Gate Lice: How not to board an airplane

Boarding is always a fun time for me because I get to watch the chaos unfold as a hundred passengers swarm the gate at the same time.

The problem is exacerbated by a group of people that we frequent flyers call Gate Lice.

Gate Lice are a peculiar breed of creature that can blend into a crowd during normal business hours; you may not even know that you’re standing next to Gate Lice in the elevator or that one works across from you in the HR cubicle farm.

But about 45 minutes short of departure, they start to emerge from the darkness, like trolls skulking out from under their guarded bridges. Gate Lice come in a variety of species, but the most common is the blackberrius-trenchcoatius-northamericanus, characterized by an individual wearing a long trench coat and one or multiple blackberries blazing in either hand.

Knowing that boarding typically starts thirty minutes prior to departure, Gate Lice begin their migration towards the gate in earnest, silently staring at their Blackberries and edging towards the gate. Most show up early (see figure 1), leaving only the weakest gate lice to show up at the last minute.

The problem with Gate Lice is that they impede the boarding process. Usually, disabled passengers and those with small children are permitted to board first and if a dozen or so schmucks are standing around the gate it makes it difficult for these people to navigate towards the jetbridge. Furthermore, if the airline has any ordered boarding process, they’re going to be in the way for that, too.

So listen up fellas, try to make some space before the boarding process begins. I know you bought a first class ticket and you have some important action items to get to, but out of respect for your fellow passengers, please take the five minutes to look up, pay attention and play nice so that we can leave on time.