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Why Do Passenger Brain Cells Turn Off As Soon As They Set Foot In The Airport? – View from the Wing

Why Do Passenger Brain Cells Turn Off As Soon As They Set Foot In The Airport?

Most people don’t keep their commitments. How often has customer service called you back after promising to do so? And how many people are super smart? By assuming people won’t keep their commitments, though, I’m almost never disappointed. And occasionally I’m even surprised on the upside!

Yet even with my starting place that I don’t expect people to deliver, I’m still shocked sometimes by the extent to which their brain cells turn off even further as soon as they set foot inside of an airport.

I’ve always found the interaction when you board a flight and show your boarding pass to a flight attendant, who then directs you towards your seat, to be unnecessary. It’s even a bit of an inconvenience because on international flights where this is common, and on foreign carriers even for short flights, you have to keep your boarding pass out and that’s one more thing. Yet it’s also a nice touch even if it doubles at ensuring you’re on the right place. (It also strikes me odd that this is common on many international carriers short haul but not U.S. domestic.)

Still, for some people, it is absolutely necessary. A Ryanair passenger seated in row one could not find their seat. So they walked all the way down the aisle of the aircraft. More than two-thirds of the way to row 32 in the back, the passenger asks a flight attendant where their seat is. The crewmember walked that passenger all the way back to the front of the aircraft.

Even if you do not start out knowing that row 1 is in the front (maybe rows are ordered back-to-front?) surely when you’re looking for your row,

  • You see that each row you walk past gets one number higher
  • And you know that 1 is less than 22
  • Your mental model isn’t that airlines order rows randomly, like maybe sure the first row you noticed was 5 but then 16 came next, followed by 11, and then 22?

I don’t have a lot of faith in people, but I do expect more than this. Why am I wrong?


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