Panic! I have the wrong ticket. I’m missing my flight…

Interview with a flight attendant at the help desk of an airline.
Speaking is Ingrid Van den Dorpe. Subject? The most common problems passengers face when traveling by plane.

Ingrid Van den Dorpe: “It is best to be present two hours before departure when it comes to European flights; and even three hours for long-haul flights.”

“One of the most common problems is that people arrive at the airport much too late. Sometimes they don’t leave home until the time when they should already be at the airport. It is best to be present two hours before departure when it comes to European flights; and even three hours for long-haul flights. Passengers sometimes also ignore the fact that every day there are traffic jams on the freeways leading to the airport. There are also traffic jams at security points before entering the airport grounds, long queues at check-in & ticketing, and long lines at passport control…. A lot of people are unfamiliar with airports and flying, so they need more time to find where they need to be.”

What is another problem you face a lot Ingrid?

It is remarkable that a lot of people do not know the conditions of their ticket. At the time of ticket purchase, most don’t read those conditions.

What exactly do you mean?

For example, whether baggage is included or not, the number of kilograms of hand luggage that can be taken on the plane… People don’t always check what they’ve purchased…

A ticket is just a ticket, right?

Ah no. Every day people stand here at the counter with a ticket for the wrong destination, for a different routing, with the wrong date, and even in the wrong name!

That’s the end of the world… how will that be solved, Ingrid?

These are obviously very unpleasant surprises, which nobody expects. And some things can only be solved with extra payment. With all the ensuing discussions.

Are passengers not adequately informed?

Oh no, that is not the case. We have noticed that when people receive information in advance, at the airport for example, they often do not listen properly or they only listen with one ear, or they do not read what it says. People then read and listen ‘East Indians’, I mean only what they want to hear or read. Result: endless discussions.

Difficult, tedious and stressful, isn’t it?

Yes, people also don’t always check which travel documents they need for a particular destination, which identity documents are needed exactly, passport, visa, etc.

Budgetary problems are also a regular factor. People then have no or too few finances provided for. We have even heard that people have taken out loans in order to travel. This in combination with the previous problems leads to ‘volcano situations’….

People cannot or will not always admit or recognize that in certain problem situations they themselves are the cause. Then it’s the fault of the airline, or whoever, after all. Consequence? Explosive situations. Sometimes impossible solutions are demanded. The less they paid, the higher the demands….

Then there is a gigantic stress anyway…

Often stress is an accumulation of problems and tensions. Yes, and all this together is a breeding ground for fear of flying. They can no longer cope, resulting in aggression and crying fits.

Then there is work to be done…

Sometimes it does…

Thank you Ingrid!

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