Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Hello my lovelies-- it has been a few days, nes pa? (thats french for "righto captain?") I went away on vacation for the Fourth of July, to a place where people on boats got really drunk and honked their horns after every good firework. Actually, after every single damn firework.

But lets move past the rednecks for now, because I have a diatribe to make about the state of AIRPORT SECURITY in this country today. And namely, I am talking about the Baltimore Washington International Airport.

So I get to BWI, cutting it very close to my flight (about 30 minutes), and immediately run to security because I've got a flight receipt with my Name, Address, Flight Number, Method of Payment, my entire life story and my photo ID. I stand in line only to be told that No, "We have to have a boarding pass to let you through."
"But this is a receipt for the flight, its got my name."
"We have to have a boarding pass. When you get your boarding pass come back here."

So, I race to ticketing, where there is a line, and doesn't it seem like those silly airhosts and airhostess take a DAMN LONG TIME just to find your name and flight number? All this clicking and clacking on the keyboard, what the hell are they doing, hardcoding my information in HTML? And I dont mean a long damn time, I really do mean a DAMN LONG TIME.

By the time I get to an agent, I say 3:15, she looks it up and goes, "oh no honey, your flight is closed."
Its 3:00 PM. My flight is not closed. My airplane is still at the gate. My seat on the airplane is still there. My airplane doesn't leave for 15 minutes.
"No, your flight is closed. We close flights 30 minutes before departure. YOU missed your flight".
Internal monolouge: do not yell at agent, but I DID NOT MISS MY GODDAMN FLIGHT, ITS STILL AT THE GODDAMN GATE, WHY GOD?

So I get issued a standby, with the snippy remark that yes, I will more than likely get a seat on the 4 PM flight.
I go back to security, boarding pass and photo ID in hand, where the line has trippled if not gogglidled in size. ( A gogillion. Remember, when you were a kid and your friend was like, well I have 50 thousand million billion trillion! And you were like, I have fifty one thousand million billion trillion gogillion! Its a number!) And I wait in line. And I wait. The line is split in two, I'm on one side and can clearly see boarding passes and ID's being checked ahead of me, but fear crossing over and getting beat up by airport passengers, like myself, because I would beat someone up if they did that.

I think, well they will check my ID and boarding pass just around this corner.
I think, they'll check it at the security thingy.
I think, I don't have to take off my flip flops, their plastic.
I see that the little old lady in front of me motions to her feet, she's wearing keds, and is given the ok sign to wear it through the metal detector.
I am about to step through behing her when the guy grunts and points at my feet. Plastic flip flops must be seen under X-ray, because obviously they have so many hidding places for knives, guns, bombs, etc. etc. (which were on a sign as expressly forbidden to bring on a plane. No knives, no guns, no bombs).

I take off my damn flip flops. I make to hand the guy my boarding pass and ID and just get waived through. I don't beep, but I'm looking at him in confusion. I have my boarding pass, I have my ID, aren't you gonna check it?, says my face. He gestures "move along".

Internal monolouge: But I have a boarding pass for a later flight because someone else in this airport refused to let me in and now NO ONE is looking and maybe if I had been in another line, I COULD HAVE NOT MISSED MY FLIGHT. In fact, as far as security goes, an entire line of people were just let into the gate without anyone knowing whether their names matched their faces! In fact, my flip flops were not dangerous at all and NO ONE CHECKED MY BOARDING PASS OR ID.

In fact, even at the gate, for the later flight, which got me into the city at exactly rush hour, which is the best time to ride the subway if you didn't know because people are so friendly and nice and there is so much space to sit and be at ease at 5:45 PM, I handed the dude my ticket and my ID, which even HE did not look at, but took the ticket and ushered me away.

I wanted to scream and cry and stomp my feet, but this would draw attention to me and I would probably have been taken away by Marines for terrorist activity at BWI airport, because terrorists obviously like to draw a lot of attention to themselves at all times. And wear flip flops.