May 27

The ‘N’ Letter

Steve Cody wasn’t allowed through San Francisco Airport security this morning. Why? Because hisBoarding_pass
boarding pass read ‘Steve’ and his driver’s license reads ‘Steven.’ This raised all sorts of possible terrorist warnings to the crack TSA agent, who promptly sent me back to the ticket agent.

I dutifully trooped back, waited on line and explained what had just happened. The ticket agent sighed and said, “Where do they find these idiots?” She then logged onto her computer and began changing the reservation. But, lo and behold, the airline’s computer system wouldn’t allow her to do so because I was on the ‘open’ second leg of a round trip. Oh.

Now, she’s pissed. She has to grab her supervisor and explain the situation. I hear him exclaim, “You must be joking!”

Long story short, he handwrites some sort of hieroglyphics on the boarding pass and has the ticket agent personally escort me back to the surly, oh-so-vigilant TSA agent. He looks her over, looks me over, listens to her explanation and says, “I don’t like it one bit, but I’ll let him through. As for you (pointing to me),” he sniffs, “Next time you book a flight, do so with your full and correct legal name. Got it?” Got it. Yes sir. Thank you, sir. And thank you for defending our freedom and security, sir.

Gimme a break.

Jul 20

Where does security end and image & reputation begin?

I detest business travel. There simply is no upside to it. In addition to the hassles, delays and indifferent service, there’s also the reality of substantially increased security.

With the latter, there’s a very fine line that exists between safety and sheer stupidity. Two recent cases in point illustrate the conundrum:

The first was recounted in a recent Joe Sharkey/New York Times column. It detailed a horrific story concerning a young mom and child traveling on a Continental Express flight. According to Sharkey, the traveler’s baby kept gurgling, ‘Bye-bye plane’ over and over as it taxied to the runway. This admonition upset the flight attendant so much that she insisted the mother ‘…..shut the kid up’ and feed it ‘…..Benadryl to knock it out.’ The mother refused, so the flight attendant told the captain she’d been threatened by the mom. Bye-bye mom. She and the kid were tossed off the plane.

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