The rise in global crude prices, and the rapid increase in inflation has hit the Indian consumer hard. More so for the airlines. There is no longer the kind of buzz that was seen in airports just a couple of months ago. Flying has been toppled from its pedestal as the most preferred way of traveling. People are starting to turn back to railways for a slower but cheaper way to travel. This is evident from the lack of queues for the security checks, the empty seats in the departure lounges and in the airplanes itself.

I can see a few passengers lazily strolling about the lounge, having coffee and chatting. They choose to ignore the PA system announcing the final boarding call for their flight. Only when the desperate airline officials start asking passengers individually whether they are traveling by that flight do they realize that the plane is waiting for them. They get up, grumbling at the half-wasted coffee (even though the coffee there is awful) and throw it away to make way to the bus.

Kingfisher Airlines still continues to pamper its ‘guests’ but bother other passengers (and possibly make them envious) through multiple pre-boarding calls. Their air-hostesses are still the best-looking.

While in the line, I think however much we may learn in MBA, we’re still ill-equipped to deal with other cultures. While I’m standing in the line, a man (possibly Japanese) respectfully bows down, gestures with one hand wishing to cross the line to get to the other side. I wonder what would most of us have done in his place. Just shove and push? Or maybe spill out a perfunctory ‘Excuse me?’

Once in the plane, through the window I can see something which makes me squirm. Airports boast of being technologically modern, with conveniences of all possible kinds. But I can still see a lady sitting in a wheelchair being pushed by an airport employee in the hot Chennai sun. Why such treatment? Aren’t the buses supposed to be handicapped friendly? Why can’t she board the air-conditioned buses which all the other passengers use?

The flight has ended. The airplane has stopped. Here goes everyone out of their seats fetching their baggage from the overhead storage. Why are you in such a hurry uncle? Let the doors open, let the ladder be positioned. Do you want to jump out and break your bones? Relax India.