Stuck in airport land with no ID | PostIndependent.com
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Stuck in airport land with no ID

I wish I was a savvy airline traveler. I am not. Ever since 9/11, airports and their heightened security systems have proven to be a big challenge for me.Case in point: As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Grand Junction. I’m sitting in the airport, as opposed to sitting on the plane I was booked on, because somewhere between the Reno airport and this airport, I lost my driver’s license. Losing your driver’s license is not a good thing when you’re flying. Even though I know who I am, and even though I went through a security checkpoint at the Reno airport this morning – which meant basically disrobing (my shoes, my necklace, my watch, the barrette in my hair) and even though I got off one plane in Phoenix simply to get on another – I still needed to go through another security checkpoint. That’s when things got distressing. Because passengers are only allowed two carry-ons (I have my little roll-on suitcase and my laptop) I had to cram my wallet-on-a-string thing into one of my laptop briefcase’s pockets. And because you need ID wherever you go, I pulled my driver’s license out of my wallet and stuffed it in the pocket of my jeans so I could flash it at will. With minutes to spare between connecting flights, I got in the security checkpoint line and reached for my boarding pass and driver’s license in my back pocket. My heart sank when I couldn’t find my license. Panic began setting in. Simultaneously, the wheels on my little rolling suitcase decided not to work. My stuff was going everywhere. The security people were looking at me like I was a moron (justified, I admit).That’s when the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies” started up in the background – in my own head, of course. Country bumpkin alert. Yep, that would be me. Definitely not savvy. I couldn’t find my driver’s license anywhere. It had ceased to exist in my world.”A passport will do,” barked one of the security mavens at me. Well, imagine this, but I didn’t think to bring my passport with me for a quick business trip to Reno. All I have in my wallet, in the way of identification, is a photo of my dog, Jo Mama, my City Market value card, my debit card and my library card – none of which adequately identifies me in airport land. “What do I do?” I asked them. “My driver’s license is gone.”When you lose your only form of photo I.D., at least at the Phoenix airport, you can still travel, but you have to get searched. Big time. I was escorted off to a special area and my luggage was opened up and rifled through. The security folks went through every zippered pouch, every piece of clothing. I got patted up, and patted down. Meanwhile, the old clock on the wall ticked off the minutes until my plane departed. My plane was still at the gate when I arrived to board, but the gatekeepers wouldn’t let me on. Instead, they instructed me to go to customer service – an oxymoron if ever I heard one – and I got booked on the next flight to Grand Junction, four hours from my original departure time.Despondent, I went to the abandoned, lonely boarding gate and felt like crying. I went through all my luggage again. No driver’s license. I’m not a savvy airline traveler. I wish I was. I wish I was like the guy I just saw pushing a mod baby stroller while checking out the text message on his Treo and drinking some sort of fancy coffee drink. But I’m not. I just went to the women’s restroom and had to haul my luggage in the stall with me (you know, security dictates you can’t leave your bags unattended). It was not pretty. My laptop briefcase teetered precipitously over the toilet as I wrestled with my wheeled luggage and shut the steel door. Cue the “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song. I don’t know that I’ll ever get the hang of this super-secure world. At least at airports. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram (citizentelegram.com) in Rifle. Next week: The fun continues when Carrie and her fellow plane-mates sit on the tarmac for two hours in 100 degree Phoenix heat while the maintenance crew fixes an “electrical problem.” Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, cclick@citizentelegram.com.


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