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‘Trolley-mafia’, other hitches irk holiday-going travelers ‘Rude ground staff bad experience’

KUWAIT CITY, June 4:  June heralds the grand summer getaway for many in Kuwait with the promise of a brief reprieve from the escalating heat. But the elation of flying out on a relaxing holiday can easily be dampened by sour experiences at the airport, as pointed out by the many respondents in this week’s online poll.

A stark 44% of all those who voted agreed that contending with porters who force you to pay for free trolleys is the most frustrating affair.

The porters in the airport, dubbed by many as the ‘trolley mafia’, are notorious for compelling passengers to avail their service for a fee of 500 fils while the usage of the trolley on one’s own is absolutely free. “They don’t let you use the trolley on your own. Many travelers are not even aware that the trolleys are free.  These workers operate like a gang, sometimes even behaving rudely to passengers who try to use the trolley declining their service”, a voter commented.

Many passengers prefer to handle their luggage themselves. But it has been observed that in most cases, the porters load luggage onto trolleys without even asking the permission of passenger first.

Those who are unaware of the practice are often left surprised when the porters charge them fees for a service that was unsolicited. While 500 fils may seem a meager sum, a frequent traveler pointed out that a day’s collection would amount to substantial earnings.

Rumour has it that the porters pay their contracting company about KD 15 every day to keep their posting in the airport which goes to show just how lucrative the entire enterprise is. Some even believe that airport authorities are in collusion and probably get a cut, too.

A voter stressed that this reflects very badly on the country as it degrades the reputation of its prime portal. “That is the first impression that a visitor gets in any country, the airport is a reflection of the government.

Most of the people who depart from Kuwait leave with bad memories and experiences of their last few moments here”, he said.

A huge number also voiced concerns about the criminal behavior this encouraged as it is very common for articles to go ‘missing’ inside scanners.

Strict monitoring and firm action is required to ensure greater safety for passengers. Adding to travel woes at the airport, are rude ground staff who are ruthless in dealing with excess baggage, according to 11% of the respondents. “The Wright Brothers would have given up every endeavour of flight had they had the misfortune of putting up with the boorish variety of airline ground staff these days”, a voter stated.

It is not uncommon to observe domestic workers being discriminated against and meted out a harsh treatment at baggage check-in counters. “I was shocked when the ground staff literally flung the bag of a woman in front of me from the check-in counter”, an alarmed respondent shared. “It seems as though most of the sugar and floss these days is earmarked just for the air. I guess it is really no mystery that ground crew, especially those at baggage check-in counters, are seldom featured in airline advertisements”, she added.

Further, another 9% affirmed that the absence of greeting on arrival & departure at immigration check was also problematic.

18% of voters cited long immigration and baggage check-in queues as a major hurdle. “I think the airport needs an overhaul - an immediate construction of more airport check-in desks, new X-ray machines, and luggage belts that improve movement.”

While only 1% of those responding to the poll found the metal detectors on body check to be annoying, 17% deem the shortage of car parking to be the most inconvenient. “Every time I go to the airport, the car park always seems to be at full capacity. The authorities should remedy this.

By: Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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