How I mess with airline staff at the gate for being TSA puppets
Something very strange happens at the gate about 75% of the time I fly. It is clearly related to being on The List. But I haven’t figured out it’s exact purpose. Yet.
Most of the time, while I’m waiting to board, one of the desk agents gets on the PA and announces:
“Passenger_____ (me), please approach the gate desk. Passenger_____ , please approach the gate desk. “
Naturally, you assume this must be important and approach the desk. I did this exactly one time. And I will never do it again.
The first time they tricked me
It was 2009 and I had just experienced my first boarding pass with the “SSSS.” It was in Atlanta. You never forget your first.
I heard my name.
“Passenger ____ (me), please approach the gate desk. Passenger_____ , please approach the gate desk. “
I approached the desk.
“Mister _____, can I see your ID and boarding pass please.”
I handed the woman both. She just looked at them, entered some numbers in her computer, and handed them back, without a word or eye contact. You know you’re perceived as subhuman when someone makes an awkward request and doesn’t even offer the dignity of an explanation.
I knew exactly what was happening. Not exactly, but I knew it was TSA related. And I knew I wasn’t going to let it happen again.
My feeble but hilarious ongoing protest
I started to fight back.
Even though it only happens about 75% of the time, I began to love it when they try to call me to the desk. I actually look forward to it. Because my response drives them crazy.
Or lack of response. Every time I hear my name called, I just sit there. Or turn my music up louder. Or stare them down. I do everything but approach the desk.
The first call usually comes 15 minutes before boarding. They call again 5 minutes later. Then every two minutes after that, with increasing strain and urgency.
“Passenger______, PLEASE APPROACH THE GATE DESK.”
The best part
The real fun happens after they’ve called my name ten times, and I’m finally at the gate handing them my boarding pass. The machine gives the usual freak-out warning sound when scanned, and they realize I’m the guy they’ve been pleading to approach the desk.
“Mister ____, did you hear us calling you? We’ve been announcing your name over the PA for half an hour.”
“I know. And I’m not falling for that any more. Maybe your airline should have some self-respect and not roll over for the TSA.”
Yes I actually say this.
So American, Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska, Frontier, and all the rest of you slavish TSA lap dogs: Have a trace of dignity and stop being the TSA’s outsourced bully squad .
This has occasionally backfired. Sometimes you get those weird tickets that don’t have a seat assignment, and it turns out they’re calling me to give me my seat. Or maybe they just give those kinds of tickets to convicted terrorists too.