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Time To Change Your Name, I Guess

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2020

My parents, two brothers, and I are flying to visit some family. We have an early flight, so we have to be at the airport before most of the gate agents are in and manning the stations. The airline we are flying with does have a self-check-in option, which we try to use.

My dad has all the info and starts quickly getting everyone scanned in, getting the claim tickets for the checked bags we have, etc. Things go just fine for him, my mom, and me. He starts trying to check in my brothers and the system starts giving notices about needing to talk to someone.

My dad starts selecting the “help wanted” button on the machine. Nothing happens. He can’t continue checking anyone in, there are no other errors on the screen, and it won’t let him cancel or start over. He then goes up to the counter and we have to wait another five minutes before someone finally comes up to the counter.

My dad explains what is going on and the agent asks for all our information, even for the ones that have already been checked in. The attendant starts typing and pauses, kind of side-eyes my family, and types some more. After a few minutes of typing and side-eyeing, my dad asks him what’s going on. The attendant glances at his screen and takes a breath and asks:

Attendant: “Which of you is [Brother #1]?

Brother #1: “Uh, that’s me.”

The attendant blinks a couple of times and starts typing again. My dad asks what is going on. It turns out that someone with the same name as my brother is on the no-fly list! We weren’t able to check in because the system had flagged him. The attendant made some more notes and got both my brothers checked in, and we got to the gate and had a great vacation.

Of course, now, almost any time my brother flies, he has to go up to the counter and prove to them that he’s not really the one on the no-fly list. He usually adds another thirty to sixty minutes to the time he has to be at the airport, just in case there are lines at the counter.

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