Life in the Boomer Lane has had a lot of time lately to do an in-depth assessment of airline boarding policies. This has been done primarily while she has been boarding. And, since she has flown an inordinate number of times recently (due primarily to having three children in three completely different places, and having flights with more legs than most spiders), she has some observations.
LBL doesn’t understand why, against all laws of physics, planes are boarded front to back. Aside from a certain sexual position that remains out of the scope of this blog post but works perfectly well, we usually don’t load things in the real world front to back.
LBL has asked this question and the usual answer is that those people who are Extremely Important Fliers and have seats up front, start the process. These are Gold Club Members, Platinum Club Members, Diamond Encrusted-Collared Tiny Dog Members, and People Who Are Rich But Not Rich Enough to Afford Their own Plane.
LBL understands this completely, and she understands the airlines desire to favor some travelers over others. Just as she and other mostly other older people who have had hip and knee replacements are singled out for special TSA heavy fondling, she knows that some travelers deserve those mighty special up front seats.
What she doesn’t understand is why, after these VIPs are boarded, the plane can’t then board from back to front. She has heard reasons for this, but they make no more sense to her than does the Social Security explanation of why she is being screwed out of her full entitlement.
LBL, no matter how far in advance she purchases tickets, and no matter where in the plane she selects her seats, is always Zone 4. By the time she boards with the rest of the Zone 4 types, the plane is full to bursting. Other Zone Types are still trying to fit lockers in the overhead, altercations are brewing between two passengers who each declare they have the same seat, a woman is loudly making a general request to switch seats with someone so she can be near her husband (while the husband pretends to have no knowledge of what is going on), a contingent of Very Large People is taking up their seat space and the space of all rows around them, and at least one passenger is unwrapping a large sub.
While all this is going on, all the Zone 4 Types have to somehow get from the front of the plane to the back, in one piece, and still attached to their carry ons. It’s a daunting process, helped little by flight attendants requesting that everyone sit down so Zone 4s can find their seats. They are ignored. Usually the plane is in mid-flight, while some Zone 4s are still trying to find 28F, 23C, and 25A.
Some airlines, over the years have attempted to rectify the situation, usually by using the same computer programs as those that unravel human DNA. This has resulted in boarding people according to the date they purchased tickets, seats that slide out-of-the-way (presumably not with people in them), boarding window seats first, not allowing carry ons, and having a general lottery of boarding in which tickets can be purchased at neighborhood 7-11s. About the only proposal that hasn’t been put forward is to board people from back to front.
LBL will now put forth a suggestion: Have all Zone 4 flyers board the plane, along with the Diamond Encrusted Platinum Quadruple Mileage Types. We carry our own carry ons, as well as theirs. When they are seated, we hand them their carry ons. They get to feel superior and we get to board a relatively empty plane and get settled.
LBL will now accept other suggestions from readers, regarding improvements to the boarding process. She will not, however, accept suggestions from Now Husband, who maintains that the main problem with the boarding process is LBL herself, and her penchant for chatting people up while they are trying to find their seats and stow their carry ons. LBL disagrees. She sees herself as free entertainment. And, in lieu of a free snack, that’s a pretty good deal.
(Next up: How to Eat An Entire Pint of coffee Haagen Dazs without a spoon, while driving)