Monday, September 24, 2007

Terrorist in Denver

Have you all been waiting patiently since last week for my terrorist story???????

Well, I'm a little late posting this morning, but technically this is my last day of vacation so I'm tired and sunburned, so I get a break on the late start. So without further ado: How I Was Suspected of Being a Terrorist at the Denver Airport!

I told you last week that I'm a corporate trainer and travel a lot. In fact, I just finished logging over 100k flight miles with American Airlines for the past 14 months. I usually fly American because I'm based out of Dallas (that's their hub), so I get the most flights to the most places. And there's simply no use in spreading out your mileage points among airlines or you'll never, ever get anything free. And the ONLY perk to traveling this much is free trips.

So I tell you all of this because on my flight out of Denver, I couldn't get an American Airlines flight. I had to fly United. Now, don't get me wrong - I've flown United before and I have a membership number, etc, so it's not like they don't "know" me as a passenger. I am also a very light packer (curteosy of a VERY long baggage wait in Orlando - another story), and can do a five day training with a carry-on bag, just so I don't have to bother with checking anything. So I finished class early that day and headed to the airport, hoping to get on an earlier flight. There was one, and it had seats, so it was a possibility.

I walk up to the kiosk to get my boarding pass (because we do all flight arranging electronically) and I'm super-duper happy that I'm not checking a bag because it's spring break and there are at least 4 billion kids in line with skiis. Well, I put in my record locater and the kiosk doesn't find my record. So I pick up the phone and tell the attendant the problem. Then the following conversation ensues:

Me: "The kiosk can't find my record."

Her: "No, we found your record, but someone needs to check your id."

Me: "OK. So send someone over to check it."

Her: "I'm sorry, m'aam, but you're going to have to stand in line for that."

Me: "Are you kidding me? It's spring break here. Have you seen the lines?"

(additional arguing and griping but to no avail and another attendant comes to escort me to the line)

So I wait in the line for over an hour only to get to the counter and have the attendant tell me I'm in the wrong line. (more under breath cussing ensues) So I get escorted to yet ANOTHER line where I wait an additional 45 minutes and by that time all seats on the earlier flight are gone and I get to now wait 4 hours for my flight. The attendant barely even looks at my id before issuing the ticket, and I can't take it anymore, so the following conversation ensues: (mind you, you can't just kill or threaten the flight Nazis or you won't get to fly at all, so I'm breathing deep to control my outrage and blood pressure)

Me: "So what exactly is the problem? Why did I have to go through all this when I'm registered with United as a frequent flyer?"

Att: "You have the same birthdate as a terrorist and they're trying to catch him. It's a 39 year-old middle-eastern man."

Me: (staring in disbelief) "Well, I can see where the problem might come in. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, German women with Double D's are always confused for middle-eastern men."

(blank look from attendant)

Me: (leaning in over counter) "Do you really think the terrorist would have waited in line?"

(blank look from attendant shifting ever so slightly to "hey, maybe she's on to something)

Me: "Never mind."

I take my ticket and huff off where I get to wait 4 hours in the only damned terminal in the Denver airport without an internet connection. I officially hate United airlines.

Now let me tell you how I think that scenario should have played out - and I would have been perfectly okay with that:

I should have entered my record locater in the kiosk. A couple of seconds later, a hidden panel door should have flung open and 4 or 5 guys should have rushed out, thrown me to the ground and THEN id'd me. THAT'S catching a terrorist!

36 comments:

Christie Craig said...

Love, love it, Jana. Thanks for the laugh. Flying is always an adventure.

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Christie! Yes, flying is always an adventure - in fact, I'm writing this from the airport. :)

Lucy said...

OMG, too funny. I'm so sorry you had to go through that but it is a funny story. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. So the solution to discovering a potential terrorist is NOT to escort said PT to security & promptly check id, but to put said PT in immediate proximity to several hundred people, unattended & unwatched, for nearly 2 hours.

Oh yeah. That makes TOTAL sense to me.

Sorry you had to go through that, Jana! Hope the next several flights are angst free. ;=)

Pink Pelican

Stacy S said...

