Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

Airline bumping, Scandinavian style

Since I have the luxury of travelling to see many countries and different cultures, I often get amused by the small differences that reflect the alternative ways of seeing the world. This story is about a minor event in the Copenhagen airport.

I was flying from Munich to Helsinki via Copenhagen. The Copenhagen airport is attractive with lots of natural wood finishes. It seems quite compact between gates, and connections seem relatively well-organized. I noted a long line queuing up for the Helsinki to Copenhagen flight, and was relaxed to join the end of the line.

A man in an airline uniform was walking down the queue, and stopped by a young man — most probably a student, by his dress and demeanour. The airline attendant said that the flight was quite overbooked, and asked if the young man would be interested in waiting for a guaranteed seat on the next flight with a choice of 75 Euros cash or 200 Euros in flight coupons. The young man chose the former, and was then asked to step out of the line, and wait by the side. This conversation took just a minute, and queue moved on.

In comparison, how would this happen in most American airports? Typically, the airline attendant gets on the public address system and makes an announcement looking for volunteers for a similar offer. Responses by passengers go one of two ways: those who really want to stay on the flight get tense because they’ll want to make sure they have enough seat and baggage space, while those who might consider taking up the offer think about whether they should rush to the counter or not. In either case, although the American style might be judged as “fairer”, it probably introduces more stress to a larger number of travellers than is necessary.

Could airlines in the United States be convinced to change their style of behaviour? Maybe or maybe not. This could be one of those predispositions towards culture practices — like standing on the right side of an escalator to allow the hurried to pass on the left1 — that people don’t really think much about, until it gets mentioned to them.


1This example comes from Charles Spinosa, Fernando Flores and Hubert L. Dreyfus, Disclosing New Worlds, MIT Press, 1999. 

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Pattern language, form language, general systems theory, R-theory
      With the distinction made between pattern language and form language, a broader vision of the "life" sought by Christopher Alexander has led me through General Systems Theory into R-theory.
    • How do Systems Changes become natural practice?
      The fourth of four lectures for the Systemic Design course at OCADU SFI focused on (a) situated practice + history-making (reframing disclosing new worlds), and on (b) commitments and the language-action perspective (applying conversations for action).
    • Whom, when + where do Systems Changes situate?
      The third of four lectures for the Systemic Design course at OCADU covered value(s), the science of service systems, and the socio-technical systems perspective.
    • Why (Intervene in) Systems Changes?
      A lecture on ecological systems for the OCADU SFI master's program opened up opportunities to discuss wei and wuwei, and get beyond an anthropocentric perspective the Canadian beaver in its habitat.
    • Are Systems Changes Different from System + Change?
      The second session of the Systemic Design course in the OCADU SFI master's program was an opportunity to share the current state of knowledge on Systems Change, in light of recent interest in Systems Change and Theory of Change.
    • Ecology and Economy: Systems Changes Ahead?
      A workshop with David L. Hawk at the CANSEE meeting in May 2019 led to an invitation to publish an article, "Ecology and Economy: Systems Changes Ahead?" in WEI Magazine.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
    • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
      While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
    • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
      Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • 
  • moments. daviding.com

    Random selections from the past year
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal