ONE should not sweat the small stuff such as a pet peeve. But like the proverbial one centavo coin that begins both the build-up and draw down of a peso, the small stuff is essentially the beginning and end of the big stuff. That’s how critical it can be.

But the reason I’m sweating a pet peeve now is I’m at the end of my rope on this one and need to get if off my chest. This looks like a good time when my brains are drowning in a deluge of raw information on the PDAF scam. I can surface for some moral and intellectual air by temporarily sweating the small stuff the saner to deal with the bigger stuff later.

My pet peeve is the “boarding procedure” of airlines in the domestic and regional travel destinations. Domestic and regional because, in fairness, Philippine Airlines at least does a professional job of boarding its guests on its international flights.

It starts on the public address system with: “This is not yet a boarding announcement.

Please remain seated while we explain to you our boarding procedure. First to board are passengers travelling with infants, the elderly and those needing special assistance… etc.”

All so very professional… except that within minutes the announcement follows that “flight such-and-such is now ready to accept passengers for boarding.” And that’s when you wonder why airlines bother with an explanation of the boarding procedure because then all hell breaks loose and everybody is simply allowed to rush to the start of the line in complete disregard for the just-explained boarding procedure.

By the time mothers with infants and the elderly begin to head for their priority spot in the line, random boarding is in full swing. I myself, seeing the disorderly boarding process, never even try to be among the first to board as is my privilege.

Becausethe airline staff neglect to manage the line every time, I opt not to insist on my first-to-board privilege preferring instead to do it at my leisure.

Filipinos are a submissive lot and do not mind the inconvenience government’s and business’ lack of professionalism subjects them to. (Just look at the long lines at the National Statistics Office or at SSS). I am, therefore, not surprised that this unprofessional and oh-so-typical behavior of airlines is tolerated.

But I have to wonder how our foreign guests (tourists, investors?) are reacting to this lack of civility. I wonder if they find it “more fun…” to board flights in this very unprofessional manner.

Why can’t airlines politely yet ever so firmly ask passengers to wait for their proper turn to board? Mothers with infants, the elderly and those needing special assistance should board first as clearly explained in the boarding procedure.