I wrote last week about Delta Air Lines tweaking its boarding procedures. Diamond Medallion members (the highest-ranking elite status) no longer may board with First Class and Delta One cabins. Instead, they were demoted to their own boarding zone — right after First Class and Delta One.
I assumed some people would be upset — and they were.
But a different boarding group altogether is what sparked most of the controversy.
Why Should Active Duty U.S. Military Get to Board First?!
Honestly, I thought the post’s Comments section would be filled with Diamonds complaining about Delta stabbing them in the back — and non-Diamonds punching their buttons in response. There was very little of that.
But I was surprised by commenters taking umbrage with active duty United States military members getting the top boarding zone for Delta flights.
(To be clear: most of these people are regular commenters here on the blog. Some I’ve gotten to know personally. While we may occasionally disagree, they seem like pretty decent folks. So, this isn’t any personal attack.)
I don’t mind one single bit if active duty U.S. military board first on my flights. These brave people volunteered to place themselves in dangerous situations and away from home. Are my tax dollars paying their wages? Yep. Isn’t that enough? Meh. I can wait an extra minute or so to board my flight.
(I’m also someone who buys a meal or something for uniformed military members when they’re in line with me at a restaurant. I wave and say hello to firefighters and police officers. So, maybe I’m just one of “those people.”)
I’ve sat on flights with kids (yes, I think 18- and 19-year-olds are kids) dressed in fatigues and heading off somewhere. Maybe some domestic training, an overseas destination, I don’t know. But seeing some of them nervous as heck? They’re braver than me.
So, yeah, I’m cool with military folks boarding ahead of me.
Active duty military boarding doubles as a “Wait?! We’re really going to board in a couple of minutes?!” warning to unprepared people still messing around on their phones or otherwise not paying attention. Sorry, not sorry — those schmucks delay the boarding process more than anyone else.
But Do Others Abuse the Privilege? Or Should It Be Extended to More “Dangerous” Professions?
I can’t remember a time when more than, like, four military members took advantage of the boarding privileges.
However, that’s contrary to what Don in ATL says he’s experienced: “It’s an honor system, and there isn’t much honor left these days…. (Some)times (like to FRA or ICN) half the plane boards with military – and they usually announce it as ‘active or retired military.'” (Bold mine.)
I can see where that becomes a problem. Especially because Delta’s website says explicitly the boarding zone is “Active Duty U.S. Military with I.D.” It mentions nothing about the retired military. I’m sure the gate agents either don’t know that only active duty personnel are the ones who are supposed to get the boarding privilege — or if they’re simply trying to be friendly and grateful to those who’ve served. But there are worse examples of Delta shenanigans.
Longtime readers of this blog know I appreciate good snark — especially when it must be used to illustrate a point. To that, we have reader derek’s comment:
Active duty military should not board so early. If they do, they should change the criteria to:
Active duty military, former military, doctors, fire fighters, CIA, charitable contributors donating over $100,000, wrongful termination victims, drivers of small cars.
While I disagree with derek about active duty military not being able to board first, derek brings up an interesting point with “former military, doctors, firefighters” before listing several other, erm, criteria. (Which I find rather amusing.)
I understand derek’s reasoning, though. Firefighters sign up for a job requiring them to run into burning buildings, provide life-saving medical care for patients who aren’t yet at a hospital, and all sorts of other dangerous and/or high-stress duties. What about doctors? Don’t some of them save people’s lives? Weren’t they on the front lines during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic?
And let’s not get forget police officers: people with a job that automatically places targets on their backs and comes with universal scorn.
I hate to say, “Oh, it’s a slippery slope” because that’s such a cliché. But I see where boarding privileges can quickly become one.
What Do You Think?
I don’t mind if active duty military are the first people (after those needing extra time, of course) to board a flight. I think it’s a kind gesture. It’s never once inconvenienced me.
How do you feel about this? (If you commented in the original post but want to add something else to your take, feel free to do so.) Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section.
Please note: comments are manually moderated. So, if your comment isn’t approved right away — especially between 10 PM and 7:00 AM Pacific Time, please don’t be concerned or resubmit it.
Also, please keep your comments respectful and avoid name calling.
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.