So, this happened


Received not one but TWO envelopes letting me know this:

Yay me! I flew enough on Southwest to make their A-List.

Which sucks because I will have enough miles to make United's Premier Status this year, too.

Too much flying this year.

We flew Shamu!


Once again, a group of us all went travelling together. This time, heading home, instead of the east coast(ish). A group of about 10 of us were flying from Florida, through Chicago on our way home. Our layover in Chicago involved a plane switch, so, despite my decision to "step off the plane" and stay for a day, I walked with the group to the next gate.

As we arrived at the new gate, Andy pondered, "I wonder if we flew Shamu."

The rest of us thought about Andy's pondering for a bit, and concluded that yes, based on the whale and underwater decoration in our previous plane, we were on the Shamu plane.

"But which one?" Andy continued.


Turns out, there are three Shamu planes. I didn't have anything else to do. Dad wasn't going to be at the airport for another hour or so, so I told the group, to most everyone's surprise, that I'd go see. I hadn't told anyone other than Andy and Chookie, oh, and the rep at the gate counter, that I wasn't continuing on home, so most everyone was concerned I'd make it back in time for my flight. Given my flight is tomorrow, I think I'll be okay...

So, I hoofed it back over to the gate we had left, to check out the plane. Yes, indeed, we had just flown Shamu:


I walked up to the nearest gate agent, and asked, "Hey, so, do you know which Shamu that is?" pointing to the plane out the window.

"That? Shamu? Oh, yes, let's see," he said. In his best VOA, answered, "that's the fourth Shamu."

I paused.

"Your website says there are only three."

He paused back.

"Oh, yeah, right. That's the third one."

Oooooooooh-kaaaaaaaaaay. So, apparently he didn't know either.

We did, however, fly one of them!

My people


Kris and I flew out to Arizona tonight to spend the weekend with my brother. He doesn't know it yet (and I won't be posting this blog until after this), but he's going to have a surprise party tomorrow, with his entire family singing happy birthday to him. Screaming the happy birthday song to him, if I have any say (scream?) in the matter.

Recently, Jessica asked me to check her in for her flight, as she wasn't going to be around a computer 24 hours before she was to fly out, and would miss the opportunity to be in the front of the first boarding group with Southwest. Since I would be in front of the computer (hell, when was I ever NOT in front of a computer, or with handy bluetooth wireless modem access to the Intarweb™, I mean, come on!), I checked her in to her flight, and she managed to be A24. Given that A1 - A20 is reserved for people who pay extra to board first, I did pretty well with that obsessive clicking to get her in at the beginning.

That check-in for her gave me the practice I needed to check myself in for tonight's flights. I had my browser poised and ready for a quick check-in, testing the server times with a few early attempts to make sure I was in the front of the virtual check-in line.

I improved my lot, and I was A23! Whoo!

My second check-in, which was for Kris, wasn't as good, and he boarded at A34. He had the opportunity to board with me, but chose to wait at A34 instead.

As I walked up to the designated section in line, I noticed that most of the people in line wouldn't meet my eye. They looked away as I attempted to talk to them. After a moment, I noticed they were all also covering up the numbers on their boarding passes. What the hell? was about all I could wonder, until I realized that they were standing so that I wouldn't be able to find my place in line and actually BE IN FRONT OF THESE PEOPLE.

Being A23 meant I should be the third in line, behind A21 and A22, the two of them were in a gap after the first seven people who did pay extra to board first. Instead, I was about 7th back, because no one was willing to share his number AND all of them were standing in the A21-A25 section, instead of the A26-A30 section where some of them should have been.

I looked at my fellow passengers and realized, too, that these paunchy, aging, balding, type-A personality, fat men were the same people who hovered over their keyboards exactly 23.6 hours before, AS I HAD DONE, hitting submit-submit-submit-reload-submit, to ensure each of them, too, received a good boarding number.

I can't believe I'm associated with these people.

I'm so embarrassed.

New boarding procedure


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.