I just flew back to the US. On this trip I got a direct flight, to avoid problems.
When I got to Heathrow airport, I followed the signs to Step 1: a machine that asked me to put my passport under the scanner, left me waiting a while, then instructed me to go to Step 2: the bag drop area.
At the bag drop area, the woman who was checking my bag said I had not checked in in Step 1. I said I had, but she repeated that I had not checked in, cut short my explanations, asked for my address and routine information, and then, as she gave me my boarding pass, said once again: "Why did you tell me you checked in? You did not check in!"
I was slow to catch on and realize that she believed, not that there had been a malfunction, but that I was lying. After leaving the counter, as I thought about that unhappy exchange and wondered why she had repeated her complaint *after* checking me in, it occured to me to look at my boarding pass: my seat assignment had been changed, and I now had a middle seat on the last row of the flight! Clearly she had punished me for lying by giving me the worst seat possible.
Why do I have such bad luck when flying? The frequency of my bad experiences suggests that I may have an attitude problem. The airline and airport staff hold passengers in their power and are free to control their travel in whichever way pleases them. I lack the instinct to apologize profusely when an incident happens such as a malfunctioning scanner. I tend to consider that it's their problem, not mine -- and that shows in my indifferent, carefree responses. Obviously, I need to be punished so as to correct that arrogant attitude. Wise passengers know to adapt to the situation, show their constant worry that they may accidentally have done something wrong, and display appropriately submissive humility. But I am a slow learner.