So, I was laughing with my friend, Jo, about TSA in Milwaukee asking if I had metal in my body as soon as the agent heard my age.
“Well, I have metal in my spine, but let me tell you what happened to me a couple of weeks ago,” said Jo. “TSA (in St. Louis) said I had a hot spot on my groin!” She had to wait while a female agent was called, worrying that she and her husband would miss their flight, which was a long way from Security.
“The agent asked me, ‘Do you mind if I put my hands down your waistband?'” and did, and started feeling around, way down.
“Did she take you to another room?”
“No. It was so humiliating!!! What do they think a 75-year-old woman has in her groin?” said Jo.
“But! I had my shoes on.*”
*Note: After you hit age 75, you don’t have to take your shoes off in US security lines.
“I’m 75 (and two days), so I don’t have to take off my shoes, do I?” I asked the TSA woman, VERY CAREFUL to be polite.
“Do you have any metal in your body, like a hip replacement?”
I kept my shoes on.
The United counter didn’t know why I was rejected. It was TSA. Everything is in order, the rep at the gate said. That’s what United said last month too, in DC when I was condemned to the regular security line to fly to Denver. Why? Am I on a brown list because I went to Marrakech a couple of months ago for the annual iEARN conference? Marrakech was one of the 12 airports that Homeland Security named when it banned passengers on flights going to the US to bring laptops in their carry-ons.
How long will this purgatory go on? The regular security line at noon in Milwaukee is tolerable. However, Denver can be 45 minutes of cattle-chute hell. NOTE: Lesson learned — always bring a portable battery to charge your phone when you are forced to endure the regular security lines at DEN. Just in case.
- PS: A few days ago, a pal at the National Geographic Retirees’ monthly lunch told me that he was kept off Pre-Check for several months after he was in Jordan.
When I asked the United rep at the check-in counter in Milwaukee whether I’d be able to make my connection in Chicago since the plane was leaving late, she noted my age and said cheerfully: “I’ll order a wheelchair for you.”
She didn’t order help. I made the flight.