Boarding Group 2

As my flight from Frankfurt to Chicago was about to board, I was first in line in Boarding Group 2. My position in line was purely incidental to the process of pre-boarding document/checking. An employee checked my documents and said, “Boarding Zone 2. Stand here.” Soon, another passenger — about five inches taller than me, very large, and also from the U.S. — stepped up behind me: “Are you first in line for two, or what?” he asked brusquely.

“Yes, this is Boarding Group 2. When the lady told me to stand here, I figured I might as well. I’ve got plenty of sitting ahead of me.”

“You’re going to be sitting for nine and a half f*%#ing hours,” he replied. It quickly became clear that this passenger was in a very bad mood.

Just a couple of minutes later, the United gate agents called for pre-boarders. Once pre-boarding finished, they called for Group 1. The surly guy behind me shoved me hard in the back and said, “Move it. Go!”

“I’m not in Group 1,” I said, as the boarding group next to us started to move. I just stood there, trying not to say everything that came to mind.

“Damn, man, you gotta take your chance when they give it to you! We don’t have time for these f*%#ing Global Services jokers!”

“I think we’ll be just fine,” I said.

When our group finally started moving, we had to merge with a couple of other passengers who had just had their documents checked. I let one in ahead of me, and one came in behind me. To this, our surly passenger exclaimed, “Is that how they do it in Latin America?!? This is f*%#ing Germany, motherf*%#ers!” The passengers in question were from India.

As we finally passed through the last check at the gate, one at a time, this guy hurried past me toward his prize. He practically jogged to the end of the jetway, then down the stairs, then down more stairs, then out a covered tunnel… to a bus. In the end, we all had to climb on buses and ride out to the plane — about 40 of us at a time. He made the second bus and then had to wait on the plane for several other buses. Good for him that he got on the plane so quickly. I’m glad I’m not sitting anywhere near him. (Can you imagine what it would be like to ask him to let you out so you can get to the lavatory? Or, worse yet, if he needed to get to it himself?)

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