Scott McCartney, who writes “The Middle Seat” column for the Wall Street Journal, had his column taken over this week by his wife Karen Blumenthal, herself a former Journal writer and editor.
It’s a charming piece, very well written, and worthwhile for that reason alone. What stood out to me though is that she seems to have coined a phrase to describe the rush to elite boarding.
There are all sorts of tales and frustrations around passengers crowding the boarding line. Those who line up early, blocking the way for passengers in early boarding groups, are sometimes derisively referred to as “gate lice.” The sort of passenger who doesn’t know the drill, that it isn’t time for them to board yet, is the once a year (at most) flyer sometimes referred to as a “kettle” (as in ‘Ma’ and Pa’ Kettle).
But Ms. Blumenthal turns this elitism on its head, offering us the platinum push off to describe the elite who knocks everyone out of the way as their boarding group is called. Her husband, she says, is a master.
I get that he wants to avoid the scrum over overhead bin space. But it feels unnecessary to me to line up early, especially since he’s a master at the platinum push off, the forward maneuver that knocks the rest of us out of line when a fancy boarding group is called.
I hadn’t ever heard the term before, though I like it, so naturally I Googled it. It turns out this really does seem to be her creation. The first result that comes up is… her Journal piece. The other two results include commas, are off topic, and link to Montenegro-registered websites.
Maybe this new way of describing elites rushing the gate will catch on?