More air travel hell

I pit my name and the idiot who screwed us up. A bastard has gotten myself and a few thousand liked named individuals added to a “fuck with” list at the airlines. No more email/internet/kiosk check-ins.

NOooooo. “I’m sorry, you have to go to the ticket counter”, present 10 forms of identification that you are not ‘that guy’, wait 15 minutes while being stared at like you have PERVERT, BOMBER, ESCAPED CONVICT stamped on your forehead, get a “probable terriorist” quasi-boarding pass. Then, at the boarding gate, “you have a seat but we can’t tell you what it is”. I get to board last lately with my reserved seat between the engine and the lavatory door. Last international flight back to the US was the worst. No less that 14 individual Passport/other ID/ticket/boarding pass comparisons (8 more that my travel companion). Four wandings and carry-on searchs without setting off the gate alarm. TSA “we fucked with your checked bags” forms neatly placed in the luggage. One customs interview with search of bags.
Two suspects I know of. One guy in Hawaii welched on child support payments and has a warrent out for his ass. Another guy may be out on bail/released from prison from a small city in Iowa I lived in. “SEVEN” people out of the 26,000 in town had the same name. This one crumb got regularly arrested; DWI, public intoxacation, assault, spousal abuse. One of the other of us made the local paper start printing middle initials. At least he was unique in that regard. I had a SECRET clearence and PRP additional requirements at that time. Our local security knew I wasn’t the criminal but still had to investigate and file reports - lots of them.

Screw the “take me to Cuba” crowd, assorted terrorists, and that stinkng shoe bomber. I hope they don’t “wait” getting into hell.

Maybe you should change your name. Something patriotic. Hussein, perhaps.

Sucks to be named Suspected Bomber Smith.

I’m lucky. My first name/last name combination is almost unique and as far as I can tell my full name really is unique.

My name is unique, too, but air travel still sucks ass.

My name is unique, so I’ll never have to worry about that, but the thread title drew me in because I spent 25 hours traveling in the last couple days and had to go through security FOUR SEPARATE TIMES. The breakdown:

  1. Arrive at Hyderabad Int’l Airport. Go through security. Okay.
  2. Arrive at Mumbai Int’l Airport. Go through security. What? Didn’t I do this already in Hyderabad?
  3. Go to my gate to catch my connecting flight. GO THROUGH SECURITY AGAIN AT THE GATE. THERE AREN’T ENOUGH CAPSLOCK IN THE WORLD TO EXPRESS MY ANNOYANCE. Seriously, I went through security twice within five minutes at the same fucking airport! What the fucking fuck?
  5. Arrive at DTW. Eat guacamole.

Seriously, though. Any airport that can’t figure out how to get passengers from one flight to another without forcing them to leave the secured zone so they have to go through security all over again seriously needs a redesign. And the people in Mumbai who made me go through it twice can go die in a fire.

Returning from Taiwan 2 years ago I had SEVEN, yes SEVEN hand-seaerches on just the return leg:

  • “Random search” in CKC airport before I made it to the gate in Taipei (during which, for reasons completely unknown, a Taiwanese girl took my insulin syringes and opened each one of and TOUCHED THE FUCKING NEEDLES, YES THE STABBY METAL PARTS, WITH HER BARE FINGERS, necessitating me throwing them all away and going to my backup needles in my other bag. When I asked her what the fuck she thought she was doing, she kept smiling and saying “Thank you!”).

  • Search boarding the plane in Taipei.

  • Search upon disembarking in Osaka, Japan.

  • Search upon re-embarking to the SAME GODDAMN AIRCRAFT, after we’d been kept in a secure area.

  • Search upon arriving in the US.

  • Search upon trying to enter the domestic terminal from the international terminal.

  • Search upon boarding my connecting flight.

Oddly, perhaps since I travel an enormous amount of the time and I’m a fairly low risk factor person, I almost never, ever get searched. I do have problems now with my photo ID and passport which usually raise questions, namely that one or more of them must be fake. It never holds me up very long, and for some strange reason when I show my CCW license it normally seems to resolve any questions very quickly…I wonder if others have the same experience. Perhaps because it’s a damn lot harder to get a CCW license than a passport?

This is amazing on so many levels I don’t even know where to start. I hope you wrote to…whatever the Taiwanese equivalent of the TSA.

