Based on true events
I can remember the time vividly. It was the 2000’s. We were a nation in mourning over the break-up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Tanning, extreme highlights, and lip gloss were fashion staples. To this day, I’ll never understand the appeal of the Jersey Shore look. But from the dark corners of the airline CEO offices, a new threat was emerging; One whose repercussions would go on to shape the future of airplane boarding decorum as we know it. That threat, my friends, is when airlines started charging for checked bags.
Yes, there was a time when major U.S. airlines did not charge for a checked bag. In fact, there was even a time when you could get a meal included on your flight to Cancun without having to be in First Class. That era was the 90s, and if only we could see that reboot actually happen...
You see, by charging passengers for every bag they want to check, it made more and more travelers opt out of checking bags altogether. The people fought back in the only way they could: by literally putting everything into a carry-on. Hell hath no fury like a budget traveler.
With more and more people accessing the overhead bin area for their carry-ons, we began to realize that there just aren’t enough spots for everyone, and thus began the never-ending battle for overhead bin space. Nowadays, if there’s not enough room, they will just check your bag for you to your final destination. But then, what if you don’t want that bag checked? You’ve got a 5-hour long layover in Houston, and you need access to your carry-on!
You are waiting in the terminal. You are Boarding Group 4. Oh, this could go either way. You look over at those stuck in Group 5 with pity, secretly grateful you aren’t there with them. They have no choice. But you? Well, you have to wait it out. You roll your eyes at the big wigs in First Class and Premiere Access. Oh, look at them all special getting to board the plane right away with plenty of overhead bin space and even a welcome cup of white wine after arriving on-board. You now see Group 2 and Group 3 start to board. Your nerves get the best of you as you see that literally everyone has a carry-on with wheels. Oy.
You begin to strike up a conversation with the middle-aged woman in front of you holding her Pomeranian. You express, extra loud so others will hear, your hope that more people will be kind enough to put their smaller bags and purses below the seat in front of them. But seriously though? Who are those jerks that put their small stuff in the overhead bin area? That’s important space that can be used! Where’s the consideration for your fellow passengers? You channel your inner George Costanza and declare this is Thunderdome.
It’s time! They just called Boarding Group 4. Being the neurotic traveler that you are, you are already toward the front of the line to make sure you have a better chance of getting your bag on that plane. You panic. The gate agent just started counting people to see how many spots they have left before people have to check their carry-ons. It looks like she kept counting past you. Good! You eagerly walk up to the gate agent, boarding pass ready. You’re through! Ok, to the plane now.
You are boarding behind people. They are tall. You can’t quite see ahead if there’s space. And then, as if in a slow-motion dream sequence, they begin to sit and you see it, an open spot! You hustle to it and throw your bag up there with strength you never knew you had since you mainly do cardio. But you made it! Your bag is up! You sit in 27A, relaxed, and ready to check out the same Hemispheres magazine you saw on your last flight. All is right with the world. Just then, you hear the sound of two 18-year-olds approach you, “Um, excuse me, would you mind changing seats so my boyfriend and I can sit together?”
Oh, come on!
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com