Air travel is always a great provider of stupid people in action. Lately, I have had the unfortunate occurrence of flying Southwest—the LUV airline—a couple of times. In general, I’m a big snobby queen about air travel. Even though I spend the vast majority of my time in coach, I prefer airlines where there is at least a possibility I could get upgraded and fly with what is usually a bunch of overweight traveling salesmen logging their 8 millionth mile of the year.
And that is decidedly NOT the Southwest model. Southwest is like Yokel Air now. Amateur travelers and Tea Party devotees, with a dash of Bumpkin Businessman for spice.
Back in the old days, Southwest was just easy and fun. It was no fuss, you jumped on, you jumped off and the cute young flight attendants were hired as much for their senses of humor as they were for their ability to actually attend.
Then apparently the hiring department of Southwest was taken over by the cast of Hee Haw. Jesus H. Christ, could they BE more cornpone. The made up songs, the banjo accents—I’m surprised they don’t sell tooth black out, fake freckles and pieces of straw in the company store.
But all of that pales in comparison to the surliness I experienced during a recent boarding.
The Beloved and I were flying back from a crazy weekend in LA (where we were entertained by a couple of Top Chefs, a Real Housewife, some real chefs and, of course, dear friends. When I printed out our boarding passes, his was A59. Not great, but not horrible. I printed mine out immediately after and it was A6. Suh-weet! I wasn’t sure how I had scored such a great boarding number, but figured it had something to do with the fact I had flown down at a different time, and perhaps my fare category was different.
As I’m standing in line, I notice another passenger has a boarding card for A6. Hmmm. As I hand my boarding pass to the gate agent and begin to head into the jetway, I notice that my card doesn’t ping it’s approval. Of course, I should have kept walking, but I turned to see what the problem was. The gate agent was standing there with a sullen look on her face.
“Is there a problem?” WHY? Why did I ask? Just get on the damn plane.
“Um … yeah. You’re not A6, you’re A60.” This made perfect sense, given that my Beloved’s number was 59. But that wasn’t what my card SAID.
“But it says A6.”
She pointed to a small number 60 in the lower corner of the boarding pass, then piled on, adding, “And it doesn’t say “Business Select.”
And it doesn’t say you have to be such a hateful cow, either. She sent me back to slot 60.
From my perspective—the perspective of the CUSTOMER—it shouldn’t be about what my fucking ticket DOESN’T say. It should be about what it does say. It wasn’t like the printer left off a zero. It was very clear that I had been assigned that number. And I’m sure I could have fought it, but it was late and I was tired and waiting in line with my Beloved is really a lovely way to spend time, so I didn’t protest.
My ticket also didn’t say that I wanted to be seated across from an absolutely horrible screaming child, spoiled rotten beyond belief, with a couple of ineffectual, milquetoast parents who mistook placation for punishment.
But that’s what I wound up with. And I was feeling the H8.