Friday, July 14, 2006

Flight time

Boy, I hate Southwest Airlines.

Getting from John Wayne Airport in OC to Sacramento was a pain in the ass...
There was a dearth of choices to get from SNA to SMF. In the end, I was forced
(at gunpoint) to take Southwest Airlines.
(I have to tall you, I'm not a fan of cattle-car airlines. I know the drill though, that in order to get a good seat, you have to be in line early... So 24 hours before my flight, I checked in on-line. Then, with my flight leaving at 9:30, I arrived right at 7:00. Actually on the SWA website the recommended arrival time for SNA was 90 minutes before the flight... So there I was.
I got checked in- dropped my bags and went to the gate to wait.
(From the "It's a small World Department: I ran into Eddie Okuno from ABC/ESPN at the airport... We had a small chit-chat in regards to the NBA pre-season games, especially the games in Europe and in Japan. More on those events later.)

Gate 2 had a flight departing to Las Vegas before the Sacramento flight...

(Something odd there- there were 9 (count 'em, 9) people in wheelchairs, and at least 8 more folks in walkers or otherwise impaired enough to need an appliance to get around that were on the flight to Las Vegas... Hope the casinos are ADA compliant... Looks like a fun time in Vegas this week, maybe an octogenarian quadrapelegic convention at Harrahs? Appearently SWA is THE airline for Mobility-impaired Seniors traveling to throw their children's inheritence away.)

Anyway- after the Vegas flight departed, I staked out the first position in the "A" group, and defended it with the gusto of a hound dog...
The line for the A group built quickly and occasionally some savvy Southwest traveler would try to jump to the front by trying to stand around the corner from where I was heading up the line, intending to jump out at the last second.
Unfortunately for them, I was pissed off enough for having to ride on SWA that I had no problem confronting these idiots.
Reading the body language was easy...
I sat with my crossword puzzle and watched as people walked up the the gate and then saw the 35 or so people in line for the "A" group, then they would look around the waiting area to see how they could find a way to circumvent going to the back of the line. I watched them look up and down the line, look back at their ticket, then at the large "A" sign directly over my head, then try to nonchalantly stand by the wall between the gate and the front of the line...
"Excuse me..." I would start.
"Do you have an A boarding pass?"
"Uh... Yes."
"Then the end of the line is back there... All these people took special effort to get to the airport early so they could get in line according to Southwest's established procedures... I doubt they would take kindly to someone making up their own rules in order to improve their chances for a prime seat, thus negating their proactive measures."
The Queue Jumper would sheepishly move to the back of the line, usually muttering something about Neo-Nazi air travelers and I-paid-my-money-too...

One woman was really blantant... A woman of about 35, well dressed, attractive, walked up about 10 minutes before loading time. She stood next to me and asked if this was the A group line. (Like she couldn't see the sign or something...) then asked a few other inane questions (Do you fly out of here often?) as she sat her bags down.
I finally turned to her and asked if she had an "A" boarding pass...
She held it up so I could see it.
"Well.. you're in the right place, but at the wrong end of the line. The end of the line is back there-" I said, hooking my thumb over my shoulder.
She had a stunned look- like I had slapped her with a mackerel.
Apperently the "Chatting up a spot in line" method usually works pretty good for her, alas, she had come up against someone who is impervious to her feminine charm.

The guy next to me, who had arrived about 2 minutes after I got my spot in line, shook his head in amazement.
"People never cease to amaze me."
I don't know if he was talking about me, or her. Personally, I don't care.
I got the bulkhead seat on the aisle... Exactly what I wanted.
The flight was short and uneventful, and I even got my bags in almost record-time.

I still hate Southwest Airlines.

Famous out-

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