Sometimes The Longest Part Of The Trip Doesn’t Happen On The Plane

, , , , , | Working | May 8, 2020

I’m travelling for business and making a connection in Los Angeles International Airport. I’ve just come off a thirteen-hour flight across the Pacific and I’m exhausted. I collect my bag from the carousel and head on through. They have an area where they check baggage for international arrivals making a connection, which is nice.

Employee: “Place your bag on the belt. Can I see your ticket, please?”

I hand my ticket over and lift my bag onto the belt. He works for a moment, then frowns.

Employee: “I’m sorry, but our printer isn’t working so I can’t print a tag for your bag. Since you’ve already paid, I’ll give you a receipt. You need to go to the service desk and they’ll check your bag.”

Me: “No worries. How do I get there from here?”

The directions he gives me seem solid and I follow them to the best of my ability. I arrive at another desk which is completely deserted, and a bored-looking lady is there to see me. I try to explain the situation to her.

Me: “Hi. I tried to check my bag at the international connection area but they couldn’t print my bag tag and told me to come to the service desk to get my bag checked. They gave me this.” 

I hold out the receipt. [Employee #2] ignores the receipt and looks at my bag.

Employee #2: “You need to go through security.”

Me: “I… can’t. I have things in there which means this bag needs to be checked, not taken as carry-on. I was directed here to get it checked?”

Employee #2: *Suddenly* “What have you got in it?”

I don’t understand why she would want to know.

Me: “Makeup, body wash…”

Employee #2: “They’re going to take it off you.”

We get the attention of another employee who comes over.

Employee #3: “What does she want?”

Employee #2: “She wants to take her makeup through security.”

Me: “No. If you’d just liste—”

Employee #3: “They’re gonna take it off you, honey.”

They’re not listening to me at all, just standing there and repeating over and over that I need to get rid of my stuff. This goes on for a while. I look past the employees to the other side of the room and see body scanners, tubs, and conveyor belts for taking bags through scanners. It looks like security screening is behind this “service desk.”

Me: “I think I’m in the wrong place. Is this the service desk?”

Employee #2: *Still ignoring me* “You need to throw your makeup out.”

Me: “I’m just going to go back.”

I left. When I found the actual service desk, my issue is resolved quickly. I get that I was in the wrong place, but all they needed to say was, “This isn’t the service desk,” or, “We can’t do that here,” and I might have realised a lot sooner and saved us all twenty minutes.

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