Am I really part of the EasyJet community?
This article is taken from the April 2021 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issue for just £10.
Recently I received a personal invitation by message on my telephone to “Rejoin the EasyJet community.” I had not been aware until then that I had ever been a member of the EasyJet community, though I was aware that the last time I flew on the airline it had left me stranded overnight, without assistance or even information, in Berlin when my flight to Paris was cancelled. By the time I had finished paying the costs involved, I could have gone on a two-week holiday instead.
But it was the words personal and community that irritated me. Why should I feel any sense of community with tens of millions of people just because I too had on occasion flown by this airline, either because it appeared the cheapest way to go or because it was the only airline flying to my destination?
If I had ever been a member of the EasyJet community, I was also a member of the Boursin cheese, Waterman pen cartridge and Muji notebook community, as well as the Beaman’s pork pie community and the Alderson wild duck and uncooked ham hock community. In fact, I had communities coming out of my ears, I was a member of so many.
The word is intended to create a nice warm and pleasantly befuddled feeling, a little like the one experienced after the first alcoholic drink of the evening at the end of a hard day. As for the word personal, could anything well be more impersonal than a computer message generated from records dating back years? I suppose we are intended to imagine an employee patiently elaborating a list, much as the groom’s parents makes a list of guests to the wedding breakfast.
The fact is that words have connotations that may linger in the mind. How nice of EasyJet not to have forgotten me — except, of course, when I was alone in Berlin.
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