I'm sorry you had to go thru that. But, man that's funny!!

Gemma Halliday said...

Lol! Maybe your nickname should have been "The Terrorist" instead of Double D. ;)

~Gemma

Tori Lennox said...

Ye gods. *rolling eyes* The idiocy of the TSA/airline people just blows my mind.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Oh! Sorry that happened to you. The war on terrorism continues to go well.

I got pulled aside for a luggage search at security this summer - actually my 7 year old daughter's bag did. They saw something "of interest" in the bottom they wanted to check out. Fine. The security guy reaches his hand in and then yanks it out quickly and yelps.

My daughter's rubber lizard scared him. I could practically see his pulse thumping in his forehead the rest of the time we were at the desk.

(the item of interest? a couple of cork wine stoppers with stone tops)

Estella said...

Flying is always an adventure!

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Lucy! Yes, it was frustrating, but it makes for a great story! :)

Brenda H said...

LOL! I have often traveled to conventions with a group of friends and it never fails I am ALWAYS the random person chosen for the "search" Maybe it has to do with the Double D's or my underwire!

catslady said...

Oh I don't think that was funny at all! The stupidity of people and frankly they just don't give a damn. Now the rubber lizard was funny - should have bit him lol.

Dru said...

LOL!! I love your scenario!

Virginia said...

Loved the story and I know its not funny but I can see it happening.

Jana DeLeon said...

Yeah, Pink, I was sorta thinking the same thing.......

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Stacy! I have to admit, I am a lot more amused now than I was then. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Gemma, but you see the Double D was so befitting given the terrorist story and all. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Tori - it's something that would probably bother me a lot given how much I travel - IF I stopped long enough to dwell on it.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Jenyfer - I would have paid money to see when he grabbed the rubber lizard. What a pansy!

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi estella - Yes, it most certainly can be!

Patrice said...

Jana, that's too funny...in a bad way! And you look so much like a terrorist :) I would have been fuming but sadly, you can't do or say anything. Was this on your return flight home from Denver when I saw you? Was it b/c your birthday was very recent? That's nuts!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

A rubber lizard is a great way to get a security guard back...er...his attention. He said he thought it was a snake (because snakes don't have bones that would show up on xray??)

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Patrice - Thank God it wasn't my most recent trip! I think it was the last time I had dinner with you in Denver. And I had to fly out on United this past time as well. I kept my fingers crossed the whole time. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Jenyfer - I guess you're right about the x-ray thing, but wouldn't they notice it moving???? I guess everyone didn't like Snakes on a Plane as much as me. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Brenda - you know what's really odd? When I used to travel only for personal stuff (conventions, etc) I was always the lady who got her purse searched. My friends used to laugh at me because of it. Now that I travel for business and have been on a plane almost every week for a year, do you know I've NEVER had my bag searched. Weird!

Jana DeLeon said...

catslady - I know, it's not funny, but then if you don't find it funny, you'll just slit your wrists eventually. God knows, there's no correcting anything at airports.

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi dru and virginia! Glad you liked the story. Sorry our security is very weak. :)

CrystalG said...

My goodness, Jana. I would have been so mad. You handled the situation well. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks crystal, and believe me, the only reason I was so polite is because I knew the Nazis would have me removed from the airport if I did otherwise. We are SO at the mercy of the travel industry!

Minna said...

That's how they try to catch terorists these days? Geeze...

Jana DeLeon said...

minna - shocking, right? :)

Minna said...

The last time I was in the States -and this was a couple of months before the terrorist attack- they checked my bag, which makes more sense than making a person to stand in line for hours. A real terrorist would have probably blown up the airport while waiting in line.

readingissomuchfun said...

OMg! This was funny. I had fun reading this one thanks for sharing. I am sorry about what you went through.

Hugssss
LindaH

Nathalie said...

Great story... like the one from a book!

Lily said...

Nathalie is right... are you sure you didn't invent this! I really liked your comment on a terrorsit waiting 45 minutes in line!

Lila said...

Great entry, and how funny! They see everyone as potential terrorists.