Thursday, 17 June 2010

Board now or baggage off


I know thee not
You can imagine as I walked to the iris scanning system I put in my card and it let me through to the iris scanning machine which after 1 minute of thinking decided it could not identify me.
So, I gave my passport and boarding pass to the backup alternative, the human customs official who checked everything and let me through.
I did not realise that my gate number required I go through another customs check because I had come out on the wrong side and as I passed through that check I was accosted and asked where I was coming from – strange question, I thought – I am coming from Amsterdam and I am going to Berlin I said.
Named for my journey
As I looked at my watch, it was well past the initial boarding time and just as I got to the gate my name was mentioned on the Tannoy asking I board immediately or would have my baggage unloaded.
The flight was smooth apart from the purser mixing up his destinations about us approaching Hamburg when we were going to Berlin, meanwhile, I wanted sparkling water and the host was offering everything but – when I insisted, he eventually heard my request and sought out the sparkling water for me.
I have always considered Berlin Tegel Airport a very efficient and customer-friendly airport, you were through the airport in no time, the efficiency that accompanies baggage reclaim usually means you are off the plane and in a taxi in less than 10 minutes.
Struck by strikes
Today offered a few surprises, in exasperation I finally said aloud, this is the longest I have had to wait for my baggage, even the tardier Amsterdam Schiphol does not take this long; almost after an hour of arrival, I heard the baggage handlers were on strike until 19:00 hours which would be in a few minutes time.
I do believe that unionism has its benefits for the working class and for the leverage of demands for fair working conditions – sometimes, I sense a kind of recalcitrance between management and the unions that lead to avoidable disputes that should better be resolved with discourse and maturity.
Negotiations and compromise
Having mostly been self-employed all my working life, I suppose it is difficult for me to appreciate some of those needs, one has to live by ones wits, skills and negotiating acumen rather than commit those negotiations to some socialist truculence battling with capitalist indifference.
Whilst, I am not pleased to find myself at the wrong end of an industrial dispute, I do hope that whatever has brought this about does not degenerate into the debacle that the British Airways dispute has become.
Long live the compromise and coexistence of socialist and capitalist aims for the maintenance of just, fair and orderly societies.

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