Drama at the gate: What happens after security
After TSA scrutiny, there’s still have a couple of cruel jokes left for the jetsetting terrorist.
One is the “approach the gate desk” announcement (To be covered in a future post. This will be a good one).
The other is what happens when you’re boarding the plane, at the moment they scan your boarding pass.
The TSA making everything difficult, Part 324453@#!$aaaghYou’resostupid
The person at the gate takes your boarding pass and scans it. My boarding pass doesn’t elicit a pleasant chime. It belts out a digitized computer equivalent of a stork being set on fire.
The computer screen (which I’ve glimpsed at odd angles) says something about verifying the passenger has been cleared by the TSA in big red letters. It then prompts them to enter a code of some sort to clear the passenger for boarding.
What they’re supposed to do is verify that my boarding pass has been stamped by the TSA, indicating I’ve been “properly screened.”
What actually happens is the ticket person just kind of stands there, looking between the computer and the boarding pass, confused.
Why the airlines are so hopelessly confused
Consider for a second that even a larger airports might only see a few people on The List a day. I was told at one airport in a town of 120,000 people that they only see someone on The List every few months.
Then divide that by the number of airlines at that airport, and the number of airlines who have encounters with someone on the The List becomes very small.
Then divide by the number of employees who take tickets at each airline, and the actual chance of any individual airline employee ever having taken a ticket from a flagged person is virtually zero.
So that’s why, most of the time, they just stand there, staring blankly, confused. Keep in mind there is a line of people behind us, and airlines are absolutely ruthless about maintaining their “on time performance” rating. The pressure is really on.
About 80% of the time they figure it out inside of a minute. They often have to call for someone, but they figure it out.
Then there’s the other 20%. Total gridlocked stalemate. They just can’t figure it out. And they have a computer screen in front of them stating I’m not allowed to board until they do.
Usually they’ll ask me to step aside, take every other passenger, and return to theie terrorist-with-a-ticket quandary once everyone else has boarded. Phone calls are made, manuals are consulted, and freaking out is commenced.
At least a dozen times I’ve been told to just get on the plane before they’ve figured it out. (This worked to my great advantage once. Read here.) This is the kind of rule-breaking I like to encourage.
Ok, listen up airlines
In almost every situation, I am treated like all of this is my fault. In every incident, I don’t ever recall being treated in any way like I was a paying customer. The ticket-takers are gruff and flustered, and almost never apologize for the delay. In the many times when I’m the last passenger to board because of this TSA-imposed inconvenience, I get on the plane and am barked at to “hurry back and take my seat.” It’s a disgrace.
So pay attention you clowns: If there really are over 10,000 people on The List, that’s a lot of people to make hate you. And while my notes have not been thorough up to this point, I will be taking careful track of which of you treat us like the TSA is our fault, our problem, and something we’ve imposed on you. And I’m going to blast the name of your TSA-boot-licking company all of the internet. Get your act together.