I flew Delta Airlines recently, and I was surprised and a little bit amazed to be BOTH TSA-Pre-check AND "Zone 1" boarding group. "Zone 1"? I thought to myself.... that's reserved for Diamond and Platinum level frequent flyers (neither of which I am anymore, nor have been for a decade), or military in uniform (thank you for your service) or people traveling with children under 2 years of age, or those "needing extra time / assistance in boarding". What luck! Perhaps, in the Monopoly Game of Life, there was a computer glitch / error in my favor...
No such luck. On Delta, Zone 1 isn't one. Zone 1 is ACTUALLY Zone 3. FIRST they board "PREM" .... "PREM" is first class, million milers, Delta employees (Pilots, etc, who are not flying the plane). Then, next is "SKY" (short for "Sky Priority"), as the 2nd boarding group. In Europe, where Silver matters on Delta, Silver status Frequent Flyers (which I am one, after flying to Bangalore and then to Warsaw in the last year, both in Coach, narrowly avoiding Deep Vein Thrombosis) are also included in "SKY". But in the good ole USA, Silver means bumpkus. Silver, ever since Delta bought Northwest and inherited more frequent flyers than their Medallion Club lounges and priory boarding queues could handle, have ignored and jettisoned their Silver status members as "nobodies". Gold gets you 1 bag free, and a listing in the "SKY" queue. Silver, "back of the line bud!"... persona non grata. One of the unwashed, sweaty masses.
After printing my boarding pass the day before travel, and seeing I was "Zone 1" I did not check a bag and took my 22" roller bag on, thinking "I'll have a place in the over-head, surely! I am 'Zone 1" after all!" [Printing, how archaic you say? Why not get it emailed to me, and scan it at the gate? Well... once you've tried to do that, and you're in Zone 3 or 4 and they're out of over-head room, so they have to gate check your bag... the only way to do it with a cell phone electronic boarding pass is to walk with the gate agent back up the jet way, so she can re-scan your pass with you phone, issue you a gate-check baggage claim ticket, and then walk back down to the plane, wasting another 10 minutes of your life that you could have been AIS [Ass In Seat] and about to fall asleep for the 4 hour flight back home. Having a PRINTED boarding pass, you just give the gate agent the printed paper, and they come back to you with a baggage claim ticket.]
So all the PREMs boarded. Then the HOARD of SKYs boarded. Then, when "Zone 1" boarded, the plane was more than 1/2 full, most of the over-heads were already taken, and I had to find a place for my bag 4 rows behind where my seat was... which is such a joy when getting off the plane and no one is polite enough to let you go back 4 rows. The poor bastards in Zone 2 were all screwed. No more over-head space. "Zone 2" on Delta = "Zone 4" on all other airlines. Or "Boarding group D" on Southwest. Despicable how Delta ineptly tries to manipulate language to get the beleaguered passenger to temporarily feel better. Just call it "Zone 3" and treat your passengers like grown ups, your stupid Georgia Peaches!
On top of this, I find out in April of this year that EVERY state in which I have to travel for work, will now have State Income Tax withheld, for each day I am traveling to that state. So in 2016, I'll get to file 5 or 6 State tax returns, to get my money back. Joy!!!!!! So much incentive to be a happy traveling employee!!!! So customer centric!!! (at Accenture, where a friend of mine works, the COMPANY Files For the employee, in the multiple states to which they have been dispatched to do work for the company.. but not so at my corporate leviathan). Lamer than a 2 legged dog.
1 year ago