The microphone crackles as the airline customer service agent inadvertently holds the button down before addressing the group anxiously waiting at the boarding gate.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we will be starting our pre-boarding process momentarily. At this time I would like to ask if anyone would like to gate check his or her carry-on baggage free of charge. The flight is full today and in the interest of an on-time departure, we ask that anyone willing to gate check their carry-on baggage to come up to the counter at this time”.
Let’s just say that there is never a stampede to the counter to gate check a carry-on bag.
You can see the frustration in the eyes of the airline agent who knows that the excessive carry-on baggage combined with a convoluted boarding process will result in a delay.
The same airline agent now engages the microphone to announce the pre-boarding process.
“We would ask that our Priority partners, Gold Card Members and people who couldn’t imagine traveling economy even if it is only a 1 hour flight to please come forward for boarding”. Note: story embellishment is my friend.
A handful of folks come forward with their myriad of personal items and large, but still managed to fit into the sizing device, roller bags and they are greeted with a curtsy, a complimentary warm towel and sent along their way to the aircraft.
Next to be called upon, are the folks who require additional assistance and those traveling with small children.
I look down at my boarding pass to see if there is an indicator of when I might be called. The zone portion of my boarding pass is blank which adds to my confusion. I stand next to other outliers who also are unsure about where they fit into this pre-boarding scheme.
“We would now like to call any active military service members to come forward and present your credentials and boarding card– we thank you for your service”.
There are still approximately 150 people standing or sitting in the boarding lounge. I am wondering whom they might call next?
“We would like to call upon our Comfort Plus members, our Comfort Minus members, those seated in emergency exit rows, and those who have a name easy to pronounce to come forward”.
Still not me.
“We would now like to begin general boarding of our aircraft. Those seated in Main 1, please come forward”.
My mind begins to wander and I pretend that I am an agent announcing the boarding process. “Would anyone with green eyes please come forward to board the aircraft? We would now like to ask anyone who is left-handed to come forward for boarding. Now we are going to spin this wheel and if it lands on your seat, you may come forward for general boarding”.
My internal giggle comes out as a snort and I surprise the man standing beside me. Feeling the need to explain I say, “Isn’t the boarding process hilarious?” to which he responded with a eyebrow raise and took 2 steps to the right.
I hedge my bets and slide in between those boarding in Main 2 and Main 3, hoping that my lack of zone mention on my boarding card means that I can just fit in wherever.
The agent looks at my passport and my boarding card and says with a sigh, “Miss, you are after Main 3”.
“So sorry! It didn’t have anything noted so I just took a gamble” and I smiled my most Canadian ‘so sorry to have inconvenienced you’ smile.
She let me go through, but I am certain I heard her whisper to herself, “I love my job, I love my job, I love my job”.
There is a sense of accomplishment when you have passed through the stanchions from the boarding gate and have headed down towards the aircraft. I had barely walked 20 steps before the line came to a stop. Ahhhh….I knew what was happening! Everyone who boarded ahead of me is now trying to fit their carry on bag into the overhead bin and they are running out of space.
When I finally reach the aircraft, I can see that the first class and priority passengers are already receiving beverage service and the flight attendants at the back of the aircraft (where I am sitting) are watching passengers play the game, “fit the square peg in the round hole” with their carry on bags. Finally there is the gentleman who refuses to sit because he cannot find a spot to stow his large roller-bag – there is simply no room left!
Isn’t airline travel fun?
Judy Kucharuk loves flying the friendly skies.