Friday, October 05, 2007

Mexicans on Maui and Airport Security

I went to Maui today to help get a grad-student from UNAM get set up and situated on Maui. She'll be working with us for a month over here. It was fun getting to hear some inside stories from Mexico. I was amazed that I got all the software she needed up and running fairly quickly on a linux system. I suck at linux, and I was using Katie's DARTH program, one I've never really tested out that much. It assumes a lot of things that have changed in the last year or so. But it was working pretty quickly.

I think the most entertaining part of the travel had to be the airport security. I had my first big screw-up in a while. I got to the airport at 6:50 for a 7:30 flight. PLENTY of time. I usually shoot for 6:55 cause the automated boarding machines close half an hour before the flight. Even then I waste 5-10 minutes waiting. I've never spent more than 10 minutes getting to the gate when I don't check a bag! This time, as I got my boarding pass from the automated, no-baggage machine, I realized that my ID was at home. Dammit!! I've got 10 minutes till boarding starts, 40 minutes to home in rush-hour traffic... No way I'm going to make it. I went to a gate agent (5min in line) and asked about changing my flight last minute. Little did I know, you don't need an ID to fly! Amazing. Fortunate. I wonder what kind of strip-searching I've got to go through..... He had to write in big red letters "No ID" across my ticket.

The dude at security had to take me aside and fill out a form about me - ticket number, destination, etc. They called out, in a funny half-military-parrrot way, "We got an L1" "L1" "L1 coming down" "L1 coming through" "L1" "L1 comign" till every agent had loudly parrotted the line. I had to chuckle. If only I'd been brown and bearded, they'd probably have called over a few more big guys. The biggest one came over after I passed through the metal detector and said "You've been randomly selected for extra screening". My ass. I don't have an ID and there's giant red "warnings" all over my ticket. You don't need to lie dude. I'm amazed I got this far. I got the full pat down and wanding. While this was going on, two others were tearing my backpack apart, rubbing the little bomb-sniffer paper things all over everything, doing maybe 10 tests, and looking inside everything possible. Good thing I was traveling for only one day and I only had a camera, laptop, and some papers. Not much to look through. I put my bag back together and speed-walked to the gate. The dude had just logged out of his machine and given my seat to a standby. He logged back in, found me a seat, and I was last on the plane with about a minute or two till the door closed. Jeezus that was close. I was amazed that I had made it through all that in under 35 minutes. Just amazing. I was the highest-risk "class" of passenger..... Though if I was brown I'd probably have not made the flight. No racial profiling? Bullshit. And statistically, it is bullshit. I made sure to leave an hour for the same process on the return....


Blogger Auntie C said...

Glad you made your flight, your totally right about the profiling. Amazing you even got on.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Diane Harrington said...

Hold on no body cavity search dude you were soooo lucky!!!

5:28 AM  

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