The travel chaos which has been endemic throughout the UK’s airports is a sad reflection of the new world order created post pandemic.
In my own recent summer holiday to Mallorca, a simple 2 hour flight to Spain resulted in a gruelling 9 hour journey as fellow passengers pushed to their limits in each and every area of the airport they brushed shoulders with. The lack of staff and run ragged demeanour of everyone working there has made many travellers now question how the start of a summer holiday can ever be seen as an ‘enjoyable’ part of the trip.
Being turned away for food (after queuing for well over an hour at Manchester Airport’s most popular eatery ‘San Carlos’) was enough to send some passengers into a frenzy. Turns out most places to eat in T2 are hugely understaffed but the biggest shock was being informed by a manager that most of the restaurants actually stop serving at 5pm. (Try telling that to a line of ‘hangry’ passengers).
The airport often seen as the jewel in Manchester’s crown boasting about its new super terminal must surely feel embarrassed about its claim to be ‘international’ if you’re unable to get served in a restaurant there from dinner time onwards? This simply can’t be acceptable, no matter how desperate they are to recruit.
Moreover on arriving in Spain and queuing for a further hour and a half (because no one can check us through customs) I’m reliably informed by a nice woman from Liverpool (who happens to work in recruitment) that ‘no one wants jobs in airports anymore. Wages are low and people have got used to an entirely different work / life balance since Covid.’
Turns out these kinds of travel problems are not teething issues as life returns to normal but simply endemic of a worldwide issue caused by many workers rejecting a return to their old lives, painful shift work, redundancy and pay cuts by airports globally, have forced former employees to take up new professions and it’s a similar experience in the hospitality sector too.
As the cost of living continues to rocket, more and more of us are faced with making choices about the way we earn a living. Reinvention and regular soul searching have become more commonplace and are a mental currency which drives the younger generation. The concept of ‘jobs for life’ are no longer expectations or aspirations – it’s becoming desirable to live a life of multiple careers.
It has long been my opinion people feel valued if they are paid what they are worth. Given we all need a summer holiday then and as part of that we expect to experience nothing but great service in our favourite places to eat, isn’t it time to review wages to encourage people back to some of our most traditional roles? Yes there is a credit crunch but without a constant flow of people ready and willing to do those jobs, we may all have to get used to waiting in (a very long) line.