One of the most frequent benefits given to status holders or those flying in premium cabins on an airline is priority boarding. That is, skipping the queue of people boarding the flight and being one of the first on the plane. But is that really a benefit, or perhaps more of a hindrance?
Especially when travelling in a cramped seat, I always try to spend as little time as possible sitting in it. Whether that be taking routine walks in-flight or stretching out into the aisle, I try to keep my claustrophobia at bay. It then dawned on me one day as I was guiltily walking past the queues, flashing my frequent flyer card to be the first to board the plane… why? Why should it be a benefit afforded to VIP passengers to spend more time cooped up in your seat, as opposed to in the often airier and more spacious waiting area?
Granted, when I’m flying in First Class, I want to spend all the time possible soaking in the luxury on-board. In fact, I’m never annoyed about a tarmac delay in First; it just means more champagne and canapes! But if I’m not, I really struggle to find any benefit of spending more time on the plane.
To be fair, being a travel blogger, it is often very advantageous from a trip-report point of view to board first so I can take empty pictures of the cabin. However, for a normal passenger, I really wonder why some would queue up for hours just to board first.
Some budget airlines (e.g. RyanAir, EasyJet) even charge extra for priority boarding, though in that case I can understand, as seats aren’t always allocated, so it’s in the customers’ interest to board early and get seats together. But for those travelling in allocated seats, it remains a mystery why you’d want to board first.
Perhaps someone could shed some light below as to why priority boarding is so esteemed in the travel community?