Chip's Technical Blog

Tech commentary of thoughts, challenges, how-to's, and the mundane.

Stereotyping

I had the fortune of being upgraded to first class in my flights from Seattle back to Indianapolis yesterday. In Minneapolis, I got in line to board the plane after the announcement of first class seating, and was second in line, when I hear the gate agent ask someone behind me if they are in first class.

Immediately upon hearing the question, I cringe. I hope, hope, that the person behind me is looking lost and is in fact not in first class, to avoid the significant potential for a train wreck right there in line. The response from behind me is [imagine being said with a slight amount of attitude] “Of course I’m in first class. Why would I be in the first class line if I weren’t in first class!”. Uh oh. The gate agent just stepped in it, and in a big way. Thankfully, the African-American woman behind me leaves it at that. As we walk down the gangway, I hear the woman describe what just happened on the phone, while letting the person on the phone know that she didn’t make a scene. At this point, very amused, and thankful that the boarding process was not going to be delayed today, I turn around and let the woman know that I was very proud of her for keeping her cool. Tiffany ends up being seated next to me, and on further discussion about it, she lets me know that today, she is in a really good mood, and she wasn’t going to let that bring her down.

So let this be a word of warning. Don’t assume. What I expect the gate agent should have done was to first check her ticket, and then remind her she was in the wrong place only once he was sure her ticket was not a first class ticket.

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