Back to work, but only for a week this time. Got on the plane in Bundy on Tuesday morning to find my window seat occupied by a new Mum with her very tiny baby. I've seen the view so many times now that I simply plonked myself in a spare aisle seat. Someone else got on and gave me the dreaded 'wrong seat' look so I asked him if he wanted to sit there. He said 'No' but he was quite flummoxed by finding someone in his seat and actually looked quite hurt and lost despite being surrounded by any number of vacant seats that he could choose from. I had the distinct feeling that I'd ruined his day by sitting in seat 5C - which suggests it couldn't have been much of a day to start with.
In Brisbane I tried out Virgin Blue's automatic check in system. An easy-to-use touch-sensitive monitor lets you check in and then prints out a boarding card for you. Easy, except then you still have to take your bag to a young lady at what looks suspiciously like a check-in desk. Am I missing the point here or just being my usual contrary self ? I'm also having trouble understanding why QANTAS needs to see some photo-ID before they'll give you a boarding pass while if you check in using Virgin Blue's automatic system (and presumably the QANTAS one too) there is no need to show any ID. I guess it works on the basis that only you will know your booking number.
Meanwhile the regional aiport security fiasco continues. At least one east coast Queensland airport that I use regularly has no x-ray device for carry on baggage nor are there any other security systems in place, save the ground staff asking whether you're carrying any 'sharps'. If you were intent on malicious behvaiour, you wouldn't say yes anyway, would you ? Furthermore, could you describe a disassembled AK-47 or Uzi machine-pistol as 'sharp' ? Probably not. At the end of the day there's probably not a huge difference in results between a Boeing 737 hitting a Government tower block in Brisbane and a Dash-8 doing the same thing. Either way it's going to be messy. Senator Vanstone raised some ire with her recent comments about the potential for someone to use a broken wine glass to hijack a plane. A comment partly spoken in jest perhaps, but her message was fundamentally correct, much of the security is designed to make us feel better and you have to question just how effective it would be in practice. I'd personally settle for some ineffective security, it would have to be better than the non-existent security I witness on a regular basis.