The angry woman, the retiring man, and the joys of unassigned seating (day 321)

There are five main Hawaiian islands. Everyone flies between them. There isn’t really any other practical way to get around.

Given the proximity of the islands to each other, and the huge number of flights between them, the airlines have some nifty arrangements to make getting around easier (despite what the woman in white from a few days’ ago – do I need that apostrophe? – thought, I think airlines actually are about helping you get to where you want to be, however much it may not appear that way sometimes).

One of these arrangements is that all interisland tickets cost the same, and you can get on any flight that has spare seats, regardless of where you were going when you booked your ticket originally. Handy.

Another is that seating is unassigned. Sit wherever you want (except the emergency exit row, as we already know).

Being a novice at this Hawaiian airline thing, I did what I normally do. I sat down and read my book until everyone else had got on the plane. While I was reading I ocassionally looked up and smirked at the huge queue of people waiting at the gate (which had not opened yet), thinking to myself ‘how silly of them to stand up when they could sit down’).

The net result was, of course, that I got the absolute last free seat on the plane. Had I stood in the queue, of course, I would have had a far better seat selection. Not that it made a whole lot of difference in the end I guess.

But that is the funny thing about unassigned seating. It must make a lot of difference to some people where they sit. Enough difference that they are happy to spend 45 minutes or so standing in a queue in order to get a window. Or maybe they don’t like sitting (in which case, why have seats on the plane?).

You would think the airline could make more money by doing what they do on super-cheap trains in China. You sell seats in fit-as-many-people-on-as-you-can class for a bit more than just an ordinary ticket (which gives you the right to get on, but only to sit down if you find a seat that is not occupied and has not been sold).

Anyway, enough of such things.

Saw two funny people in the airport. One was this guy who needed a private place to scratch himself. Trouble was he was in the middle of the departures lounge. Imagine my surprise as I watch him walk all the way across the room to the featureless wall, rearrange himself and then walk back to the people he was travelling with.

Now, I am not quite sure why he felt he had to face the wall to do this. Certainly if he was seeking privacy he failed to find it (since I saw him at least). If it was for my benefit, he was also wasting his time, since I care not a sausage if he wants to stick his hands down his pants (if he thought that I would care, he need only have asked). And I never would have even noticed him had he not wandered across the room and stood next to an empty wall.

I felt like giving him some advice on the issue. But I also felt that it might not have gone down that well. Discretion, I am pleased to say, proved the better part of valour.

Later on, in Honolulu, I saw crazy angry woman. She was travelling with a big group of people. I mean ‘big’ in both ways. Judging on body shape alone (and I realise the vagaries of that basis of analysis), she was related to the people she was travelling with. Some of them were young. Perhaps her children.

She was snarling and being angry and upset loudly, apparently with everyone in her group, and for quite a long time as they made their way to check-in. All the others in the group had that look on their face of ‘Rationality has failed. Only pretending that her behaviour is acceptable or ignoring her will work’. You know the one.

Pleased I did not give her the benefit of my wisdom either.