Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No Fly For You! (Epilogue)

Much of yesterday, the common jokes were either that (1) I should shave my beard off before heading to the airport or (2) that I was planning to checkout of the hotel around 4:00 a.m. for my noon flight. In the end I ended up sharing a cab with some coworkers who were flying out at 11:00 a.m. and leaving the hotel around 8:45 a.m.

They were on a different airline, leaving from a different terminal, than I was, but I ended up getting dropped off first so as to have the maximum amount of time to clear security.

I arrived at the United check-in counters and there was a short line. When I reached the attendant, I said that my name had appeared on the No-Fly List on my way to Dallas, so I needed some extra scrutiny. She gave me a friendly tsk-tsk and sent me over to the next attendant. I handed her my drivers’ license, and she called up on the computer and called someone on the phone simultaneously. I could only hear her side of the conversation, but there seemed to be some puzzlement. I popped up in the computer without a flag, and I heard the attendant say to the person on the phone, "No, he said he was a No Fly." After hanging up her phone and handing me my boarding pass, she said there wasn't any problem with me or my name.

Security itself presented no problems, so I cleared the magnetometers and got to walk around most of Terminal B at DFW; I thought about riding the Skylink around the airport — the view of the runways and taxiways from the tram looked like they'd be pretty good, despite the bad weather — but instead I decided to hang out near the departure gate ... just in case I was paged. (After all, last time I had no trouble getting my boarding pass, it was just getting on the plane.)

When the gate agent opened her podium, I queued up with the standbys and asked her to please double-check to see if there were any problems with me getting on the plane. Again, nothing.

Even after I boarded the plane and found my seat, I was still a little perturbed and concerned that I was announcing myself as a No-Fly listee, but not showing up as one. At the same time, I figured that even if someone tried to remove me from the flight, I wasn't unlatching my seatbelt.

So what does it mean? Dulles seems to be where I repeatedly have a problem? Is it the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office that is looking for T. Carter Ross? Is there greater scrutiny at IAD than other airports? If I'm cleared on the first leg of the flight, am I cleared for my trip home? If I submit a FOIA request to TSA about any of this will that help get an answer or would it lead to additional problems in the future?

All questions for another day, I guess. Right now, we're over the Appalachians with about a half hour until we land ...

LATER ... I finally made it home after a lot of Beltway traffic and backroads to avoid said Beltway traffic. And my battery being dead when I got to my car. (Fortunately, a coworker was in the same parking lot and I reached her before she'd left the lot and she was able to give me a jump. It looks like I hit the map light as I was getting out of the car or something ...)

Celeste, I'm very glad to say remembered me and was happy to see me ...

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