Third World Expectations in the ´First World´

As I was waiting at the Barcelona airport for three hours yesterday trying to make a lost baggage claim, I realized I was angrier than I usually get when the airline loses my bags. After all, this is certainly not the first time my luggage didn´t make it to the same destination as I did, or made it late or damaged. Last year alone, airlines worldwide misplaced 3.7 million bags, according to USA Today.

It was also not the first time service people in charge were rude, slow and not helpful. Yesterday was the first time, however, that the sole baggage claim service woman closed the window and announced she was taking an hour-long lunch. The line of some 45 customers did not faze her.

In India, Egypt or China I would have been bummed, but would have probably laughed it off and considered it a cultural experience. However, in Barcelona, this simply was not acceptable. Last time I checked, Spain was considered a developed country?

When one travels throughout the Western world, one assumes a certain level of service. That is, after all, why a lot of people split their vacation time between the hard, cheap, adventurous trips to underdeveloped countries and those relaxing, civilized, but expensive, trips to Western Europe or North America.

However, when you pay First World prices and get Third World service, you feel cheated. It´s all about expectations. Next time I am at the Barcelona airport, I will remember to put on my ready-for-anything hat.

This certainly puts Barcelona on my list of nightmare baggage claim cities, together with Munich and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Any additional airports to avoid in the so-called developed world?