Pat Down Flare-Ups

, , , , | Working | January 8, 2020

(My family always jokes with me about how I’m pulled over every single time I go through airport security. In the past, this has been for completely understandable things, usually because I am very forgetful and accidentally leave a bunch of batteries or my multitool in my carry-on. This time, however, I make absolutely sure to make my luggage as TSA-friendly as possible. As I’m going through the full-body scanner, it flags the metal clasps on the drawstring of my shorts. Naturally, this shows that the “contraband” is right next to my privates. I am pulled aside for a pat-down.)

TSA Agent #1: “Would you like a private pat-down?”

Me: “It’s four in the morning. Please just get it over with.”

(I know that was incredibly rude, but thankfully, the agent finds it funny. I am patted down and then let go, but my luggage is being searched. I don’t know what they think is in there, but after a couple of minutes of rifling through it, they hand it back to me without comment. I always get to the airport early but this delay leaves me barely enough time to get to my gate. Thankfully, I arrive at my destination and have a great trip. While I’m on vacation, I stock up on items for Christmas gifts, mostly spices that are not available in my home state. On the way through security, my bag is pulled aside.)

TSA Agent #2: “Ma’am, is this your bag?”

Me: “Yes?”

TSA Agent #2: *opening my suitcase* “Is there anything fragile or sharp that could harm me in here?”

Me: “Just a candle. And maybe those granite coasters.”

(I point out the items and he unwraps them carefully, as if handling a bomb. While he’s doing that, another agent comes over to pat me down.)

TSA Agent #3: “Would you like a private search?”

Me: “No, thank you.”

(She searches me, including reaching into the waistband of my shorts and under my breasts. I just stand there and bear it because I want this whole ordeal to be over with already. While she’s searching me, the other agent is picking through my bag. He’s picking out various handmade souvenirs and spices I bought at the local city market, which is known to be popular with tourists.)

TSA Agent #2: “Okay, ma’am, I’m going to have to do a full search. It looks like there are chemicals on the outside of this strawberry lemonade mix that correspond with chemicals commonly found in explosives.”

(I have no idea how that is possible, but it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it, so once my pat-down is finished and I’m good to go I sit down next to the desk to wait. The agent is now talking into a cell phone and describing a bag of coconut sugar I bought at a local spice store.)

TSA Agent #2: “It says sugar on the outside of the bag. The consistency is like sugar, but it has some clumps. I’m squeezing the clumps now… okay, the clumps are breaking similar to sugar. The crystals definitely bear a resemblance. The color is white… not bleach white, more like…”

Me: “Eggshell?”

TSA Agent #2: “Yeah, like eggshell white. Not like super white eggs, but not quite off-white.”

(He continues to describe the appearance of the sugar in great detail, until it is finally confirmed that it is, in fact, just sugar. Finally, he determines that I didn’t smuggle any explosives onto the plane in the form of handmade strawberry lemonade mix, and starts to put everything back in my suitcase.)

TSA Agent #2: “Coming from a wedding?”

Me: “What? No, they’re Christmas gifts.”

TSA Agent #2: “Oh. Because a lot of people give these things out as wedding favors.”

(Now I’m wondering 1.) what kind of couple can afford to give out a dozen bags of spices, coasters, a candle, and a flamingo made out of copper wire as favors, and 2.) if these are such common items, why go through all of the trouble to search my bag? I know they were just doing their job, and they were perfectly polite the whole time, but I found it ridiculous how much time and resources were wasted on this search, considering there are places where people have managed to smuggle actual firearms through airport security with no issue.)

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Saving A Damsel From Distress

, , , , , , | Right | January 5, 2020

(I have been traveling around Europe with only a small piece of luggage with me. I’m not allowed to bring anything else as my ticket is a simple one, but in Toledo, I have to buy a sword because of who am I as a person. Going to Italy, I pay a fine of €50 to bring Damsel, my sword, with me. This happens when I’m in Italy’s airport again, flying to Madrid in a connection flight so I can go back to my country, Argentina. After giving my passport and ticket, the check-in lady, who looks really grumpy, tells me to give her my luggage and the box with Damsel to weigh them.)

Me: “Oh, no, this one comes with me inside the cabin. The box with the sword goes with the cargo.”

Lady: *annoyed* “The plane is full, so everything has to go with the cargo.”

Me: “I understand. No problem, then. I still have to pay the fine for the box.”

(We both make a pause and I realize it.)

Me: “People have been giving you h*** for this, haven’t they?”

Lady: “Yes! They complain and complain!”

Me: *laughs* “Don’t worry; I understand that this is not something you control. Do whatever you have to do; I’m not going to get mad.”

