Slack Tide: Alaska Airlines Pre-boarding announcement

Attention passengers in the waiting area. Good morning, my name is Wanda and I’ll be your gate agent this morning.


In just a moment we’ll begin boarding Alaska Airlines Flight 167, service from Seattle-Tacoma to Juneau International Airport, with stops in Ketchikan, Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, Yakutat, Cordova, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Barrow and Margaritaville.

Wait a minute. That can’t be right. Sorry folks, I just read what they give me. Ahem, I mean Bethel. Ketchikan, Sitka, Wrangell, Petersburg, Yakutat, Cordova, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Bethel and Margaritaville.

Before we begin the boarding process, we would like to pre-board tonight’s flight.

Any families traveling with small children and any disabled or elderly passengers needing a little extra time on the jetway…

Will just have to keep waiting until we pre-pre-board all other passengers who, by enrolling in one of our various customer loyalty programs, are legally entitled to shove you aside — at some membership levels, physically, so stay on your toes, even if you’re in a wheelchair.

At this time, we would like to begin pre-pre boarding any MVP, MVP Elite, MVP Gold or MVP 75K. Followed by pre-pre-pre-boarding for any MVP Silver, MVP Bronze, or MVP Titanium members, followed pre-pre-pre-pre-boarding for all MVP Aluminum, MVP Graphite, MVP Industrial Diamond, MVP Tungsten, MVP Nickel-Copper Alloy, and MVP Iron Pyrite members.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, MVP Iron Pyrite — it’s a new promotion. Basically, MVP Iron Pyrite entitles you to believe you’re receiving MVP Gold club benefits, only to discover you’re actually sitting in the baggage hold, right next to the frozen lavatory waste. Membership has its privileges.

Your attention, please. Federal regulations forbid congregating by the jetway door. If you aren’t a member of any of the aforementioned clubs, please wait in the departure lounge. Thank you.

Excuse me, miss? Miss? You, there, with the crutches and the obvious pregnancy? Those departure lounge seats are reserved for members of our MVP Galvanized Steel Wrapped in Vulcanized Cadmium Club. And their carry-on bags. Thanks.

Which reminds me, present your MVP Galvanized Steel Wrapped in Vulcanized Cadmium Club card at Cinnabon for a complimentary side of hot cream cheese frosting, whose ingredients coincidentally include a fair amount of galvanized steel wrapped in vulcanized cadmium.

Ahem. Your attention, ladies and gentlemen, by whom I mean plain-old ladies and gentlemen as opposed to some fictitious hierarchy of ladies and gentlemen concocted by marketing, please be patient. Rest assured, regular boarding will be called. The plane won’t leave without you. Well, unless you get bumped, which, technically, all MVP members at the Slag Iron level or higher can do. They can also invoke the right of jus primae noctis on your spouse, as well as the right of jus primae nachos on your appetizer.

At this time, we will now begin pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-boarding for any members of our partner airlines’ rewards programs. Even though you aren’t even really our customers, you do have a valid ID and PIN and that should count for something. Tell the flight attendant to give you a free digEplayer.

Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we would like to begin pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-boarding for any passengers who downloaded our mobile app, as well as any passengers who allowed us to embed a homing beacon inside their skulls, which is essentially the same thing.

Attention, passengers. We’d like to remind you that Alaska now runs a “cashless cabin.” Earn double points when you use your Alaska Airlines Visa card to purchase snack cart items or beverages, triple points for shopping duty-free, quadruple points for any Sky Mall purchases, and quintuple points if you just let us swipe your card and key in whatever amount we feel like. The Alaska Airlines Visa card: what’s in your wallet?

No, seriously, what’s in there? We’ll take whatever. All of it.

Now, where we were we? Right. We are now pleased to announce pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre boarding for any passengers seated in the bulkhead row of the main cabin, which, thanks to three extra inches of legroom, qualifies it as a special class in and of itself, although you still have to pay for drinks and you don’t get any complimentary cheese cubes. Or warmed nuts. Or jus primae noctis (unless you qualify for an upgrade).

And, finally, we now call pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-boarding for any passengers carrying those teeny little dogs inside a shoulder bag. They’re just so cute.

Thank you.

OK. That’s everybody.

Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you for your patience. And now, it gives me great and unending pleasure to begin boarding for anyone who simply spent several hundred dollars on an airplane ticket and assumed that alone was good enough to gain admission to said airplane.

At long, long last, you’re now all welcome to—

Pardon the interruption, ladies and gentleman, I’ve just been informed that due to a mechanical issue, we will need to deplane. And wait for our mechanic to get here—he’s en route from Margaritaville.

Please listen for announcements, when we will begin the entire pre-boarding process all over again.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We realize you have no choice when it comes to air travel, but thank you for flying Alaska Airlines anyway.*

* Official “Thank You” valid for MVP passengers only, and even then, there’s a $50 fee for us to mean it.

• Geoff Kirsch’s “Slack Tide” runs every other Sunday in Neighbors. Check out more of his work at


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