It has been awhile since I’ve felt as annoyed as I did today regarding my travel experiences. Two separate incidents that were independent but their essence were similar in nature. Rules that were made for the majority cases, while marginalising the minority cases.
The first incident was when I was told by the China Eastern Airline stewardess to turn off my phone despite it being on flight mode and the plane wasn’t taking off or landing. When I asked for the reason, she said it was a policy for all airlines registered in China not to allow mobile phones to be used throughout the flight regardless of the use of flight mode. Maybe I’ve been unknowingly flouting the same rule for all airlines/flights I’ve taken so far, but this is definitely the first time I’ve been told to turn off my phone when the plane is at cruising altitude. Fine, I’m not about to argue, the stewardess has the right to enforce a rule, so that is ok. But what was annoying was that the use of tablets seems to be kosher, and the air stewardess was passing them by without batting an eyelid. So what, it is the size of the device that counts? There are definitely tablets out there that can make calls. What is flight mode for anyway? Why don’t just ban phones altogether on planes?
The second incident was filling in the immigration form for South Korea. For all the countries I have been to (and that number is more than 50), I have never filled in the address field with more than the city name, less Ukraine where I am explicitly told to submit accommodation information when applying for visa. I mean what if I really didn’t book accommodation before arriving, which is not an uncommon backpacker practice? I was almost refused entry at immigration if I didn’t have an address filled in, which I found ridiculous. Next time I will just write Hilton or some other famous hotel name, and say I changed my mind after entering the country. At the end of the day, how useful is the address field information anyway? Chances are that if authorities ever needed to use the info, they are trying to track down a person who has no intention to be found.
Oh well, the rest of the trip can only get better.