31 January 2010

Safer Skies?

I flew to Philadelphia and back this week for work, the first time I've flown since the Christmas day foiled bomber. I wasn't sure what sort of new security measures would be in place, having seen news stories of now only one carry-on, or not being able to touch your personal belongings during the flight. None of that was enforced on my flights. In Paris there were more rounds of the "did you pack your own bags?" questioning, and they searched a number of "randomly" selected people for manual searches of carry-on bags which delayed our take-off, but that was about it.

On the way back to Paris on Friday, when I finally found the Delta counter (Delta took over the Air France route between Paris and Philadelphia. Not a good thing), the rep asked me if I had already checked in. No, I didn't remember to do the advance check in on-line, so had not checked in at all. But we have you checked in with three bags? No, really no. So he checked me and my 2 bags (only one on the way over, the 2nd mostly bike stuff!) and that was that.

While I was still trying to settle into my seat on the plane, another woman came up and said she had 2A, my seat. No, 2A is definitely my seat. She got the flight attendant, who looked at my boarding pass and her boarding pass. Both said 2A, and both had my name on it. I don't know what the other woman's name really was, but mine is unusual enough that hers definitely was not identical.

They shuffled her to another seat (or maybe off the plane?) and asked for my bag claim checks to make sure the bags were labeled correctly, and the flight attendant apologized to me: "that doesn't usually happen on international flights."

So- the rep at check in did not get the right name from her passport, and checked her in under my name. Then the how many checks through security did not pick up that her boarding pass and passport did not match? But if I bring a bottle of anything greater than 3 oz. I'm a security risk? Please.

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