Have "we" forgotten the purpose?

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by igloocoder, Apr 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. igloocoder
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    igloocoder Silver Member

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    This morning was one of the mornings. I'm sure what made me have these thoughts with such conviction. I've seen most of it before. Maybe it was a combination of fatigue, mild illness and straw on a camel's back. I'm not sure...but it certainly has had me thinking for the past number of hours.

    As per my normal Monday routine, I connected in YYZ to AC602. Usually the flight is packed and it normally has about 30-40 E/SE/*G/J passengers. Today was no exception. In fact they were soliciting for volunteers when I arrived at the gate. As is usual, the gate lice were out in their normal mish-mash array that effectively clogged the entire gate area.

    At the normal time for boarding the GA begins the manual announcement..."This will serve as a pre-boarding announcement only. If you are travelling with small children or need extra time to board, you may do so now." I swear that before she had finished the word "pre-boarding" the status boarding crowd had hit the gate area like vultures on a carcass. To the credit of the GAs, they set out the priority/economy lanes and announced who should use which.

    But as you'd expect with 40 status holders boarding, the economy lane was less used. So of course that's a free pass to the status members to push their way into that line. As a result, 3-5 families with infant children, strollers and other necessary accoutrements are lost in the mob scene. On seeing this, I figured it was prudent to wait until the main cabin was called before I made my move. When I boarded there still were parents with infants who were trying to fight to get boarded.

    All of the chaos, the lack of common sense and the immediate suspension of common courtesy planted some thoughts in my mind. At the root of them is the question of if we (the collective status holding we in this case) become so enamoured with the label assigned us that nobody else matters? Have we become so focussed on gathering satisfaction from making use of our benefits that everyone else can be bullied or trampled on. Have we lost ourselves in striving for more status, more points and more recognition that we're willing to make the travel experience worse for others while we try to make it better for ourselves?

    Maybe it's all the factors I listed at the start that have made me more deeply introspective than normal and I'll forget about all of this by Friday when I fly home. Maybe I won't. Friday will tell.

    To end on a positive, the gate agents in YEG last night proactively walked the boarding area and spoke to families, elderly and crippled prior to announcing pre-boarding. All that were approached were escorted to the gate, processed and boarded prior to any announcement being made. I suspect that they all thought it was a wonderful way to be treated and it possibly made the experience less stressful. I've seen this gate agent do the same thing in the past and his initiative is what makes great experiences, great memories and great word of mouth marketing.

    Anyways...writing this was somewhat cathartic. Apologies if it comes across as time wasted. I certainly don't want this to turn into a "what's wrong with the boarding process" thread. It is intended to be about the psyche of status passengers.
     
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  2. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Well stated, and good food for thought this afternoon. I've had discussions with members of this forum and other flyers at airports that occasionally make me wonder this very same thing.

    To some degree, I think it's bound to happen, but it never hurts to take a step back and look at the bigger picture from time to time.
     
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  3. CdnTraveller
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    CdnTraveller Silver Member

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    What great customer service! Too bad it's become necessary.
     
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  4. NordsFan
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    NordsFan Silver Member

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    The answer to your valid questions is, unfortunately, "Yes".

    I think the truths in your post also apply to the way some FFers treat airline staff (i.e. shabbily..) whether in person, on the phone and occasionally on the IBBs we frequent.
     
  5. I too find this annoying and normally let families etc go ahead of me but most others don't do that. I think part of the problem is the announcement AC uses. Immediately after mentioning the families, people requiring assistance or more time etc, the announcement proceeds to say that J pax, SE/E/*G may board at their leisure, which of course means immediately for most. So before the families and elderly people can even get close to the gate (or get out of their seats in some cases), the status pax are already going down the jetway. If the announcement stopped right after those people with families or requiring assistance, it might improve (but then enforce it at the desk). Or do what the GA's in YEG were doing, which was great.
     
