I flew out to Phoenix this morning to spend today and tomorrow with Mom. When I checked in online yesterday, I knew something was up when my boarding pass said A45 on it. The A, sure, that was familiar, but the 45, aw, crap.
When I arrived, I saw the posts. Instead of the three roped off sections, there were two dials at the front of the lines with A, B, and C on the sides of the spinning dial. In the waiting area were poles with number segments on it: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, etc.
Turns out, the 45 was my place in the A group.
Once I realized how the boarding process was going to work (group A, numbers 1-30 line up and board while everyone sits and waits, then numbers 31-60 line up an board while groups B and C wait, etc.), I sat and waited for the second group to be called.
What I wasn't sure on with the new boarding procedures was if the people in the groups of 5 were supposed to board in order 31-32-33-34-35, or however they lined up 32-35-34-31-33. There was no indication on the poles, on the markers or by the line-up announcements. I figured I would just line up at the back of my 41-45 group, as I was 45 and that seemed fair.
Well, fair until some large annoying woman came up and pushed her way through the line. She bullied her way up the A groups to stand directly in front of me, blocking my easy stand-up-poof-I'm-in-line seat from the lines.
Admittedly, she angered me [off].
I decided I didn't care if I was supposed to be in the back of the 41-45 group. The guy at the gate didn't say one way or another, and I didn't want to be behind annoying woman when she spent who knows how long choosing among the hundred open seats. I know what seat I want, no one else seems to like the seat, it works for me, so don't make me wait to get there.
So, when the line started moving, and annoying woman shifted away from me, I stood up, walked to line behind number 40, and boarded the plane, four people in front of annoying woman.
Sure, I managed to board easily, but she managed the last laugh.
She sat directly in front of me on the plane. Annoying woman all the way to Phoenix.
I'm not sure how I feel about these new boarding procedures. It seems to work well with the new "pay extra for premium cattlecar seating" pay structure they have on the website. It also seems to address the mad rush to be first in line that seems to happen when the gate boarding announcement happens. It might even address concerns about people placing their luggage in line to save their places in line (Kris hates it when I do this). I'll reserve judgement for now, though. I'm not sure I like it. I'll know after I've flown a few times.