Self service is so present in our daily lives that we hardly think things could have been done in a different way. As a frequent business traveller, Malcolm Pride, who works at Amadeus´ airline marketing in London, looks forward to the day when airport self service is no longer an option.
When I think about the Self Service Revolution at the airport my first thought is, why hasn’t it happened sooner?
We take for granted so many things in our everyday lives that are self service (and I’m sure a lot of younger members of our society believe always were self-service!) that thinking of the alternative is pretty much unimaginable.
My list of random things that have changed over the period of my life – some for good, some arguably for worse (to be fair, usually in the opinion of the ‘older’ generation) – include:
Petrol stations – personally I now actively avoid anywhere that requires an attendant to fill up my car.
- Supermarkets – here I’m not talking about self-service at a supermarket (and actually I’m not a huge fan of that one), but the fact that a supermarket exists at all. When I was a lot younger we did all our shopping down the main street of my home town : butcher, baker, green grocer etc.
- ATM’s / Cash Machines – getting money these days is very easy (maybe too easy?) – I distinctly remember my parents having to make a special dash to the bank every Friday afternoon to get some money out over the counter before they closed for the entire weekend. (John Shepherd-Barron, the man who invented the cash machine… my hero!)
Obviously I could go on … I think we could all add our own items to this list. For me as a traveller (which I probably do far too often), airport self service is already the same as my three random examples – unimaginable any other way.
If I now come across an airport or airline that doesn’t have self service, I become much grumpier than I am already. You know, why have I been deprived of the right to an extra hours sleep at stupid o’clock in the morning, when I should be able to go straight to the gate? Why should I need to find the right queue to stand in, behind people who don’t seem to have seen an airport before, families with screaming children and other travellers who are even grumpier than I am? Why should I need to know some obscure 6 character code to identify myself with? And, why is there only one person at the airport at midnight capable of dealing with a plane-load of passengers who have just been told that their flight is cancelled?
Ok, so a bit of a rant I’ll agree, but for me the move to full self service at the airport is inevitable. Just as I could never imagine existing in a world without ATM’s – so shall it be with airport self service!