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10:29pm on Wednesday, 26th October, 2005:

Another Airport, Another QBlog Entry


So here I am at Chicago O'Hare airport...

At Heathrow, I did a print-your-own-boarding-card thing at a self-service machine, which worked reasonably well (I chose an aisle seat in the same row where the window seat was already taken but not the middle seat, in the hope that no-one would willingly sit between two complete strangers given a chance therefore I'd have an empty seat next to me; this worked, except that for some reason the seat I chose inexplicably smelled of joss sticks, which means I probably reek of sandalwood at the moment).

So, here at O'Hare I decided to do the same thing. Ah, the advantages of only having hand luggage!

It took a while to persuade the machine to print me a boarding card; I had to give the name of the airport as Bergstrom, rather than Austin, but eventually it tracked me down in its system and acquiesced to my request. My heart sank when I saw what it produced, though: it was marked SSSS...

I've already had one SSSS experience this month, so am naturally now convinced that my name is permanently flagged by the US authorities for special treatment. Given the length of the queues for non-SSSS people, though, I'm not entirely unhappy about this as it means I get through security quicker. I'm a little unhappy, of course, because if they're pulling me out to pat me down and go through my stuff, that means they're not doing it to someone else who might actually have a bomb or a weapon concealed in their carry-on luggage (in the metal rod that extends as a pull-along handle, for example). On the whole, though, it's more convenient for me if they do this every time than if they don't.

At least on this occasion they didn't spray the area after I'd taken my shoes off, which they did earlier this month in Atlanta. That sandalwood smell must be fairly powerful if it can mask the stomach-boiling odour of my feet after I've had my shoes on for 16 hours straight...

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).