An Urgent Call for Airline Reform

Now I don’t want to go off on a rant here but I guess I’m going to.  Dennis Miller and Dan Harmon have taught me to at least apologize and disavow the rant before it begins.  With that out of the way, here we go.

Planes should be boarded differently.  I do not understand why the current system is in place.  Now, I’m talking about planes with assigned seating here and not the free-for-all, land-grabbing flights like Southwest and Airtran.  I understand there that you’re paying more to get on sooner and get your choice of seats.  That makes total sense.

Don’t try to tell me that all the seats are the same.  Window seats are the best for people who are trying to sleep on the plane or do not want to get up during the flight.  Aisles are great for people who are tall or have weak bladders.  The center seat is an awful abomination.  Unless you’re small and related to the people you’re sitting next to, you’re going to have a bad ride.  Even if you meet those qualifications, it’s going to be a cramped ride. I’ve been there. I know.
Maybe it’s just me who does not like to awkwardly touch strangers.

Personally, for short flights I like an aisle seat near the front of the plane.  That way, I can get off the plane faster which is very useful if I have a short layover or it’s midnight and I want to get home and to bed.  On long flights, I like a window seat near the front of the plane.  I can lean against the window or wall and even if I can’t fall asleep, I can shut my eyes and rest without worrying about leaning on a stranger.  Also, having the window seat means that whatever I am doing won’t be interrupted by somebody having to go to the bathroom.

What was my original point?  Oh right, plane boarding reform.  My main problem is the system of “zones” or “boarding groups” or whatever each airline calls them.  If you are in zone 1 then you board first (except for Platinum A+ Special Premier Preferred Members, of course).  Zone 2 gets on the plane next and so on and on.  This is ridiculous.

In my mind, I want to be on that plane as little as possible.  If there is assigned seating, what advantage does boarding first get you?  Moreover, when somebody with an aisle seat is in Zone 2 and the window or center seats are in zone 4 and 6 then there’s a problem.  Somebody is going to have get back out of their seat and make way for people sitting next to them.  It slows boarding and creates a traffic jam.

Also, people in the back of the plane could be in a later zone than people in the front.  The people in the front are still putting their bags in the overhead and finding their seats are in the way.  What’s up with that?

Here’s what I propose:  Keep the zones and just redefine them.

Zone 1 = Rear of plane and in a window seat
Zone 2 = Rear of plane and in a middle/aisle seat
Zone 3 = Middle of the plane and in a window seat

And so on, I’m sure you get the idea.  Load the people in the back ahead of the people in the front.  Load the windows before the aisles.  I don’t give a damn whether first class goes before this or after because I’ve never been in it and probably never will.  Those with conditions making it difficult to board should be boarded in the appropriate zone so they don’t have to stand up for anyone.  Babies and small children should be put in the cargo hold.

I wrote this on the first of three flights in two days but it’s something I have thought about for quite some time.

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