Expensive Whine

Amy Elliott suggests that we ought to accept delay as a natural repercussion of our privilege.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
I was scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day and came across some joyous news, which was this: Darren from Leicester had been compensated £299 for a three hour delay he had miserably endured in a Heathrow terminal on his merry way to Greece.
I am no stranger to the woes suffered when one is forced to wait for unreliable public transport. When I lived in France I was oft subjected to the French proclivity to strike at any given opportunity. This invariably meant that sometimes my bus would be cancelled randomly, entailing a rather boring wait in an unattractive bus station – but such is life. SUCH IS LIFE, Darren from Leicester!
Of course, it is understandable that a customer would wish to be compensated should a flight be cancelled, or a delay is long enough to incur significant additional fees (e.g. an overnight stay in a hotel), but since when did being delayed by three hours entitle anybody to anything?
To have been born in the west is generally to have been born into immense, random privilege, particularly if we are focussing on economic realities in comparison to other countries. This privilege often entails that our agency as humans is ironically reliant
upon systems which are regulated by other people, and thus are out of our control. Easily accessible water, free healthcare, regular public transport and guaranteed schooling for our children are all things which we Britons are liable to take for granted. To be fortunate enough to live in a country with numerous interweaving systems which for the most part better our lives necessitates that one must play one’s part in the system as a whole. By this, I mean respecting the system, understanding that the system is fallible much as humans are fallible, and being patient.
I am not advocating apathy in the face of injustice, the poor behaviour of those meant to lead us, or failings which are clearly symptomatic of profound systemic flaws. Quite simply, I am suggesting that believing that one is ‘entitled’ to hefty compensation merely for being inconvenienced is not only wrong but is an abuse of the privilege we are fortunate enough to ignorantly enjoy on a daily basis.
Would Darren from Leicester have preferred that those servicing his plane had pandered to his petulance, and allowed it to take off without having been repaired? Personally, I’d rather take a measly delay over a watery end in the Aegean sea. But that’s just me.


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