Where have all the people gone?

“Please listen carefully – Press 1 for English, Press 2 for French. If you were born on a Tuesday press 4 …. thank you for holding. Your time is important and we will be with you as soon as possible. Your current wait time is 24 minutes.”

Does all this automation really speed things up? I am really not sure. Have you been through arrivals at Calgary airport where you feed your form into the computer and then have to go and stand in a line so a man can tell you whether you can leave or not. ???

Same as e-tickets and checking in online. You get to the airport and you still have to go to another computer to print out baggage tags – or maybe I am missing something – so how come you have to go and stand in another line up. And … something I have to vent about …. I still cannot manage to get those baggage tags on my bags without the help of one of the airline staff.

Where will this all lead us? Will flight attendants be next? Just get on the plane yourself and find your own seat. Get yourself seated and it is up to you to check that you have your seatbelt on. Can’t always depend on someone else to look out for you. A robot can’t do that job. What happens if there is an emergency mid flight? Or someone has a baby? Or they run out of the pasta option. Who’re you gonna complain to? Robots don’t care – they don’t have feelings.

It’s alright – we can all relax. Flight attendants are the least likely people to be replace by robots according to http://www.replacedbyrobot.info who record as follows –

0 % Chance of Automation

“Flight Attendant” will never be replaced by robots.

This job is ranked #250 out of #702. A higher ranking (i.e., a lower number) means the job is less likely to be replaced.

What a relief! I really don’t want to be on a flight without a flight attendant who can do all these amazing things. You should read the list on the website – https://www.replacedbyrobot.info/56127/airline-flight-attendant

After reading this report I got curious….. Mmm – “they” keep saying that travel agents will go the way of dinosaurs. I wonder what http://www.replacedbyrobot.info thinks about travel agents ….. deep breath – click search ….

5.7% Chance of Automation

“Travel Agent” will not be replaced by robots.

This job is ranked #143 out of #702. A higher ranking (i.e., a lower number) means the job is less likely to be replaced.

Whew! That’s a relief. But what is the job most likely to be replaced by robots I wondered ….

Right on top of the list – TELEMARKETERS…. well I am not sorry but I do feel a bit bad for those who might lose their jobs.

Other aspects of travel that we don’t want to be replaced by a robot would be hotel check in. Now I know it is a nuisance sometimes when you get to the hotel and there is a big line up for check in. This is particularly common when everyone arrives from the airport on the free shuttle (maybe a reason to shell out for a taxi). However how can you explain to the robot that you absolutely hate a connecting door in your room? Yes I know you can put in that as a request when you book your hotel but we all know that no-one reads that kind of thing. How many times have you heard “Yes we know you wanted a king bed but it does say that this is on a request basis only”. No, give me a person any time. You know why – you can smile at a person, be nice, be chatty, (honey attracts more bees than vinegar) …. you can’t do that to a computer!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Your missing that with Westjet (at least) even if you print out your boarding pass, they call your name out to make sure your here & usually give you a new one, on another subject returning from NY on WJA the reciept for a checked bag states 5% GST & in USD


    1. Mmm – maybe. I just tried to get hold of Westjet reservations – 32 minute hold. But generally they are more people friendly than others. Yes the USD thing has really made some headlines lately. People are fed up of that.


  2. AC 787 YVR to Newark leaky
    No ,
    But they came to the guy next to me and reimbursed him , said his was already paid for in his ticket .
    I didn’t know much about mine , only what you said offhand so I didn’t know for sure .

    Wasn’t impressed with Air Canada .
    Two seats in front next to window guy sitting there there got soaked , water came pouring down from over his head . Noticed it was stuffed with paper already ( to absorb ) must have happened earlier too . Every were was icy , I wonder if it had anything to do with the de fogging or iceing system at all . They got more towels and I noticed somebody taking pics as well . So I think Air Canada will hear more about it . This was as we were taking off . Weird .
    Seating was good and space and there was TV screen .
    Talk again later


  3. I agree with your problem with the baggage tags. Every system seems to different and trying to workout what to tear off and exactly where to stick it requires a careful time- consuming and frustrating study. The main advantage of checking in on line is that I got to select my seats and on Cathay Pacific Vancouver to Hong Kong and 2 weeks later Hong Kong to Vancouver, with 3/4/3 seating, I selected an aisle and a window and we were lucky the no-one opted for the middle seat. So we had some extra space for the long trips. I can recommend Cathay Pacific for head phones and food.


    1. Thanks Hugh – that’s a good recommendation. I have tried doing the aisle and window with the middle seat open but sadly it did not work for me. I think I got the tallest person in the world come and ask to get into the middle seat. I took pity on him and shifted over to the middle seat so he could stretch his legs. Even so we were both cramped. 😦


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