Saturday, February 14, 2015

Airline boarding process

I recently was flying out of Seattle when I realized just how low I ranked on the food chain of travel. I wasn’t flying first class. Or business class. And I didn’t have gold, silver or aluminum club status. I wasn’t a member of the military, or even wearing camo cargo pants ironically. I didn’t have small children or a feeble grandparent in tow. I myself wasn’t disabled, on crutches, in a wheelchair, or zooming around in one of those motorized La-Z-Boy scooters.

And no, I wasn’t sporting a Russell Wilson Seahawks jersey. Which on that day moved you to the front of the pre-boarding line.

In other words, my carry-on suitcase and I were hosed. It didn’t matter that I checked in 23 hours 59 minutes before our flight. I clearly was not part of any cool kids’ club. And I clearly need to get a credit card that earns me miles.

Can it really be called pre-boarding when 90 percent of passengers are locked and loaded by the time they announce Zone 1? Airlines want us to pay for upgrades so that we can board earlier and more importantly, feel as though we’re part of an elite group of flyers, the Star-Bellied Sneetches of the skies.

Here’s an idea: Maybe they should shift it to post-boarding. Board all of the seemingly normal, deodorant-wearing folks first and then call for the dregs. Wearing patchouli? You can finally board, and take the seat in the very last row. Lump all the Chatty Cathys together and seat them in the same row. Got a pupu platter of dietary issues? You get to board, only after the gate attendant flogs you with a bunch of lacinato kale that you get in lieu of the snack pack. Carrying a shit-ton of computer equipment so you can rock some in-flight spreadsheets? Enjoy sitting between the 6’7” dude in front of you and the inconsolable toddler who likes to kick behind you.

Or maybe the airlines should just go all Lord of the Flies at the boarding gate and let us fend for ourselves. Armed with my conch shell as my only carry-on item, I can assure you that I'll be elbowing my way to the exit row in short order, Russell Wilson jersey or no.

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