Last week I was in the departure lounge for my Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Boston. After clearing the pre-clearance US immigration, I waited by the gate to board, only to find out there would be about a 20 minute delay due to the aircraft getting back late from a maintenance facility. I stuck around close to the priority boarding lane as most other passengers in Business Class began to do, and waited as the gate agent announced the initial priority boarding for those that were disabled or with small children.
That’s when the stampede started – literally everyone and his brother began to scramble towards the gate. There were the few legitimate priority boarders – the families with very small kids, and the elderly in wheelchairs. Then began the rush of other folks who felt they needed to be boarded before everyone else – families with kids of teenage age, anyone over the age of 50 who could move with more mobility than some 30 year olds I’ve seen, and others who clearly didn’t need to use this privilege.
I mean anyone and everyone was scrambling to hand their boarding passes over to be scanned. The funny thing was that the gate agents didn’t stop any of them, and they let the lune continue on, even with the puzzled looks of the Business Class cabin who was waiting patiently for their turn. Now, I know there are certainly legitimate reasons for folks to board early, and certainly many of those reasons may not be outwardly visible, however you can clearly see folks abusing the system. I’ve seen this plenty of times before domestically, however I think there’s better enforcement amongst US based airlines. I’m not sure if it’s because foreign airlines are afraid to say “no,” or that it is a more commonly accepted practice, but it intrigues me that such a large crowd of folks would want to get on the plane first, since the very same crowd will be the same ones to want to get off the plane first when it lands in Boston.
A minor annoyance I guess, but still puzzling.
What do you think of people that board the plane early that clearly don’t fit into the qualifications of that privilege?
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