People Standing In Line On Southwest Flights

This entry is actually one example of a bigger chafing: LACK OF COMMUNICATION. But let’s explore this fucking gem: people who don’t understand how to get in line for an airplane.

For those of you who have never flown Southwest, they do not have assigned seating when you purchase your ticket.

24 hours before your departure time, you can begin to check-in to your flight. Those who check-in sooner, board the plane sooner (and those who pay an extra $10, or some sort of fee, can check-in sooner than 24 hours). When checking-in, your boarding pass will have an A, B, or C letter, along with a number 1- 60.

When it’s time to board, they first call up Group A. They have two different lines: one line is for numbers 1- 30, and the second line is numbers 31- 60. To make it even easier for people, they have posts throughout the line, designating the numbers in increments of 5, so that people can see the general structure of the line.

Two lines for each lettered group.

Within the line, posts indicate sections of 5. This clearly shows where numbers 11-15 should stand.

After Group A has boarded, the same number system repeats with the B Group, and finally the C Group. Piece of cake, right? This can’t be made any more clear.

Yet, when the announcement states that boarding is about to begin, practically everyone in the entire gate stands up and starts crowding the area. Hold up. At most, 60 people should be getting up. What do the rest of you fuckers think you’re doing?

B & C: what’s the rush? All you’re doing is making congestion, and you could be chilling in your seat. Now you have to stand and wait, until you can stand and wait again. You have a number; there isn’t a race to the first spot in line. Go sit the fuck back down until it’s your turn.

And to the confused: look at your ticket. It has a letter and a number. Look at the tv screen. Do they match? If you still don’t understand, open your fucking ears. The dude or chick on the intercom is explaining how it all works. Or hey, COMMUNICATE with your fellow assholes, and ask someone to help. Wandering around aimlessly does nothing but create unnecessary traffic.


Now, to the dipshits that are rightfully in the area, at the correct time:

On most trips, I don’t bother with this line system, and I’ll delve further into that later on. But when I do, I walk directly to my section of the line, make EYE CONTACT (gasp!), smile, and say, “OK, I’m number 48, who’s 47, and who’s 49?”

After a moment of “deer-in-headlights” looks from the group, their eyes come back into focus as their brains begin to process that a stranger is speaking to them, and has asked a relevant question. I’ve gotten 3 types of responses:

1.) Fucking Weird: no verbal response, instead they just shift their bodies to form an open space.

2.) Awkward: a scared or shy, “I’m 47/49,” with drifting eyes.

3.) Normal: a laugh or some sort of salutation as we determine who goes where.

Regardless of the response, do you see what I did there? I COMMUNICATED. Everyone is thinking the same thing: “Am I/are they in the right spot in line?” But instead of simply asking this question, they strain their eyes, trying to peek at everyone else’s boarding pass.

Even if you are not a confident person, it is painless to JUST ASK where to go. It resolves the mini elephant in the room, and you’re not standing there, with your thumb up your ass, as you do a stupid little shuffle to get in line.

A couple days ago, I had a transfer in Phoenix, and this fucking douche executed a prime example of what NOT to do. And at the same time, he motivated me for this blog entry.

For this flight, I actually cared about getting on the plane right away, because I had just gotten over a cold, and I didn’t want anyone else to catch my bug. It was not a full flight, and I wanted to get near the back of the plane, to try and get a row to myself, or with only one other person.

I was number A59, so I went to the very back of the “31 - 60” line. Of course, there’s a crowd of people just standing around, taking up space. Here and there, I’m looking around to see if anyone else needs to get in line. As they do, I keep back-stepping to make sure I’m last.

In the meantime, I have my boarding pass face-up on my iPad, and I’m holding the iPad like a cigarette girl from a 1930’s casino. I’m intentionally doing this, to make it clearly visible, because I know that people prefer the sneaky eye spy, over COMMUNICATING.

It comes time for our line to board the plane, so I start moving with the rest of the cattle. All of a sudden, I feel some pressure against my leg. I realize it was some prick’s roller bag, as he is now shoulder-to-shoulder with me. He is attempting to casually bump me out of the way.

Are you fucking serious.

I stop walking, and as he gets in front of me, he half turns his head and does this meek little hand wave thing, to say, “thanks.”

What a bag of dicks.

Was that really necessary? He’s not wrong to go ahead of me, so why didn’t he just approach me and say, “Hey, I’m number [< 59], pardon me.”

To which I would have replied, “Oh yes, of course.”

I’ll even step to the side so that your stupid roller bag doesn’t fucking touch me.

But instead, you’re not going to say anything, avoid any kind of eye contact, wait until the line starts heading in, and then make your move to rudely cut me off? I bet you are an excellent driver too.

I taught myself a long time ago to not let stuff like that test me. It is indeed a test, after all. It’s the test of who’s an asshole, and who’s not. That guy failed. I win. That’s how I look at it.

But even with this reassuring and calming outlook, I try my best to avoid being near other people in large numbers. It is not an issue of anxiety (c’mon, I emcee and narrate to groups), but it is an issue of disappointment. I get frustrated with the clusterfucks that people cause, due to lack of communication, which is a derivative of an overall unawareness of surroundings.

People do not communicate and work together. Individually, these people just may be functioning members of society. But when together in a bunch, and no intentions are made clear, the entire group becomes one huge dumbass. Nothing flows smoothly, and everyone is looking around with McDonald’s on their breath, and blaming something or the other. No. The blame is everyone. Not one thing.

When I travel, I am usually solo, and I have one big suitcase that I check. I head to the area near my boarding gate, but keep on walking until I see another gate that is empty. I chill there until 20 minutes prior to my plane’s departure time, and that’s when I head over to my correct gate. At that point, everyone is standing up because they’re all in a rush to sit on the immobile plane, and I sit my ass down again, and wait for the herd to lessen.

I’ll get in line once it gets down to the final 3-4 people. Even when I have a “earlier” number on Southwest, I prefer to wait until the absolute last minute to board the stuffy plane. I figure that I am going to have to sit next to a couple clowns no matter what, and it doesn’t matter to me if I am in the middle, window, or aisle (on other airlines with assigned seats, I opt for the window). I’ll be the last one on, and there is always an available middle seat within the first few rows. I’ve avoided the crowd getting on the plane, and I won’t have to wait long to get off. Boo-yah.

This airport method has helped alleviate a lot of the frustration of traveling. The only times I care about getting on the plane sooner, is on trips where I am with someone, or quick trips where my carry-on luggage is all I have for the weekend. Then I’ll get in line at the right time to secure 2 seats next to each other, or a place overhead for my bag.

It would be amazing if people would work with each other, but as attention spans shorten, and interaction gets even more impersonal, both as a result of internet and device usage, I really don’t foresee simple human communication progressing into a more tactful direction. An even simpler action, that would make a huge impact, is if you fuckers would just open your eyes!

Something like that could work wonders, well beyond Southwest lines and airports. But let’s start with the topic of this blog. The line system at Southwest is not rocket science, so get your head out of your ass, pay attention, and get in line at the right time! Baby steps.