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  6. ACMM
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    This may not be a reply that is liked by most, but I have no issue letting families go first - if they actually go, are streamlined about it, get on and done with it. What I see is all too often they are congregating around the airplane door trying to figure out how to close their strollers, repack their bags, etc. If you are going to be given the chance to board early to get on, then please do just that. Sorry if this is not popular, but it frosts my paws!
     
  7. igloocoder
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    igloocoder Silver Member

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    I don't think that boarding is the problem, I think it's the symptom. In my mind the problem is entitlement, a feeling of self importance and status induced ideas of personal grandeur. Status bearing travellers believe everything revolves around them and their plans.

    Why should I consider others when sitting in the cell phone free zone of the lounge? My call is much to important not to be taken/made here.

    Why should I afford extra boarding time to those who need it most? I am after all <insert status of choice here>, and as this airline's best customer I deserve to board at my "leisure" even if that means inconveniencing someone else.

    Why should I consider how/where I put my carry on luggage when boarding? As a status holding flyer, I'll do what I want and everyone else is on their own.

    Why should I be denied my first meal choice? I'm a SE after all and if the crew can't acknowledge me as one, then they should be prepared for me to raise holy hell.

    Why should I respectfully inquire about my upgrade status at the gate? The airline is out to screw me out of another cheese plate between YQR and YXE. Not only that, but I'm sure I flew more miles last year than everyone else on this plane. For that alone I deserve to be seated where I want.

    Now, to be fair, at one or more times I've been guilty of thinking/acting on these types of thoughts. I'm guilty of being a self absorbed wanker. But what I saw today really chaffed my nuggets. The taste in my mouth was pungent...and not in the good Islay scotch kind of way.
     
  8. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    Yep, I could see the unpopular response coming. Been there;done that.;)
    It's all about karma, comrades.
    When the plane goes down ...
     
  9. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I flip-flop on the family issue. It does kind of bug me when they preboard families, and you will have one toddler and 6 adults pre-boarding with the one child along with their 10 bags of carry-on.

    The other issue I have with the preboarding is the consistency at the other end. If you supposedly need extra time to board how come these are the people who immediately the plane lands manage to jump in the aisle and hold everyone up as they take the kitchen sink and everything else out of the overhead bins?

    I was reading a blog a while back where someone with a child suggested that all travellers need to be more considerate of families. That is when the plane lands everyone should stay seated and allow families to get off first because their children are probably tired and cranky after being confined for so long.

    So yes I can see that peeps with status have a sense of entitlement, I also see others who seem to think they have a sense of entitlement because of their personal situation.

    I think all each of us can do is control our own behaviour and not spend any time fretting about what others are doing because in the end it's not going to make any difference.
     
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  10. savydog
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    savydog Gold Member

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    I flew Tiger out of Melbourne a few times and they had a policy of children and elderly will board before all others. Fine with me, but some of the children lining up with mom and dad had scruffy goatees and looked around 17 or 18 :)
     
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  11. ACMM
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    If AC wants to give families a chance to board first - excellent - but enforce the masses (including Elites) from not boarding until they are well on; and start the boarding sooner. I think it could all be managed and managed well.
     
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  12. Flews
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    Flews Silver Member

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    I'll always remember the time a certain Opposition Party Leader (currently flitting about the country promising undying devotion to 'families') ignored the 'children first' announcement, and literally elbowed his way past my 2-year-olds (pushed their stroller aside) to be the very first person on the aircraft.

    We ended up sitting side by side in J. We were on points. He wasn't. (Nor an upgrade, I asked the agent.);)

    He couldn't look me in the eye. Not once. Mrs. Flews glared at him all the way back to Ottawa...

    Cheers,
     
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  13. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    While I prefer to board earlier than later, I do not mind allowing those who need extra time to go on ahead of me. This may include an immediate caregiver, but if the ratio exceeds 2 people per person who needs extra time, then I think this is abusive of the policy.

