Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Responsibility avoidance: how the passive voice helps

Easyjet wants an extra fiver for something called 'Speedy Boarding Plus'. Presumably this means you get to jump the queue in the boarding sprint. Here's how they explain it:

"Speedy Boarders get the widest choice of seats provided you’re at the gate when boarding starts. At certain airports we offer Speedy Boarding Plus which means you can check in at a dedicated priority desk. If you are bussed to the aircraft we can’t guarantee that you’re off the bus first."

We need a connective between the last two sentences: I think it means 'However, if you are bussed...'. In fact it sounds like people who pay the fiver get onto the bus first, which usually means they are last off.

Of course it would not be Easyjet's fault if you paid them a fiver and 'you are bussed'. In the passive voice, it just happens. No one makes it happen. It's just the way it is.