Sunday, March 20, 2011

Airport / Travel Problems for “Normal” People. Not So Much for Celebrities.

I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday, who told me about a very interesting problem she had encountered at an airport (which shall remain nameless, to protect its identity) early last week. Basically, she had everything that could go wrong – actually go wrong.
She arrived at the airport 1.5 hours before her flight was scheduled to depart. She had pre-paid and arranged for quick checkout so all she had to do when she got to the airport was go to the airline’s kiosk, enter her credit card, and receive her boarding pass. But, when she got there and tried the kiosk, it could not find her in the system. So, she had to wait in line for about 20 minutes to get an actual person to help her. After another 10 minutes or so, they were able to find her and print out her boarding pass without incident. So, next she’s off to the security checkpoint and out onto the terminal. Well, wouldn’t you know it… At the security check, she was “randomly” selected to be (pretty much strip) searched. She was hand-scanned with a metal detector, which of course “went off” around her mid section. After having her remove her belt, only for the metal detector go off again, the airline security personnel escorted her to a back room where she was asked to remove all clothing, down to her undergarments. She had done nothing wrong and did not like this idea, but complied anyway. After determining that the metal detector “probably” went off due to an oversize zipper on her pants, she was allowed to put her clothes back on and head out of the private search room.
Then, after getting back out to the public security area, she was pleased to find three security agents taking everything possible item out of her carry-on luggage. (It took three people to go through a laptop case and a hand bag. Wow, no wonder travel costs are so high.) Then, they asked her to step into a new machine that she had never seen before. After standing in the “boxy looking” machine and having it fan her with about 10 short, but strong blasts of air – she was told that it was a new way of testing for drug and explosive particles on passengers. Luckily for her, she doesn’t do drugs nor make bombs, so she passed the test and was then escorted back to the standard security area. To her surprise, however, once there she had to yet again send her luggage, personal items, and herself back through the regular screening processes. (And yes, her zipper set-off the metal detector. This time, however, they let her through.)
It was now 10 short minutes until her scheduled flight time. She was panicked, but “luckily,” she thought to herself, her departure gate was one of the first in the terminal. So, she only had to go about 50 feet to get to her flight. Upon arrival, however, the gate was empty – save for one loan airline agent. She approached the agent and asked if her flight had been moved to another gate. The agent looked at her and then proceeded to explain to her, with the tone of a parent speaking to a disturbed child, that they had already made three calls for the flight and that the flight had left early because it appeared as though everyone scheduled for the flight had already boarded. Pissed off at this point, she found herself very angry with the airline employee. With a sharp tone and a raised voice, she said a few things that she probably should not have. And, wouldn’t you know it, within seconds there were three airport security agents surrounding her.

Hayden Panettiere at the Airport
Hayden Panettiere Looking Cute as Ever at the Airport

Luckily for her, the head security person was part of her search process and understood why she was upset. So, he handled the situation with a lot of respect towards her and empathy for what she had just been through. He offered to take her to the closest airline customer service agent and help her get on a new flight. (Which was, as it turned out, only a mere seven hours later!) The security agent treated her with a lot of respect and helped her through the terrible ordeal. Things were looking better and she was even given credit with the airline for a free flight at a future time. So, while she missed the meeting she was traveling to – at least she didn’t end up in jail! But, there’s one more aspect of this little story… On her way back from the customer service desk, she noticed a “celebrity” (again, they shall remain nameless) going through the security check WITHOUT having to wait in line, go through the metal detector, or even have their carry-on luggage scanned. Then, to her further amazement, the celebrity was taken – by golf cart no less – directly to their gate, where again, they did not have to wait in line. This got me thinking that it might be fun to do a post on “celebrities” in airports – both receiving special treatment as well as being treated like the rest of us. So, without further ado, below are a bunch of photos of celebrities traveling. Hope you enjoyed my friend’s story and that you like the below celebrity photos!
Katherine Bell and a Lot of Luggage
Katherine Bell and a Lot of Luggage.
Jennifer Love Hewitt at LAX
Jennifer Love Hewitt at LAX Airport.

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