Airports And The Privacy Of The Humiliated

I couldn’t help wondering about the privacy implications of airlines calling out people’s names over the airport PA system.

In Sydney and Melbourne airports recently I lost count of announcements along the lines of ‘Would Mr and Mrs X of flight X to X please go to gate X where their plane, and hundreds of their fellow passengers, are waiting patiently for them to board’, usually along with some humorous and belittling remark or two, which I have to say I found hugely amusing initially.

But then I got to thinking: What if it was me? What if it was someone who was having serious medical problems in the washroom? What if it was someone travelling incognito with someone who wasn’t their wife, or on some sensitive errand? What if someone already on the plane decided they’d be inconvenienced enough and jotted down the tardy passengers’ name to wreak revenge later?

Maybe it’s paranoia and an overworked privacy gland, but I’m not sure that, in this present version of the world, airlines and airports should be quite so fast and loose with announcements that identify individuals, their flight numbers and their embarrassment.

04. October 2004 by jeremy
Categories: Privacy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. A friend of mine likes these calls as he knows then it’s really time to go…

    He also always checks baggage on the grounds that it is easier to find you, than to find and offload your baggage…