Seriously ?!?

Posted on August 30, 2011

– Mike Graham, looking pensive in front of MVP video panels

Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET Professional

Frustration can come in many different forms. For me, it usually comes in the form of an airport. I write about travel quite a bit as, well, I travel a lot. In fact, I am hitting my gold level with American Airlines on this very trip—a quick, one-day trip to Mexico—while I write this blog. We are working on a job with a television station and I have to do a little training, which is something I rather enjoy. Unlike the airport.

I found myself standing in line for an hour before finally getting to the ticket stand. When I get there, the line is already about 100 yards long. Within minutes, the line behind me is another 25 yards, easy. When we finally get to a point where I can see, I discover there are only about three stations open for international travel. I understand the need for cost-cutting measures, but seriously, is there a need to make people stand in line for that long?

On top of the frustrating wait, there are two people with dogs in line as well. I believe there is a law that says only service dogs are allowed to be out of their cage inside of an airport. If not, there should be.  These were not small dogs. They were full size mutts. I have no problem with dogs. I actually really like dogs. However, they do not belong inside of an airport in a line that is an hour long. I think they should be able to go to a special line and processed separately from everyone else. OK, enough about the dogs.

My other big frustration is travelers who are not prepared. To me, it is common knowledge—and a really good idea—to come to the airport at least two to two and a half hours before an international flight. This is so you can stand in a very long line for at least an hour and listen to the dogs bark.

Apparently, not everyone has gotten that memo. If I had to guess, I would say I saw at least 30 people who were panic stricken as they realized that if they were not bumped ahead in line, they were going to miss their flight. Why is this my problem? Why do I now have to be bumped back in line by all of the people who do not have watches, cannot tell time, or have ignored the booking instructions given on the website when they booked their ticket? While I know that suffering builds character, I think in this case, someone else should have been suffering. So, then I notice while several people were put ahead of me in the line, several more behind me were given a special “I can’t tell time, but now I get rewarded” ticket counter of their very own. Come on! Seriously? How does that work?

I am done with ticketing. Since I was properly prepared with my travel documents and passport at-the-ready, I was done at the counter in just a few minutes. Now, it is off to TSA screening. I feel a sense of dread come over me as I realize that I am behind a husband and wife team who has put away all of their tickets and ID cards before coming to the TSA agent that asks you for your tickets and ID cards for verification. Now the fun begins. The woman has put all of their documents back into their carry-on. Now the bag is on the ground, opened up and stuff dumped on the floor while she looks for their documents, all while maintaining a full-on argument with her husband about why she put it away in the first place.  All I can think is “Dude, I really hope this is not your honeymoon.” By now, the line behind us is totally backlogged, but on the bright side, it has given time for the X-Ray machines to open up a little.

Finally, I am at the gate, coffee and pastry in hand. It’s all good from here, right?  WRONG!  Some knucklehead has either gone out the wrong door or pulled a fire alarm. Now there are more strobes going off than a haunted house with alarms loud enough to make a sound engineer at a rock show jealous. Combined with all of this is an announcement stating the fire department were alerted and is checking out the validity of the alarm.

In my head, I am screaming “OH, COME ON MAN!!! Seriously!!” This is NOT what I want to hear at 6:00 a.m. in the morning! The sun is not even up yet, why am I stuck inside this torturous hell? Between the strobes and the siren, I can only imagine how happy those people with the dogs must be.

As always, before every flight I take, I called my wife and son. When my wife asked me how the airport was, all I could say was “Typical.”