Tag Archives: Priority Boarding

Cabin Credit

Surprised? Shocked? Outraged? Well, not quite that strong. Let’s go with “taken aback”. Yes, that’s it…I was taken aback when the flight attendant pitched a credit card promotion over the cabin speaker. Not just once…but on both legs of our flight. Apparently, the recent merger of two airlines (who shall remain nameless) sparked a very generous offer. The kind of offer you just can’t live without. After listening to the perks, the light bulb above my head is glowing like the mushroom cloud of a nuclear reaction. I finally understand why SO MANY passengers lined up for the “priority” boarding calls. Just check out a few of the benefits associated with carrying the airline’s card in your wallet…

  • Double miles for today’s flight.
  • Additional miles (enough for two free flights) with first charge.
  • Tickets for two companion flights at $99 each.
  • Access to the airline’s lounge.
  • One free checked bag per flight.
  • Priority boarding.
  • 500 additional miles (today only).

As soon as the announcement ended, flight attendants walked the aisle with credit applications. A passenger two rows ahead caught the attendant’s attention. I didn’t hear the question but I can guess what was asked because I could hear the attendant disclose the “fine print” details of the promotion…The offer is valid only during today’s flight – NOT at the airport or online. The annual fee is $89. A specific section of the credit application (name, address, social security number) must be completed and the application number validated with the attendant. Blah…Blah…Blah…Blah…

My common sense “radar” went berserk causing my brain to seize up and forced me to stop listening for a few seconds. Let me get this straight. At a time when identity theft such a ginormous issue, is the airline REALLY going to require a passenger to disclose their social security number on a document left with the flight attendant?

Now to be clear…I’m not questioning the integrity of flight attendants. Adequate security measures may be in place but the announcement didn’t reveal any details on how this sensitive information would be secured. There could be a lot of hand-offs between collecting the application and delivering it to the individuals ultimately responsible for processing. Each hand-off offering a potential breach of security.

To satisfy my curiosity (like a good Business Analyst), I asked how the applications would be handled. The attendant’s response…“we have a drop box at the airport”. That’s it? You’re asked a question about the security of sensitive information AND the only answer you have is there’s “a drop box at the airport”? My risk-averse mind immediately launched a series of follow-up questions. But I didn’t press any further. Pursuit of an answer felt like an exercise in futility.

When the passenger expressed hesitation to the “fine print” requirements, a more “hard sell” tactic emerged. The flight attendant lobbied that the application should be completed, “If you are considering the credit card, you should go ahead and take advantage of today’s offer. You will only be charged the fee if you use the card when it arrives. So if you change your mind, just tear it up and cancel the account.” Hmmm…I wondered…Is there a contest to collect the most applications? Could a bonus be at stake?

Needless to say, this card will NOT be found in my wallet. Maybe I’m just overreacting…being paranoid. So, I have to ask…What do you think? Would you share your social security number for this type of promotion?

Featured image “Credit Cards on Money” by 401kcalculator.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

Checkpoint Woes

Yesterday, I hope you found some amusement in me whining about air travel and baggage. If not amusement, perhaps you could at least relate to my frustrations. Today you will find a bit more from our journey.

The next adventure along the path to our designated gate is the infamous security checkpoint. Everything off and in the grey bins. Coats…Hat…Scarf (it was below freezing when we arrived at the airport). Purse…Shoes…Toiletries (limited to 3.4 ounce travel sizes sealed in a quart-size clear plastic bag). Laptop (out of carrying case, in bin by itself, with nothing on top or bottom). Hubby’s sleep apnea machine (out of carry-on bag and in bin by itself.) And of course, a single carry-on bag for each of us. Basically, we unpack our meticulously arranged carry-on bag for a brief moment in the x-ray machine.

So let’s count them…that’s 5 bins plus the laptop bag and two carry-on bags.

The items in my carry-on would have fit into checked bag. But we needed the extra space to pack the sleep apnea machine. And, after you’ve lost luggage once, you always pack a carry-on with a change of clothes and toiletries. My luggage was a lost for three days during a trip to Australia. Our luggage took three days to arrive at the hotel. There’s nothing fun with shopping for necessaries when you would rather be sight-seeing.

While our possessions were dragged through the x-ray unit, we took our turn in the security imaging tube. Apparently I set off the silent alarm because the TSA agent escorted me to the side of the conveyor for a “polite” pat down…in front of the other passengers. Fortunately, it was a brief interlude. The search focused only on my breasts… the “girls” were NOT happy with the extra attention. (Guess there’s no reason to skip the underwire bra for the return flight, eh?) Arms down and now the scramble to retrieve everything from the bins and relieve the bottleneck that formed on the conveyor during my private screening. Instead of attempting to re-pack on the conveyor, we lugged our possessions to waiting chairs peppered with others in the same plight. This time the contents thrown haphazardly into the carry-on bag in our quest to reach the gate.

Now for my shoes. Since chemo required my toe nails to be removed, I can’t just slip my shoes on and off any longer. It’s a whole production. My socks must be placed “just so” to prevent pain when walking. FINALLY…on the move again.

Upon arrival at our gate, we settled in to wait for the boarding announcement. I was surprised of how many types of priority boarding were granted access to the plane before the zones were called. There was always first class, people traveling with children, individuals who needed additional time, and active duty military in uniform. But when did the extra promos start? Priority boarding is now a perk for carrying the airline’s credit card or reaching a specific level of the airline’s rewards program. You can even purchase priority boarding for only $15. The cost doesn’t sound like much. But is it really a benefit to board early when SO many people are in the priority line?

My thoughts were interrupted by the boarding announcement for zone 3. It’s our turn! I hadn’t gotten much sleep the past few days and was ready sit back and relax.