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Manners Maketh Man

Learning Manners

Anyone reading the various social media streams cannot but fail to notice that the new generation is termed "tech savvy" . From my point of view, they are more "tech dependent" - which is not quite the same thing. Further, this reliance on tech may be also be contributing to some of the more lurid examples of bad manners in travel in general and on aircraft in particular

You can search for your flights, online. You can check in, online or you go the airport and a machine checks you in. If you go to the counter, you can get a real human but they perform no greater function than the check in. You can buy flights at very low prices. You find your way the airport by using an app to hire a ride and if some would have it, that ride would be fully automated, without a driver. During the ride, you stare at your smart device, which shows you news or a film or tells you what some friend or the other's latest "status" may be. We don't even have to learn how to spell properly; we are able to communicate using "word-tokens" that may be only three letters in length.

What is missing, here, is human interaction. From the earliest days in any playground, we learn this basic skill. How to communicate with other people. From the age of, say 14 onwards (or even younger) we do everything possible not to develop that skill and to un-learn any of the hitherto garnered skills. So, we lose the perception of others and only have a perception of self. From this, stems many of the issues relating to violence and bad manners whilst we fly or travel about the globe.

Airlines do not help this situation. They have offered cheap flights to everyone and then shoe-horn passengers of all shapes and sizes into an ever decreasing space down the back and an ever increasing space up the front. They have made the class divide obvious and as one often has to walk through a higher grade cabin to a lower grade cabin, they have made the nature of this divide so very much in the face of the coach class traveler.

We do need to re-humanise travel. Move away from over-automation and make sure that those staff that you do meet have the ability to resolve issues without reference to ever-higher authority. There needs to be a rethink in terms of the coach class cabin and if that means increasing fares, then so be it. There are already. it may be argued, too many aircraft chasing too few customers; yet for some reason there is this belief that there is this "right" to cheap air travel to the extent that it is written into every nations' constitution. You have no "right" to cheap air travel any more than I have a "right" to a cheap Ferrari.

Once, there was a need to de-mystify tech, now there is a need to de-mystify human interaction. We need to re-learn how to interact with our fellow creatures and fellow passengers. We need to re-learn manners. We need to understand that "I have paid for this seat and so, can look like anything I damn well please" does not work. It does not matter what class of cabin you are in, other people see you and others assess you. It would be so much nicer, at the end of the journey, if a stranger said about you: "I traveled with a real Gentleman or Lady" rather than "I had 4 hours sat beside (or behind or in front of) the most obnoxious person on the planet". Manners maketh man. We need to re-learn that.

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