I’m embarrassed to say I did nothing except put the new syringes on my expense report for the trip.

Don’t be embarrassed. Getting obstinate with security is a one-way ticket to an afternoon spent in a little room wearing those plastic wire-tie handcuffs.

And those fucking things really chafe, too.

Hm…that’s an interesting coincidental sidebar: just last week while I was on an airplane, I read Reaper Man for the first time, and encountered where your user name originated.

The fourth one at JFK, I understand. Presumably you went through customs there. You always have to go through security after having access to your checked baggage (as you do when going through customs). That’s because there are many items allowed in checked baggage which are not allowed in carry-on. For example, it’s possible that after retrieving your checked bags at JFK you take out a knife from your suitcase and put it into your carry-on bag, and then went through customs.

So it’s not just JFK, it works like this at all airports.

So why not send the bags directly to the final destination?

If I change planes in Barajas with any company that’s not a low-cost (those don’t forward), I pick my bags at the final destination; I go through customs once in Madrid (without bags) and once at the final destination (with bags).

My record for Most Patdowns In A Single Trip is still that Philly-Paris-Madrid which the airline changed to a Philly-NYC-Madrid (9 patdowns, 3 in the same line).

Oh joy. I am traveling from Chicago to Madrid later this month so I only imagine the fun I have waiting for me.

Uh? Why? For the arrival at Madrid or…?

In Madrid you only need to pick up your bags and walk out, unless you have something to declare, in which case you pick up your bags and talk to the guys in green. There’s a lot less barriers than in the US. They’ll check your passport before picking the bags.

I am pretty sure I did not have to go through security when I went through customs on a layover in Houston upon returning to the US from Colombia earlier this year. But I didn’t have any checked luggage. Could they have separated those of us with only carry-ons from those who had checked stuff? I really don’t know.

I also had to go through security a second time at JFK on the way TO India, back in June. And I wasn’t going through customs then, as I had only come in from Detroit. There really was absolutely no reason, AFAICT, that this was necessary. So I am kind of feeling like it’s a JFK clusterfuck.

I’m surprised more people don’t know this, but when you come to the US, you end up being forced to re-claim your bags to take to customs, then re-checking them, usually in an area which is right outside of the customs zone. You then exit the secure terminal and are forced to re-enter the main terminal via another security zone. There are exceptions to this, of course - IIRC Ireland has agreements which allow for pre-clearance, thus you don’t have to worry about it.

I’ve been in and out via dozens of airports from a dozen countries, including Spain, and it’s always the same (except for Ireland, and probably some others).

I’m going to have to double-check with my friends with whom I traveled to Colombia. I seriously don’t remember having to go through security upon going through customs, but it was in February, and my memory isn’t perfect.

I don’t suppose there’s a logical reason for having to go through security at JFK when I’d already gone through at DTW?

It isn’t NECESSARILY bad. We did Munich to Heathrow to Dallas to Minneapolis. Cleared Security in Munich (piece of cake). No security in Heathrow that I recall. Customs - but not security in Dallas. Got off the plane in Minneapolis. No patdowns, simple “put your stuff in the bins and walk through the metal detectors” in Munich. (Munich didn’t even make us take our shoes off).

But if you have the fortune to share a name with a suspected terrorist, it might be a good idea to have your significant other work on stretching out your body cavities wearing a latex glove now…there will be far less discomfort later.

The routine is normally:

  • Passport control (either you get through, or you go to Cuba)
  • Collect bags (including Cuban rum hidden within).
  • Customs (where ironically going to Cuba can get you into more trouble).
  • Recheck bags (with single remaining bottle of Cuban rum).
  • Exit secured area (Cuban rum never to be seen again).
  • Re-enter secured area and stupidly have to go through security again (Cuba? Never heard of it. Can’t even spell it.)
  • Connect to domestic flight.
  • Arrive - rum is missing, of course.
  • Write letter to TSA asking “where did rum go?”
  • End up on terrorist watch list.

But I will not even attempt to speak for all airports, carriers, countries, or situations. I can confirm that was the process within the last 2 years at Atlanta, JFK, O’Hare, Detroit Wayne, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Phoenix, and…um, probably some more I can’t remember.