How Come I’m Always in Zone 4?
Here’s a question I ought to pose to Ben Mutzabaugh ’97, the USA TODAY air-travel guru whom we featured in our November-December issue: What’s up with this boarding-by-zone thing that the airlines have become so fond of? And, more to the point, why am I always in the last zone to board?
It doesn’t matter, really, although sometimes if you’re in the last zone and the plane is small, all of the overhead storage bins may be full by the time you get on. That happened to me coming back from San Francisco the other day, and I had to check my carry-on bag, which by definition held all of the stuff I didn’t want to check, like my laptop and my camera equipment. And, of course, when I got to State College, guess which one of my bags didn’t make it? I got it the next day, but sweated a lot until it arrived.
I wonder how the airlines assign the zones. I posed that question on Facebook the other day and Rob Biertempfel ’87 had an amusing theory: “I am convinced no one ever is assigned zone 1,” he said. “They just announce it and see who has enough guts to walk up to the gate in a bald-faced lie.”
But seriously, I’m curious. Do they board the people in the window seats first, then the aisle seats? That would make sense. Or do they board back to front? That could work too. Or do the people who paid more for their tickets get to board first?
I have no idea. Do you?
Tina Hay, editor