Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Cattle Car Airlines: I think I'd rather have a seat assignment

New London, Connecticut. Snow. Another thing I should'a known. New England in the winter equals snow. At least I packed gloves and a hat along with my winter jacket.

Getting here was, er, interesting. I flew Cattle Car Airlines, sometimes known as Southwest Airlines. The flight from Norfolk to Baltimore was uneventful. The game plan was to change planes and fly to Providence. I felt pretty good with my "A" group boarding pass in my pocket.

I walked off the jet way into the concourse a bit dazed. In order to cut costs, Southwest doesn't have agents meet incoming flights, so I wandered into the concourse looking for the screens announcing arrivals and departures. Again, I'm sure to minimize costs, Southwest doesn't go overboard to provide many screens.

We arrived at Gate "C4." I headed left and stumbled over to the counter midway between C4 and C2 and discovered two flights listed for Providence: my scheduled flight at 8:20 and an earlier flight listed as 6:15 (and delayed). "Hmmm," I thought, "I wonder if I can change flights?"

Turns out the earlier flight wasn't yet in and, yes, they could swap my ticket for me. I ended up with a "B" group boarding pass. "Okay," thought I, "I can live with that," so I wandered the concourse for a couple of minutes and then planted my fat ass at the head of the line for the "B" group. I sat down and started to read Covey's latest read, The 8th Habit.

I like sitting on the aisle. I like having an empty seat next to me. I like having the world at my feet.

About twenty minutes after I sat down, the gate agent announced the plane was inbound, and they'd be getting us on through Gate C4 as soon as possible. "Excellent," I muttered to myself, "I'm set-up for an aisle seat."

The crowd started to swell and the "A" line filled up and the "B" line grew long behind me. Good planning on my part.

And then, of course, playing the Cattle Car game didn't pay off. "We're sorry to announce we'll be using Gate 'C4' for this flight; the plane pulled into the wrong gate, and we ask you to move to C4."

Everyone did an about face and walked across the waiting area to new gate. Yes, an about-face.

So, whereas I was the first "B" group passenger, I was now, yes, the last "B" group passenger.

Do I really care that the agent was apologetic when he made the announcement? No. Do I care they greeted me with a smile as I boarded at the tail end of the "B" group? Nope. I played by their own rules... and they changed the rules in the middle of the game...

Have I mentioned how I dislike Cattle Car Airlines?

No comments:

Post a Comment