    On the last few flights I have been on, I have noticed that AC boards much later than the boarding time listed on the BP. Perhaps a little more time to separate the people boarding (1-those who need assistance; 2) Js, SEs, E, *Gold; 3) P and *S 4) back rows, 5) front rows). Often the later start = mad rush to get everyone on at once, so its more like #1, 30sec wait #2, #3 60sec later #4 and #5.
     
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  14. 2MM_Guy
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    2MM_Guy Gold Member

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    I would not care to board first / last etc. My only objective is to have space for my one small roller. If they enforced the carry-on limits, I would be fine.
     
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  15. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Have you not ever noticed how families with children in their 'tweens try to board at the early call? Or how there are always non-elites lining up in the Priority queue. I don't think elites are the only ones who crowd around the boarding areas and try to get on in the first call.

    Of course, what has exacerbated this rush to board is the amount of carry on that now gets taken onto planes, in part because of the fees charged for checked bags. In order to claim enough space overhead, one must get to one's seat ahead of the person next to you.
     
  16. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    Maybe we need to go back to the strict carry-on enforcement of early 2010 ... seriously. At least for Y.
     
  17. maradori
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    maradori Silver Member

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    Do I have a feeling you're not going to vote for him? ;)
     
  18. torbster
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    torbster Silver Member

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    I usually have an aisle seat in the front, and rarely use carry-ons, so naturally I try to be the last person on the plane. Personally I like to spend as little time as possible on the plane, so that suits me fine. Of course this is my situation, but I think if everyone considered their needs before their rights when they're boarding, we'd all have a better experience.
     
  19. igloocoder
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    igloocoder Silver Member

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    So I managed to get a good 10 hours of sleep last night and I woke feeling much better...but my troubles over status passenger attitudes continues. In fact, as credence to the fact I may have been feverish last night, I dreamt about it.

    For those who have decided this is a discussion about the boarding process instead of the mentality of those that are boarding remember this: what I saw Monday morning was a mad rush of status passengers who incorrectly boarded *before* they were invited to do so. Surely they knew better. Surely the overhead space wasn't going to be completely full, even with 40 of them trying to board with multiple oversized carry-ons. This was a case of a the status passenger's group mentality that they deserved to board first, and dammit they would.

    In my observations, this is the mentality that is plaguing the ranks of status passengers. Since it was brought it by a couple of people already, let's look at carry-ons. Yes, people are bringing more luggage onboard with them. And yes we can say it's because of airlines moving to a pay-per-piece checked luggage policy. This is the most commonly used reason that people use when asked why they have such large carry-on bags. The second most common is that people don't want to wait for their luggage at a carousel. Fine...but let's think about these for a second.

    First, the pay-per-piece argument. Each one of you status passengers step back from your perceived status given right to carry-on and receive guaranteed overhead space immediately above your seat. What is one of the status perks that you are given by almost every frequent flyer program? Yes...extra checked luggage at no cost.

    The second argument of not waiting at a carousel is different. First let me say that I hate waiting at carousels. Ever since I flew into the old BLR airport on a 777 and had to get my luggage, I have vowed never again. That said, those of us that believe we are entitled to pack only carry-on luggage are self absorbed asses. Its not because we pack carry-on though. Its because of how we act so that we can pack carry-on. We believe that our time is more valuable than anyone else's. That is why we don't want to wait at the carousel. Because we believe that we feel we must gang rush the gate agents so that we don't have to put any extra effort into finding space for our carry-on. So our belief that our time is of utmost value is causing issues at boarding.

    Our belief that we can have a slightly over sized roller bag that won't fit in the overhead wheels first plus a laptop bag on wheels that is half that size has driven us to be the biggest problem with pre-boarding. It's not the parents who struggle to hold a child, a diaper bag, and a purse while trying to collapse their strollers at the door to the plane. I suspect that if you were honest with yourselves, very few could say that they have stopped to help someone in that predicament. Why? Because it would mean more people would get on before you and you'd have to work to find overhead space...god forbid you actually try to put something under the seat in front of you...after all status passengers should have more leg room right?

