Tuesday, May 13, 2008

But more seriously: one can still mess with airport security!

Airport security is very good at putting on a show for the rubes--"we make you take off your shoes so stupid people feel safer"--but when it comes to novel situations, anything goes.

Last night, on the way from San Jose to Tucson, the through count in Las Vegas had one passenger too many. After letting some passengers on the plane, the stewardess, list in hand, asked the passengers who originated in San Jose to raise our hands. Twelve people answered, each of whom was on the list. Puzzled by this result, the process was repeated. I spoke up: "If I were a stowaway wanting a free flight to Tucson, I wouldn't raise my hand."

Were I wearing an untucked T-shirt and a baseball cap indoors, or black, or perhaps not reading Susan Jacoby's (mediocre) Age of American Unreason, or not flying Southwest, I might have been harassed, reported to security, or bounced from the flight. But instead my interjection elicited a laugh from the other passengers and the stewardess not in charge of the count, a nervous giggle from the counter, and little more.

The raised-hand name check was attempted once more, with the same result. The rest of the passengers boarded and, other than a 45-minute delay due to dangerous wind conditions, the flight proceeded as planned. Somebody who knows the routes got a discounted flight!

I now have one more reason to fly Southwest: they take being relaxed seriously. Code Orange? Is that a techno band?

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