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Miss Malsy on Line Cutting

Q While waiting in line at the airport, the guy in front of me waved several friends over and they cut right in. I fumed. Should I have said something? 

A Four words: First come, first served. If these guys wanted to be served at the check-in counter before you, they should have come to the airport earlier. It’s not as if you’d set your alarm . . . for 4:30 a.m., strained your back hoisting luggage, and sprinted through the terminal for the fun of it. Of course your new queuemates didn’t simply infiltrate the line solo; they had inside help. This shifts their crime from the clearly insidious cutting to the more murky premeditated place-saving. Assemble a jury of average people and you’ll find that the majority see place-saving—"Honey, you get in line and I’ll be along with our darling kids"—as the manifest destiny of those traveling with family and friends. In the airport, nepotism trumps justice.

But place-saving, like cutting, is bad manners. So go ahead, express your irritation. Just keep it civil. Otherwise, thanks to airport security, you may find yourself fingered as the ranting madman who loses his place in line for good.




This article was first published in January 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.