Seat assignment at Portland airport

I am currently waiting at Portland airport for the first of my flights back to Britain, after the APS DFD conference (which may be the subject of a future post).

One strange aspect of this airport is the way that seats will be assigned. At all other instances of flying, I have always been able to select a seat while checking in, before waiting at the gate. Here (and perhaps it’s specific to the airline Delta), people have not had their seats assigned to them yet; the gate staff is calling people up to the desk, one by one, to give us our seats.

This system is slow and inefficient. Moreover, calling people up by publicly announcing the names on our passports has questionable privacy implications: In particular, for transgender people who do not necessarily go by the names on their passports. (This provides another counterexample to the ‘nothing to hide’ argument.)

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