me, a terrorist?

Anyone who knows me would be as surprised as I was to find out that my name is on some watch list.

This all started for me back in November when I was unable to check in for a flight from Chicago to Dallas. Since then, I have been required to prove my identity and DOB before being allowed to board some flights, mainly on American Airlines. The biggest issue so far occurred last weekend on my trip to see family in Oklahoma.

The trip started off on a good foot. On the overnight flight out of Seattle, Northwest upgraded me to first class. But when I got to Dallas things changed; I had to switch to American and the problems started.

I arrived at the departure gate about 35 minutes prior to the departure time and immediately went to talk to the gate agent. Unfortunately I must have gotten an agent who didn’t really know what they needed to do. Her first response to me was “you need to clear security.” This surprised me as I had already flown two flights to get there and I was in fact already inside security and standing at the gate. I have learned that this is American’s way of saying ‘we have your name on a watch list.’

After about 15 to 20 minutes standing there while she clicked away at the computer she FINALLY decided that she couldn’t solve my problem and sent me to another agent. The second agent was also unable to resolve the situation, but quickly summoned additional help.  When they got everything straight in their computer and got me ‘cleared’ American had already closed my flight. I still don’t understand why when I check in at a kiosk and need assistance, American can ‘clear’ me in a matter of seconds, but if I’m already inside security they just can’t seem to get it done.

Thankfully the commuter flights to Amarillo leave every few hours, so I only had to wait about two hours for the next flight. I spent the next 30 minutes waiting for and talking with the American supervisor on site, and they were as helpful as they could be and assured me that the first agent I talked to would be reprimanded and provided with additional training.

I arrived in Amarillo a few hours late, but safe and sound. However, after this issue, I am much less likely to fly American if there are any other options, at least until they realize that I’m not a terriorist.

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~ by Michael Sorensen on April 21, 2009.

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