I was in Las Vegas for some meetings. I decide to leave a day early and purchase a 1-way ticket to Des Moines just a tick less than 2 hours before that flight was scheduled to take off. In today’s post apocalyptic airline merger world, I was on 2 different airlines, but the itinerary was owned by another. I checked it at one counter, was told I must go to another for segment two. I did. I had two tickets in hand. Upon arrival in Denver, I went to airline number 2 for second segment and was asked if I "Had my first segment boarding pass stub". I replied "Why would I keep that after all, I’m already off that flight". The agent explained that because I didn’t have that stub, I’d have to have a secondary security screening. "See here, the SSSS on your ticket indicates that." Oh. What does that mean?
Next thing I know, the TSA is approaching. I’ve been informed that I’ve been randomly selected for additional screening. I’m sure that the circumstances put me here were:
No checked baggage
Last minute ticket
One way ticket on airline 1
One way ticket on airline 2
I’m not really sure considering I went through ALL of the normal security stuff that everyone else does. Anyway.
The TSA agents began to lead me behind a ticket counter and I informed them that I’d like to do the search right there in the middle of the walkway since I’ve nothing to hide. They gently suggest that we move away and to avoid being jailed, I comply. They proceed to engage in a 15 minute examination of my brief case, my suitcase, and stopped just short of my cavity. It’s really odd when it comes right down to it. There are a million items in my brief case, most electronic in nature and a visual search would only turn up the, "Yep, looks like an electronic device" conclusion. No one questioned my cigar cutter and the female agent didn’t know what my empty 5-cigar holder was. She spent most of her inquisition time on that item made of leather and cedar wood. I reserved the "Hey, $10 for the female agent to pat me down" joke…since these two appeared to be quite serious and I wanted to be home that day. The male agent opened my suitcase but only searched the perimeter realizing that getting all that crap (7 days of clothes in a small rollaboard) back in would take quite some time. Effective?
I was given the pat down, run down, shoe off, 2-step, gray haired guy in a blue blazer must be up to something treatment.
I know why they do this…but I’m disappointed that we still do it. Everyone in that waiting area for gate 42B at DEN had the seed planted that somethings up with "that guy" and they probably had undue stress during the flight. Shame.
They could at least buy you a drink when they’re done having their way with you.