Sunday, September 9, 2007

I got an A . . .

I spent this weekend in Columbus, OH. No, I absolutely did not travel to Columbus to watch the Buckeyes play the University of Akron. I was in Columbus to gather with my family and support a great cause. A fuller of account of my visit and its purpose is coming soon to NTB.

My aunt and I flew back to Chicago early this evening via Southwest Airlines. Ever since my husband and I got married and finally began living in the same city after four years of a commuter relationship, I do not fly all that often. Now, with the bub around, I probably take fewer than a dozen flights a year. I generally don't participate in conversations about airlines miles, status, or upgrades (since I have never bothered to change my miles accounts to my married name, I have not earned a single mile since 2003, not that I had any airline "status" then either). In my mind, the better the food options in the concourse, the better the airport. In my limited recent experience, I have positive feelings about Southwest. The flights seem reasonably priced even if one is booking last minute, and things tend to run on time. The fact that Southwest does not assign seats but rather boarding groups does not really bother me either. My aunt and I printed our boarding passes yesterday evening and both were assigned A's. NTB.

So anyway, I'm no travel expert, but I am little confused. We arrive at the airport early because our ride to the airport needed to hit the road and head to Cincinnati. We have at least an hour and a half to read magazines and wait to board. No problem. I look at the labeled lines for groups A, B, and C. What do I see? Passengers already forming lines according to boarding groups for a flight that will not be boarding for over an hour. Now, I understand that some seats are better than others. I prefer an aisle seat if I can nab one. I like to be as far away from the lavatory as possible (due to the smell and the hovering that sometimes occurs when there is a line). And sure, I would rather be closer to the front of the plane than the back. I guess that I cannot imagine being so worried about getting an undesirable seat that I would be willing to sit on dirty, airport carpet for over an hour in order to improve my seating options. Now, I understand that being in group A, I did have the luxury of knowing that I would have the best third of the seats from which to choose. Indeed, without getting into line A until it was time to board, my aunt and I managed to nab seats in a two-seat exit row. I was pleased. She got the window she desired and I my aisle seat with no one in the middle. NTB. But even if I was in group B, I think I would feel fairly positive about my chances of getting an acceptable seat. And, if I was in group C, I certainly would not sit on dirty carpet for an hour (or even for twenty minutes) to have first dibs on the, so to speak, best of the worst. Plus, I need to point out that this was a 44-minute flight we were taking. Some passengers sat on the carpet longer than they sat in their seats.

Now, like I said, I don't fly all that often anymore. Perhaps I am over-simplifying the issue or judging too quickly. Perhaps Southwest oversells the flights and that my same attitude paired with a C boarding card would have left me without a seat at all. Maybe the C stragglers have to arm wrestle for the one middle seat that is left. I don't know, but I do know that I am not going to camp out for a seat on a flight for which I have purchased a ticket.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Always and interesting phenomenon to observe, although, I am not a frequent Southwest Flyer since there's nothing but pricey Delta flights in Cincy.

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