It would figure that exactly seven days from when we’ll be leaving on vacation, I’d see an article about some new shit the airlines are thinking about doing: http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/airlines-test-new-ways-board-planes-8C11390531
I love to fly… although I found that flying for more than eight hours will eventually get on my nerves. When I was working, I’d have to fly to many places to handle stuff and my inner child would be thrilled to know that I’d get that chance to once again feel that invisible hand pressing me back into my seat as the plane hurtles down the runway and then feel that slight downward push when it rotates up – man, that is just so much fun!
Here lately, though, there are things that tend to take some of the fun out of flying, oh, like the TSA – even though I know they gotta do what they’ve been tasked to do. Because I no longer move well enough to walk through the airport, I get to ride in a wheelchair which, to me, is a necessary embarrassment; pre-stroke, I could dance through the crowds with either a great deal of grace or a lot of force – I don’t have a problem bumping people out of my way so I can get to the gate… and now, here’s the tie-in to the above-referenced article… getting on the plane.
Before my stroke, man, I used to hate the various boarding processes – each airline does it differently – because of the smarmy looks the first class passengers would give people when boarding the aircraft first. I would see people on crutches and in wheelchairs boarding, the folks with small children, and I’d just shake my head because even if I were in the next group to board, I didn’t enjoy having to fight my way down those narrow aisle trying to get to my assigned seat.
I’ve been elbowed, kneed in the thigh, and bumped around like a ball in a pinball machine and the farther back in the plane I had to sit, the more I’d wind up feeling like I got mugged. You try to be polite about it, trying to excuse yourself for almost knocking someone on their ass because the guy trying to stuff the rather large bag into the overhead almost elbowed you in the face; I’ve felt my blood pressure rising when I finally get to my assigned seat… and someone’s sitting in it. Today, I need an aisle seat but, again before the stroke, I liked window seats just so I could stare at whatever could be seen, even if it were just clouds – I find it very relaxing.
I quickly learned that if I want to get to my seat in a timely fashion, I had to get ghetto on my fellow travelers; I’d put my best intimidating look on my face and make my way down the aisle in the same mindset I used during judo contests: If you’re not gonna move, I can and will move you and, fuck no, I ain’t apologizing for a damned thing – you should have gotten the hell out of my way.
Boarding the aircraft has always been a problem and when I read the article, all I could do was shake my head sadly because the proposed “new ways” don’t appear to do a whole lot to solve this problem because the main issue in aircraft boarding isn’t really getting the people onto the aircraft – it’s getting them settled into their seats as quickly as possible and I guess that people figure that if they had to haul ass to get to the airport in enough time to get through security, once they’re on the plane, hmm, they don’t have to be in a hurry to put their ass in their seat.
The airlines configure their various aircraft to get as many asses in seats as they can and no matter how they try to rethink the boarding process, all they’ve really done is create more of a traffic jam in the aisle and I just don’t think they can come up with an efficient and effective way to get people into their seats in an orderly fashion…