An announcement of a new ruling from UK-based, budget airline Easy Jet has set the cat amongst the air travelling pigeons. The ruling, which came into force on the first of the month, stipulates that passengers who have not arrived at the final pre-boarding security check at least 30 minutes before their scheduled departure time will be bumped from the flight and charged a â‚¤30 (P450) fee to transfer to a later flight. This is not to be confused with the standard 2-hour check-in rule for any overseas flight which applies to all airlines and will henceforth affect those passengers who have already checked in and received a boarding pass but who dawdle around the airport pre-departure and make a last-minute dash for the plane just before the gate closes.
A spokesperson for the airline offered this explanation. “Punctuality is important to our passengers and that is why we ask passengers to be at the gate no later than 30 [minutes] before the flight departs. This means that if passengers are still yet to clear security [less than 30 minutes before take-off] they will be unable to achieve this – particularly at larger airports like Gatwick when walks to some gates can take up to 20 minutes. We are implementing this based on a proven model at London Heathrow Terminal 5 to eliminate unnecessary journeys for passengers who then need to be escorted landside. The vast majority of our passengers arrive as we suggest at the gate before 30 minutes to board the aircraft.”
As a fairly frequent flier I’m not exactly sure how that is going to work. For security purposes any passenger who has checked in a bag to be placed in an aircraft hold has to accompany that checked bag. So if that passenger fails to turn up at the gate and board the plane, the airline has no option but to delay the flight till either the lost sheep or, failing that, the bag belonging to the lost sheep, has to be located, identified and removed from the plane before it is allowed to take off.
And in a crowded, long-haul jumbo jet with hundreds of checked bags in the hold, this can take some considerable time. I’m sure we’ve all experienced those delays, accompanied by annoying announcements requesting that passenger so-and-so on such-and-such a flight is kindly requested to make their way immediately to Gate X as their flight is now closing. Often the same request will be repeated several times, in slightly more irritated tones, as the gate crew wait patiently for the missing person to show up. Most eventually do, some don’t and then the security measure of bag retrieval has to be implemented.
I suppose it might work for short-haul business travellers who have only their carry-on luggage anyway, but then again, those are usually the passengers in the biggest rush. They are often late leaving the office, owing to pressure of work, arrive at the airport with seconds to spare, present themselves at the check-in at the eleventh hour, looking not in the least bit apologetic, and then make their way to the boarding gate, grabbing a Starbucks coffee and a sandwich as they go. For such people, time is money and they want to waste as little of it as possible hanging round an airport, even if it does have good Wi-Fi and laptop charging points. And who of us can blame them?
For it’s a curious anomaly that air travel, designed to deliver us from Point A to Point B in the shortest time possible, is not now necessarily the quickest means at all. Those of you who were aficionados of the old Top Gear programme will well remember those episodes when the 3 likely lads undertook a foreign travel journey by different modes of transport and attempted to ascertain which was in fact the speediest. Inevitably it was Jezza himself who chose the driving option, generally. Granted, in some super-charged sporty machine pitting himself against the finest Euro trains, boats and planes and usually winning by some margin. The reason, souped-up sports cars aside, is of course quite simple. Over the past couple of decades the threat of terrorist incidents and accidents, both real and assumed, has grown exponentially and with it has grown the plethora of security measures now implanted all over the world.
On average a foreign traveller in any major airport can now expect to have their luggage security-checked at least 3 or 4 times before they ever set foot on board the plane. The 2-hour rule is now insufficient time to allow for anyone travelling from overseas to the United States, for example, where passengers would be well-advised to double up on that to ensure they arrive at their boarding gate with the recommended Easy Jet recommended 30 minutes to spare. Add to that the fact that most of the world doesn’t live, as we do in Gaborone, a mere 30 minutes drive from the main airport. Even for those in large cities served by an international airport, the commute is often much longer, followed by having to park in a short or long-stay car park a considerable distance from the terminal building and a long walk or ferry trip to the airport proper.
And for those who live in small towns or rural areas, they will have had to rise before sparrow’s chirp to make the even longer journey by car, coach or train to the nearest facility. Even then, they may have to take a connecting flight from a commuter or national hub to an international airport, before finally boarding their long-haul, overseas plane. Sure, once you’re on board and hurtling down the runway, you can be sure of reaching your destination a lot quicker than by an old-fashioned sea voyage but it’s taken a marathon effort to actually take your seat.
So whilst Easy Jet’s insistence on punctuality may be well-intentioned – which one of us really wants our flight put on hold whilst selfish or stupid stragglers are rounded up from wherever they’ve wandered off to twixt check-in and boarding gate – alas, my gut feeling is that it will only waste more of our time in the long run. A bit of a flight of fancy, you might say.â€¨â€¨STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at www.hrmc.co.bw
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.