As I mentioned briefly, I flew to Vegas yesterday morning on one of the first five flights out of LAX using the new Bingo Seating boarding process. Since I’m actually attending the BlogWorld Expo conference, I figured, hey, why not actually BLOG while I’m here. (And by the way, if anyone else is here, send me a note and I’d be happy to meet up before I head home today.)
November 8, 2007
Southwest #1669 Lv Los Angeles (LAX) 625a Arr Las Vegas (LAS) 730a
LAX: Gate 14, Runway 24L, Dept :01L
LAS: Gate C18, Runway 25L, Arr :04E
Aircraft: N425LV, Boeing 737-700, Canyon Blue Colors, ~70% full
Flight Time: 48m
I was out my door by 5a and at the terminal by 530a. Unfortunately, the lines were long, and I headed outside to wait. It ended up taking 20 minutes, less than I would have guessed. That may be partially because they’ve opened another few lines of security. To get there, you walk up some stairs to the mezzanine level and it pops you out right near gate 1. It may not be ideal, but it’s better than not having the lines.
I was at gate 14 at the end of the concourse, and I walked by a huge balloon ad (at left) for the new SFO service (which they’ve already decided to increase in size by 50% to 12 daily flights). Further down the concourse, I found that they are FINALLY renovating the restrooms at the end of the concourse. Those disgusting, awkwardly shaped bathrooms have had it coming for a long time.
Finally at my gate, I looked around and saw a handful of lettered and numbered poles sticking up and one very confused looking guy trying to figure out where to stand in line (at right).Nothing else was different except that they had moved the chairs around to accommodate the new lineup. That didn’t seem right, so I went up to the empty podium and asked the supervisor at the gate how things were going. She said they were just getting underway but so far so good. I asked about the shabby appearance and she said that it all had to do with airport approvals. The approval for the permanent boarding markers came Monday and they’re still waiting for the new seats with powerports and kids play area to be approved. I don’t have anything else to back up that claim, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see LAWA acting so slowly.
By the time we were done talking, I turned around to see people milling about. Part of that was because there were no seats left now that everyone wants to sit down (big problem). But the other part is that there were still some people wandering around aimlessly looking for their usual A, B, and C lines. The gate agents weren’t doing a great job of informing people either. There were no announcements about what was happening before boarding.
So at that point, I took a seat. When they decided to board, they did so with no waring. All of a sudden, I hear, “Ok, A 1-30 can now board.” Uh, what? I was A26 and I had been sitting down, just like half the other people. So people jumped up and came at the door from all different areas. As we walked on, I asked, “Did you call for A people to line up?” She said, “No, we don’t need to line up anymore.” If this is how it’s going to be, it’s actually worse. I think that she just needs to be taught that she needs to call the A people to line up a minute before she actually boards them.
Once onboard, there wasn’t much to say. It was my favorite kind of day to fly. There was a low marine layer that made it gloomy on the ground. But a couple minutes after we blasted off, we were through it and into the morning sun. The picture below was the view out my window as we came back over the coast on the way toward Vegas.
They handed out oj and water, but I had my own so I passed. I tried to sleep a little, but the guy next to me was pretty talkative for it being so early in the morning. Fortunately, it was a short flight, and we had a nice tour of Vegas before looping back around to land toward the west.
The conference itself has been fun so far. You get a great mix of people from the fertility doctor I met who just started blogging to the big corporate blogs of the world. Is there an airline tie here? Well, yes. Southwest has signed up as the official airline sponsor, and I think that’s a very smart move. They’re reaching out to a demographic that is being ignored by many others. I stopped by their booth to munch on some honey roasted peanuts and get airline-dorky with them. At left you’ll see SWA bloggers Brian Lusk and Paula Berg waving to the camera.
On Monday, I’ll have the return report.