May 14, 2011 (Originally posted Aug 21/01)
I know Iíve done more than my fair share of complaining about air travel, but this week was a whole new low for the airline industry. You would think after my Intercontinental Title match at Summer Slam that my match would be the big news of the week, but after the most abysmal flight, or more appropriately after a flight on the most abysmal airline on the face of the earth, I canít get my mind around anything else.
After the live Smack Down in Salt Lake City we had to fly to Las Vegas for a house show the following day. For this flight I had the unenviable task of flying on Southwest Airlines. I had never flown Southwest before, and figured it would be like all other airlines. I couldnít have been more wrong. Southwest is, if I can borrow a few catch phrases, the worst, Rooty Poo, Candy Ass, Jabroni airline Iíve ever had the displeasure of flying with. They should fly for Disney because they are unbelievably Mickey Mouse.
What makes this particular airline worst than all the others is its ridiculous check-in and seating procedures. Shane Helms once told me about an experience he had on Southwest and I thought he was ribbing me. Unfortunately he wasnít and this past weekend I experienced their archaic system first hand. I usually arrive at the airport fairly early. I like avoiding big lines and need an aisle seat for the extra shoulder room. I arrived at the Southwest counter to check in 2 hours before my flight and was delighted to see no line up what so ever. Perfect I thought; it would be the last time that word crossed my mind that day!
At the counter I checked my bag and asked for an aisle seat. I was told that they donít do seat assignment and I would have to check in at the gate again to obtain a boarding number card. I must have looked as confused as I was because she went on to explain further. I had to check in again at the gate at which point I still wouldnít receive a boarding card I would receive a plastic boarding number and they would board the plane in groups of 30 people and it was a free for all for seats. ďA free for all?Ē I asked, ďYou mean itís like a big fist fight for seats?Ē She said, ďyesĒ to which I responded, ďOh I guess Iíll be alright then!í
This simply amazed me. Most people canít handle boarding a plane at the best of times let alone stowing bags and fighting for seats. To make things better once you get to the gate you have to wait for an agent to show up and by the time they do, the line up for, your second check in, is huge. Southwest should hire cowboys and farm hands because they heard you like cattle. After the long line to obtain your boarding number card you then get to line up again; this time in groups of 30 for the boarding process.
They then take turns opening the gates on the groups of 30 and itís like your running with the bulls in Spain! Everyone is in a mad dash to try and store there 3 and 4 pieces of carry on luggage (the limit on carry on is of course 2) and get the most desirable seat available. By the time the last group boards, things get quite ridiculous. All that is left are middle seats but people continue farther back on the plane in search of that illusive aisle or window seat that anyone, in there right mind, would know doesnít exist when you are boarding with number 117 on a flight with 120 seats.
I boarded in the second group of 30 so with minimal blocking from, my good buddy, Hugh Morrus, I got my desired aisle seat, as did he, without having to actually hit or threaten anyone. When they announced that the flight would be completely full (I guess misery does love company) I started looking for a skinny person to bribe to take the middle seat beside me. Unfortunately skinny people are always very rare during air travel. Iím not sure why over weight people tend to fly more than skinny people but that has been my experience. I ended up sitting next to a gentleman with a more than ample midsection and was completely miserable and uncomfortable the entire trip.
After this trip Iíve come to two conclusions. Avoid flying Southwest when ever humanly possible, and that God is either Canadian or at least prefer us to our American counterparts, as he saw fit to have Southwest Airlines only service our neighbors to the south.
Till next week,