext or the other. If there are no seats a sensitive airline will get the captain’s permission to move you to a higher class of travel. Class acts in the air do cater for such eventualities and once they are convinced that you have a case it will be a very cussed cabin crew member who won’t lend a hand. Cabin crew is the worst sufferer of bad conduct and can understand someone else going through it.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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