I’m currently sitting on a poorly air-conditioned, very packed and therefore extremely hot train back from Leeds to London. And the temperature is not the only uncomfortable element, passions are running high on this train. Arguments seem to be erupting at every angle – I have witnessed four already since claiming my seat.
And there is a clear central issue driving this passanger rage…reservations.
Maybe it’s the 35degree heat, but even I am starting to get frustrated here. This train is completely full – all the seats have been pre-booked and protruding from every headrest is a big white label emblazened with one bold word, RESERVED.
My ticket clearly states both my carriage and seat number, and I arrived early enough take rightful ownership of seat 16A. But unfortunately others on my coach haven’t been quite as lucky…
Most people seem to understand the very basic ‘code of conduct’ – you sit in the seat that you have booked… but not everyone. For there are some people who seem to use the Ryanair approach to every asset of life – if they see an empty seat they have every right to sit in it. And this set not only have a complete disregard for the basic rules, most also seem to take an arrogant, confident and confrontational approach to defending their position.
I have already witnessed two happy pre-bookers skulk away, defeated by the evil, aggressive and immovable seat squatters. Only the very brave seem to have the resolve to stand their ground and go toe-to-toe to claim what is rightfully theirs. But when the righteous are victorious every ticket holder on the carriage can silently share in their success.
However while I have been typing the atmosphere has relaxed. A new player has made his mark – the advance purchasers now have a new hero…
As soon as the ticket inspector shuffled in, the two remaining spongers immediately hung their heads. One then quickly bolted for the far door – the other at least kept in place, but when challenged he too silently slumped off. And now even the original ticket owners have returned…Victory!
And I think the air conditioning has just started working, everything is finally cooling down.