This is a long one. Bear with me...there might be a few funnies :)
I went to Reno this past weekend and it reminded me of my love/hate relationship with both flying and also Southwest Airlines. The trip starts out per the usual check in the minute you are allowed in hopes that you get an "A" boarding pass...because heaven forbid you accidentally forget and end up in B or *Gasp C. I of course was not at a place where I could check in but thankfully my mom bailed me out of the first hurdle.
Next up is packing. Being a pregnant traveler makes things a little more complicated. Knowing I am traveling southwest I had to make my carry on luggage as light as I possibly could. It was a working trip so this was no easy feat. I took the bare minimum camera gear that I knew I could and made sure anything extra went into my almost 50 lb suitcase (hey at least it rolls right?). Success and off to the airport we go...
Checking in at SW is usually not too bad. I say usually. If you travel the wrong time of year you could be in big trouble. But off season and odd time of day can help a bit. So I check in with the mostly friendly people who oversee you as you punch all of your info into the kiosk. The gave me dirty looks (I said mostly friendly dont forget) while I tried to haul my 46 lb suitcase up on the scale. (Hello people see this GIGANTIC belly....Ok bad excuse. I couldnt lift that much weight on a good day! ha ha)
Off to security I go. Well the regular security line is so backed up there is no way I am waiting. The nice security guard checks the other side for me and they respond with oh less than 10 people in line. You have got to be kidding me? Thank you kind sir. Im outta here. I begin the hike to the not so close security line but hey...better than waiting for 20-30 minutes and cutting it a little close getting to my gate.
I believe SW's tagline is "We love our customers" or something along that lines. Okay. Fine. Then can someone PLEASE explain to me why the hell they must be the FARTHEST GATE from check in as possible? Maybe I just have bad airports. But dear lord. Must it be a 5 mile hike to get to the gate. Did I seriously just go through 3 escalator thingys that help get you there a touch faster? Yes that happened. 20 minutes later you FINALLY arrive at your gate...winded and sweating. Or at least me...carrying too much weight in more ways than one.
Now its our favorite part. We love our customers but we are going to herd you in like cattle. We dont want you to feel secure and let you have seat. No we want you to fight for it. Cause you know thats way more fun to watch right? So we take our lovely (hopefully) A boarding passes and go stand in our line. Now last time I checked we all learned to count in grade school. So I am pretty sure you stand in order of your card. So you know if it says 46-50 stand here. It should go 46, 47, 48, etc. At least thats how I learned to count. Well what do you know...I was 46. So I should have been in the front of that "group". Easy enough. Well I think the grumpy looking man forgot to count in his old age. The "50" clearly printed on his card meant that he should be first right? Huh. Well Im not gonna make a stink cause that would be silly...I know we will all get on the plane and we will all have seat. However its just funny to watch how people are with this whole herding cattle technique to get people on their planes. Each person handles it a little differently and it can be annoying. Since they love their customers so much can they PLEASE ASSIGN US A SEAT! There is something comforting about knowing where you are going to be on the plane and not having to worry who you are going to have to fight to get the aisle seat. Just saying.
So as we are standing in line to get on the plane I over hear the flight attendant who had just stepped off the plane that it smelled like BBQ Pigeon. Ummm. What? Oh but yes...the plane took out a bird or two on its way to Portland and is now in the engine. OMG. So we watch as the engine is cleaned and checked praying that all is well and that the birdy had a nice life...and that somehow all the windows in the plane magically opened to air it out. Right.
Ok we are cleared for take off. So on the plane we go. I of course like the aisle seat so I find the first open aisle I can. There is someone at the window seat and the middle seat is still open. So I pull out my phone and try to look fully engaged so no one will ask to sit in the middle. Oh come on...who hasnt done that? Well. Outta luck. A not so little person decides they are going to squeeze in the middle. Now can someone please tell me WHO gets those damn arm rests that are attached to the middle seat? Does that person automatically rank? All I know is that they were on the arm rest and half in my seat to where I could barely move without hitting or bumping them. HELLO! Can you put your arm a little more on your side! Im not so little myself these days and I couldnt even look at my magazine all the way open without being in there space...I mean MY space...The space they were invading. Did someone make these seats even smaller! Ugh. Good thing its only an hour-ish flight.
All buckled in and the pilot comes on the intercom. Well actually he was standing at the front of the plane talking to us so we could actually see him. He starts to apologize for the delay and lets us know about the birds and that all was well. At this point I was thinking WOW that was really nice of him to calm a few nerves and make us feel a little better. What a great Pilot. And then it happened............ He sings. Im not kidding. A modified version of "Leaving on a Jet plane" and then has the entire plane (well almost entire) chime in at the chorus. Umm. Did that just happen? I cant decide if I am happy or in shock...but all the while Im thinking......Only on Southwest have I ever had to experience serenading. I guess people love it? Me...I just think they are NUTS. I survived the singing though and thought we were safe from more torture...until we start to land. The freaking flight attendant decides its her turn for her version of "I love you...You love me..." You know the Barney song. That did it. I was officially annoyed that I now had to have that damn tune stuck in my head. Really lady? Can you come up with a better tune...PLEASE! That was just mean.
Now that I have suffered the no room in my seat and two painful singings I can get off this plane. I take the 5 mile hike to baggage claim and remind myself that if SW loved their customers they would not be the farthest gate possible. I also have to reflect on why I booked them again? Oh yeah....Well with the experiences I just had how could you not? An adventure is always good right? Ok. And its cheap. Thats right. Dirt cheap (well most days). So we suffer. But we get a good deal. So I guess the bottom line is you get what you pay for.
Enjoy your next flight~