Monday, May 13, 2013

What’s Your Priority (Boarding)?

It’s all about priorities, isn't it? There are so many things vying for our attention right now, we have to be choosy how we spend our time. 

Some things are a given: we need to eat and sleep. 

 Some things are more pressing that others: pick up the kids from school or take a nap. 

 And then there are priorities where we need to make a decision on which is more important: do we do the laundry or go buy groceries? 

I just returned from a writer’s conference which was so far away, I had to take an airplane to get there and back. I observed something rather interesting in the process: priority boarding

When I checked in for my flight, I was able to do so from my home computer. There was an option to upgrade my “flying experience.” I was curious, so I checked it out. For an extra 50 bucks, I could hang out in the Delta Sky Lounge (or something like that). That didn’t appeal to me at all, maybe because I’d never been in one so I wasn’t willing to spend $50 to find out what it was like. 

The second upgrade option? For an extra $10 I could bump up my priority boarding. I’ll admit: I don’t understand this at all. 

And here’s why: I’m taller than average at 6’3”. Even if I was of average size, I’m not convinced I’d find the seats on the plane more comfortable than the seats in the waiting area. Why would I want to pay extra to move from a fairly comfortable waiting area to a cramped airplane seat sooner than I have to? 

Now, I can understand there may be some exceptions. Some carriers don’t have assigned seats. I’ve never flown on one of those. Also, some people are very particular about where they store their carry-on luggage, so they want to get on first—but is where you store your carry-on so important that you are willing to sit on an airplane up to 30 minutes longer than you have to? 

For this last trip, I waited until the final boarding call before I got on. As I sat with my legs stretched out, I watched as people stood in line for up to 20 minutes, often jockeying for position so they could get on the plane just that much sooner. It baffled me. 

Maybe next time I go to the dentist to have work done, I’ll see if I can pay them extra to have them slow down—you know, really take their time as they drill into my teeth. Dentists should jump at the idea because heck, it’s working for the airlines.

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