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Friday, 8 July 2011

What's wrong with American check-in staff?

Hmmm, where to start. Most of them seem to be rude, obnoxious, racist xenophobes who delight in making visitors to their country jump through hoops for their own amusement, or so past passengers have told me from there own experiences.

Now I've only been working in the travel industry for the last couple of years but I've been wondering if they've always been like this or if they've became a lot worse since the tragic events of 9/11.
As I said they seem to enjoy making passengers jump through endless hoops, forcing them to put up with rude and abrasive attitudes and woe betide any passenger that dares question this. At best they are treated to a speech about how the entire country is going through a traumatic time and how the guest should consider themselves lucky they're not being shot on the spot for looking at them wrong. In worst case scenarios the staff member can call in reinforcements and punish the passengers by forcing them to submit to a whole host of embarrassing, humiliating and normally unnecessary and time consuming extra checks, all for no other reason than because they dared question the attitude of a jumped up, rude member of staff.
Of course it's not all American check in staff, it may not even be the majority but I do seem to hear a lot more tales of trouble and woe from guests trying to enter America than any other country. The percentage of stories I hear aren't in Americas favour!
Two recent incidents of an extreme nature automatically jump to mind as examples of this.
The first was when the P&O Arcadia recently sailed into LA with 2000 guests onboard, (who had already stopped at nine other American ports). They were subjected to a seven hour delay whilst check in staff fingerprinted both hands of each guest, put them through retina scans, scrutinised each passport and questioned each and every guest in depth. To add insult to injury they had to do this in the blistering heat with no access to refreshments or toilets. Indeed when one elderly passenger asked to go to the toilet she was told, "do it over the side, we won't mind."
And the reason they were put through this?
A very small minority of guests, just a small minority mind, dared to question the time staff were taking. I mean come on! Seven hours without access to a toilet is inhumane but even worse is the second incident that I've just read about that happened just last week where the TSA, (Transportation Security Administration), had patted down an elderly woman in a wheelchair by hand, (in fairness this is standard practise as you obviously can't send them through the metal detectors), but they then asked her to remove her adult nappy as it was suspicious.
She was a 95 year old lady in a wheel chair with an adult nappy on! What did they think she was going to do? Smuggle some faeces into the country? I mean come that's just barbaric!!!! (If you want to read more details on this the full news story can be found by clicking this link here.)

So what do you think? Is it just me and I have just been unlucky enough to only hear the bad stories or is going through an American customs and check-in point really as horrible as it sounds? Let me know your experiences here.

Happy cruising, (although maybe not to America)!

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