I am very disappointed with Southwest Airlines. They've implemented a new seating system which is really pretty awful, and I would like to discuss it here in hopes that someone less lazy than me starts a petition.
For those who don't know, the super hip new idea is to get rid of seating assignments, and instead assign each passenger a boarding "zone," and once your zone is called you can embark and sit wherever you want on the plane. Wherever you want?! That sounds GREAT! Imagine the possibilities! On the surface yes, but when you get down to it, all the possibilities provide problems...
In such close quarters, you can't help but care deeply about what the people you are going to be sandwiched between for a matter of hours look like. This causes a shift from racial profiling at security to facial profiling on the plane.
You find yourself slowly wandering down the aisle, no particular destination in mind, looking left then right, scanning faces, as if you're trying to spot a suitable life partner. You want to sit by people who look friendly and happy (but not so much so they are going to talk to you - I hate airplane small talk, I just want to sleep), not irritated and mean - no one likes that energy on a plane. You need to avoid people who look like potential armrest hogs, window hogs, sweaty hogs, snorers, vomiters, loud eaters, open sneezers, short short-wearers, frequent pee-ers, tomato juice drinkers, smelly farters and heavy perspire-ers. All of this makes you feel like a bad person because you're judging people by how they look, but you were forced into it by Southwest and their need to be different.
What if the only two seat options left are next to a fat guy or next to a skinny guy? Now you feel like a jerk for picking the skinny guy and reminding the fat guy that he's fat and no one wants to sit with him! And what if the seat you want is right next to an attractive member of the opposite sex? Then, if you sit there, you're labelled by them and everyone else as one who shamelessly hits on complete strangers at any and every opportunity. You don't want this label (even if it is an accurate one) so you are forced to choose another seat just because this person got assigned a higher boarding zone than you and happens to be attractive. How did Southwest not think of these potential issues before implementing this disaster? Just put me in a seat! If I don't like it I'll just have to deal, rather than sit for 4 hours in deep regret of my decision to park myself next to the guy who settles on clipping his fingernails all over my tray table as an appropriate airplane activity (seriously, it happened to me, and one clipping flew into my ginger ale).
Don't go book your flight on Southwest thinking it all only starts at boarding. Oh no, it begins at the gate where you are forced to line up like prisoners by boarding zone and by number within said boarding zone, and you must do so according to a series of very confusing numbered columns and partitioning TV screens. You are not aware of other passengers' boarding zone numbers and so if you want to line up numerically according to Southwest seating policy, you must creepily peak at your fellow zone patron's boarding passes, or ask them what their numbers are, to which they look at you like you're a nutcase, to which you realize you are a nutcase for asking, which leads you to believe Southwest views all their customers as nutcases.
If you want to write the petition, feel free to use any of the above material.
And what's the deal with window people? Why on EARTH would you ever want the window seat if you are over the age of 12? Have you ever had the window seat and had to pee? Do you not feel any remorse at all for making two separate people have to close their book, take off their headphones, unbuckle their seat belt, lift their drink, put their book, headphones and drink in their lap, lift their tray table, partly stand up, balance their items on their seat, fully stand up, and step out into the aisle? By the time they repeat all the above steps in reverse order to sit back down, you're back from your precious pee and they have to do it all over again. And what if they're sleeping? Is there anything more awkward than waking up a stranger? I think every seat on an airplane should also be a toilet, so that window people can sit at their little window and not be a nuisance.
It's not like you can see anything out there for 95% of the flight anyway. The only advantage I can think of is that you can lean on the window. I suppose that's something.
I'm an aisle kind of guy myself. I like to lean heavily on my own personal outside armrest (all others are fought over viciously), and stretch my legs out. That's right, I'm one of those guys who leans into the aisle. Flight attendants hate me, but it's ok because it's their job to pretend that they like me anyways, and I'm very easily convinced by fake nice attitudes. Also, I've mastered the art of sleeping but still being fully aware when the drink cart is coming. I've had far too many bruised shoulders and run-over toes to ever be 100% unconscious on a plane.
That's all I have on air travel for now.
Does anyone else get the feeling my blog should really be called, "First World Problems?"