Have you flown more than once? Forget that ridiculous question. Let me try again. Between two recent flights, did you notice boarding process was slightly different? I’m not saying significant changes- just little tweaks. After all, there are only so many ways you can get hundreds of anxious people and all their shit into a narrow metal tube in under 20 minutes.
You’ve undoubtedly seen the original, on big blob approach. Later, we got one long line that was improved (maybe?) by dozens of variations on the zone theme. This constant change tells us the gate staff (and their consultants) aren’t happy with the process. As much as we want to leave, they want us to go. It’s mutual.
If you went to the airport right now, you’d hear a call for people traveling with small children, active duty military, and then the 14 status levels of the airline’s silly priority program. After these people (which seems like half the plane,) general boarding starts. And this is a pointed reminder that there is nothing special about you. You’re a "general" or just an everyday person in an everyday seat.
I don’t want to be general, do you? No! General sucks. It’s boring. What if instead of some algorithmic zone assignment presumably based on your seat, we got creative.
Here are six different (probably not better) ways to get in the plane. Instead of, “We’re now boarding zone 1,” you’d hear, “We’re now boarding by…”
- Number of fast food bags. This is to help those of us less-prepared flyers know who to target if we get into some kind of “Alive” scenario between San Antonio and Atlanta- or when snack cart rolls up to the last row empty.
- Height. I don’t know what this would accomplish, but it might be fun to watch everyone try to arrange themselves like we’re lining up for the 2nd-grade class picture.
- How badly you want to go wherever you’re going. The more miserable people would get on first so they can enjoy watching their “company” join them.
- Personality type. We’d let the introverts and their noise-canceling headphones go and leave the extroverts behind to continue chatting about how f’ed up the boarding process is.
- The size of your “to do” list. All the working moms could get first dibs on the barf bag that they’ll use to continue listing once they’re told to power down their devices.
- And last but certainly not least, the ability to lift the damn bag you yourself packed. Agents could administer a short fitness and agility test at the gate for anyone looking suspiciously uncoordinated.
For argument’s sake, we presume getting on first is better. I don’t really believe this is true. Neither do you. 3A and 32B alike would prefer to spend as little time in our seats as possible. But our love of freedom is overridden by the issue of overhead compartments. We all want to “win” bin space. Settling down into our seats, we're only left with a sense of superiority and hope that no one in that long line down the aisle is coming for your middle seat. They are, and they’re an extrovert with a hot dog. It’s going to be a long flight
Then, there's this guy. He's wearing coat made of matted, fake bear fur. His girlfriend is wearing a matching throw rug. Now, this might seem judge-y about fashion but I don't mean it like that. I'm just fascinated. Where are they going? Why are they so cold? Later, I saw more of him than I cared to when he forgot to lock the bathroom door. #poopathome