Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heading Home - Traveling LAX to Saipan

I wonder if the check-in agents got a raise when the airlines started charging for luggage and enforcing weight restrictions? On either side of me there’s been yelling and sarcastic answers from the other side of the counter with at least 3 groups. More than one person has been disgusted with having to repack a bag or pay extra for one that is over weight. I continue to stand and wait patiently as the agent process my paper work. My bags have all ready been weighed and they BOTH come in at 47.5 pounds – Ya baby!
Things have gone extremely well up to this point. There was an agent directing traffic in the first line and as soon as I asked where I had to go to check in with an agent I was politely directed to the SHORT line for once! The agent at the desk took his time making sure everything was done properly, even getting chastised by a supervisor who seemed like she really didn’t care what procedure he followed so why was he asking her! In the end he apologized many times over for the delay and even came out from behind the counter to shake my hand and try to help me with my bags. Following check in, as I pushed my cart of bags towards the baggage drop off line, another NWA agent quietly told me I could wheel them a bit farther down the hall to another entry point closer to my gate and with no line. Sweet! This is going well.

Arriving at security my documents were stamped and I passed through a pretty short line at lightning speed. Then, “This way sir” the dreaded words – To the pat down area I go! Oh well it really had been too good to be true to this point!
The first thing the man doing the patting said was I was selected for screening by the airline. I find that a little hard to believe unless they print out your boarding pass with some special code for “pick this guy”. As far as I can tell there is no communication between the airline and the person standing by the x-ray machine with the little baton directing you either to carry on or to move into the Plexiglas enclosure.

Whatever! I’m here in plenty of time and after all I am a single male traveler with a laptop and a hard drive in my carry on. I’m also Canadian and have been in the mainland US for over three months and am now returning to a US Commonwealth that few customs officials actually even know exists. Besides I probably look way too relaxed and happy since I arrived pretty early and have plenty of time for this. So being singled out probably makes sense in this case but it still sucks because a ½ hour later my chill’n time at the gate has been erased!

When I arrive the gate area is packed and they are making a last call for passengers requiring assistance to pre board. They’ve also made an announcement for general boarding and that line up is already very long. I think, what the hell, this surgery thing has to be good for something. I don’t really need much help but I do have 2 medical letters and getting on a little early would be much better than waiting in what was now a growing line.

I got a real look from the agent doing the boarding pass check at the gate as the last wheel chair went before me. She even said, as if I was an idiot, “we’re doing the pre-boarding sir”. I thought to myself “oh ya, was that the pre-board pat down your airline just selected me for back there?” This as I showed her my letter and then smiled as she said oh, ok sir and waived me through.

I’m even wearing my Torrance Memorial cardiac rehab shirt. I’m so tempted to go topless in Tokyo’s Norita airport and see what kind of service I get!

1 comment:

Harry Blalock said...

Welcome home old guy! Some of the turtles have been asking about you lately, wondering where the guy with the video camera went. I told them you went in for an oil and lube job and that you'd be back in no time! Can't wait to hit the water with you.