The last time I flew was over Memorial Day weekend, when I was chosen for the full body scan and refused to walk into the machine. This is actually a long span of time for me to go without flying. Usually I have to travel for business at least once or twice a month, but I guess I’ve been going through a dry spell. At any rate, at the airport on Monday evening, I was reminded of why I normally try to fly Southwest. I flew United only because there were more direct flights to where I was going. And was reminded through a cancellation, delay, and reroute via a connection (I always fly direct) why I stopped flying United. But all of that is neither here nor there, and I’m over it. The purpose of this post is about the ridiculousness of people once a plane starts boarding.
On Southwest, you don’t deal with these issues because everyone has a letter and a number, and everyone lines up according to letter and number, single file, in order. And boarding commences. Don’t try to cheat your way before it’s your turn either, because the Southwest personnel are vigilant.
Not so much on the other airlines. My plane was a Boeing 747, full flight, so over 300 people were hanging around the boarding area at O’Hare waiting for the flight to start boarding. Now remember, even United now has boarding sections in large black lettering on each ticket. You are only supposed to board the plane when your section is called. (Purportedly, this is to make the boarding process go faster, but I’m not sure that effect has been reached.) So, the United boarding agent makes the announcement for First Class to start boarding, and chaos ensues. These are the types of people you get:
1. People who have high boarding section numbers (like 3 or 4), but yet insist upon crowding around the boarding agent, even though their section isn’t going to be called for at least twenty minutes. These people seem to have no clue that they are blocking the area that the lower section numbers need to walk through in order to get on the plane so that the higher section numbers can be called. It’s like they are purposely making their wait longer. To make it worse, they won’t even move when the people who are holding tickets with the section number being called are trying to get through. They stand there and either stare or ignore, and even if the boarding agent tells people to move away from the boarding area so people can get through, they still continue to stand right there. I hate these people.
2. People who try to board outside of the section number. These are the people who have a section 3 or 4 boarding pass, yet try to board when section 1 is boarding. It’s bizarre and annoying. Why do these people think the rules don’t apply to them? Occasionally, the boarding agent will catch them and tell them to wait; otherwise, they get on. I guess this is why they continue to do it. I think if you try to do this and get called on it they should make you board the plane last.
3. People who hang back and simply wait for their section to be called. These are the people who are doing it right.
Ah, flying. What a joy.