    The more and more I think about the behaviours and actions of status passengers, myself included, the closer I come to believing that we are nothing more than a group of self absorbed egomaniacs. I know I paint with a unfairly broad brush. I know that I also say things that go contrary to the mentality of frequent flyer boards like this one and the senior board. After all, their premise is often couched as "how to get more from your status". I'm sure I've offended some of your beliefs and goals, but I think we need to step back and look at how we're behaving.
     
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  20. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    Since I started flying again in 2006, I have witnessed disappointing behavior from just about every type of airline passenger. That is why for trips under 500 miles, I still prefer to drive. I don't really believe that as a whole, members of frequent flyer programs are significantly more poorly behaved than others. But, when status passengers behave badly they can be horrid.:eek:
    I am notorious for boarding the plane last. Everybody gets all nice and comfy; and then here comes the old Kettle troll to claim his window seat in coach.:oops: And that's after a long search to find a space for the bag in the overhead.
    It is what it is; whether we fell entitled to a different reality or not.
     
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  21. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Hi, folks:

    I've been away for a while (riding around in airplanes, of course), but this thread got my attention. I have a mobility impairment **and** I hold status (for whatever that's worth on any particular morning). It dawns upon me that the very best thing I could do would be to wait until the rush has cleared, and **then** wobble my way with my cane, down those dreadful ramps and onto the aircraft. My seat will still be there.It's really unlikely that the rampies would have come on board and unbolted it in the few minutes that I waited!

    If I'm in Y, well, there's space under the seat ahead of me for my computer bag. I'm almost always in an aisle seat anyway, so there's nobody to disturb by asking them to unfold themselves to let me by.

    Fortunately enough, most of the time I am travelling J, and there's going to be plenty of room in the overheads there (except for the little regional jet that shuttles me down from YYZ to BOS); then again, the crew are almost always able to find a space in the coat-closet for my bag.

    Maybe it's my middle-age catching up with me, but I always wonder when I see the crowds of people jamming the gate: "what's the darned rush anyway?". Then the thought occurs "oh, their part of the airplane might take off first, so that's what all the rush is about."

    Breathe, people. We'll **all** get to our destinations eventually.

    Mevlannen
    the one and only original (accept no substitutes!)
    with the bright blue hat and the walking-stick

    (waving to Sym in the chances that he's around)
     
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  22. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    I hate the loud cell phone folks. Especially in quiet areas.:mad:

    However, I do think you should get your requested meal if you have status with the airline You can spend your money elsewhere but if you do fly AC enough, and reach its designated status levels, then you should be treated accordingly. No DYKWIA, but you should get your first choice of meals.

    I rush because flying is still exciting. I am on a plane - YEA! I am going somewhere - in the air! I don't push or run through folks but I am still giddy when flying. Not so much WAS-NYC, but WAS-CDG or earlier this year my first trip to CPH. It was exciting. I am going to PVG next week for my first trip to China. I an excited now. I can see myself chomping at the bits waiting to board knowing I am going to China. Maybe it is just the kid in me but I really still do like being on a plane [~1K bis/year]. Again, as above, no DYKWIA attitude.

     
  23. illico
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    illico Silver Member

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    It's the carry-on thing that bothers me as well, which is why I alwasy feel the need to get on sooner rather than later. I would prefer that vice-versa. The last few times I flew out of SFO there were enforcing the carry-on restrictions which I thought was awesome. Even still, there was no overhead space.

    What irks me the most about it are the people who sit in back and put their carry-on stuff in the forward bins instead of near them.
     
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  24. AC knows how to fix the problem and does not seem to care. Its simple lets the familys board then wait and let others board. Lots of threads on the nightmare rush of 50% of the plane on some routes..
     
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  25. global_happy_traveller
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    global_happy_traveller Silver Member

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    in this day and age, i have lost interest in teach common sense and common courtesy to people
     
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