Lady: “Thank you! You know what? Your ticket from Madrid to Buenos Aires does allow the extra cargo; I’m sending both your things directly to Argentina, so you don’t have to pay the fine.”

Me: “Are you serious? Did you just save me €50?”

Lady: “Yes, have a nice flight!”

(Lady, thank you a lot for your work. Damsel and I are very grateful that you saved this poor writer so much money.)

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‘Tis The Season For Dad Jokes

, , , , | Related | December 20, 2019

(My mum and I are at the airport waiting for my dad to arrive. On the arrival doors, it says:)

Arrival Door Sign: “The best Christmas present is about to walk through these doors!”

Mum: “Can we send it back if we don’t like it?”

Me: “How about regifting?”

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Managed To Get Both Continents Wrong

, , , | Right | December 19, 2019

(My friend and I are waiting in a very long, slow-moving passport control line to travel back to Canada. An agent begins to direct EU citizens to a different line. The man behind me has a clear American accent.)

Agent: “EU passports, gates D and E! Come this way!”

Man: *behind us, to his wife* “We’re going to gate D!”

Agent: “EU passports only, gates D and E! Please come to this line!

Man: “That’s us! We’re gate D!”

Friend: *turns around to man* “Are you an EU citizen? Do you have an EU passport?”

Man: “I’m gate D!”

Friend: “But do you have an EU passport?”

Man: “But she’s saying gate D, that’s us!”

Friend: “Gate D for EU citizens only! Are you from North America?”

Man: “No, I’m not from North America! I’m from Chicago!”

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Unfiltered Story #179749

, | Unfiltered | December 12, 2019

I work in customer service at a large airline. There was one customer who was being very rude to me. I had attempted to explain several times that there were no seats available, but he refused to listen and had been ranting for at least ten minutes.
“I need to get on my flight! My son and I need to get on [a flight] so we can go home!”
“Sir, no seats are avail-”
“But I have to get home! Do you see my son? We’ve been stuck in this airport for ages and we need to get back! Put us on this next flight immediately!”
“Sir, I cannot, as there are no seats-”
“Did you not understand me? I need to-”
Behind him, a young teenage girl speaks up. “Sir, please, shut up.”
The man turns around, fuming. “No. Stay out of this, you little b*****. It’s none of your business. I-”
The girl raises an eyebrow. “You realize that you are being counter-productive right? There are several people in this line who got up when this nice lady asked for volunteers to give you a seat. However, you, by interrupting and not getting out of the way, are therefore preventing them from getting to the front of the line and giving you their seats.”
“I will not get out of the way until I get a seat!”
“Let me explain this to you.” The girl stands squarely on a linoleum tile. “This square is occupied, right? Can you stand on this square?”
“Good. Now, there are people who are- or probably were- willing to give you their squares so you and your son could get home. They are in the back of the line. Meanwhile, by demanding that this nice lady give you a seat, you are implying that you wish to get a seat that does not exist. Does such a thing exist?”
“Great. So I hope that you understand that you must get out of the way and let the nice lady serve other customers.
“You are a child. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I know how airlines work.”
“No, clearly you don’t. As for me being a child, I may be a minor, but I fly a more than 150,000 miles a year. This lady has been nothing but polite to you while you’re been extremely rude and cutting her off, demanding something that she does not have. This is by far the best customer service I have seen in the airline industry.”
“I will not get out of the way until I get my way!” He yells at her.
By now, a large crowd has formed. The line has grown considerably shorter. The girl gives a small smirk. “Sir, what is your flight number?”
“[flight number]. Why?”
The girl calls out to the whole room. “Who here was on flight [flight number] and was willing to give their seats to this gentleman?”
About a dozen people raise their hand. “And do you still want to?”
A collective “no.”
The man, now extremely angry, turns on the girl. “Listen, you little f****** b****, you probably just want to take my spot on this flight, right?”
“Actually, no. How long have you been stuck in the airport?”
I pipe in. “Actually, his flight came in at 5.” It is now 8.
The girl turns to him. “I have been sleeping in this airport for five days. I came up here to ask if there were any spare jackets in the lost and found I could use for a blanket. I too, am eager to get home to my parents.”
The man at this point loses control and moves to grab the girl, but she steps back and security, who were nearby, step in.
As they take the man away, I address the young girl. “That was amazing. Thank you so much.”
She shrugs. “It was no problem. He was being irrationally rude, and I won’t get fired if I run my mouth. I would like to extend the respect I have for all human beings from that man to you.”
Everyone who is listening laughs. I spoke to the manager, who had overheard the whole thing, and so in thanks, I got the girl a first class seat for her next flight and access to the members only area, where she could sleep. Now whenever she flies through this airport she drops by to say hi.

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