Sunday, December 16, 2012

The TSA and the Chic Mom with the Long Name

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and I don't get on all too well. Every time I travel something pops up. My recent hold up in the security line at New York City's La Guardia airport on Sunday afternoon was a new one even on me.

My first name "Christianna" has 11 letters. Standard boarding passes issued by Delta hold space for only first names with 9 characters. My name is always shortened to "Christian." My name differed from that on my Minnesota drivers license. This was never a problem in all my years of flying until I encountered a TSA agent who was new and not letting anything slip. Christian Shortridge set off all the alarms and the TSA sprang into action.

Now I've had so many different variations of my first name over the years as letters are dropped for whatever reason: Chris, Christi, Christian. My favorite was receiving mail for Christian Book (a misspelling of my maiden name of Boock).

Christian Shortridge and her annoyed teenage daughter were now holding up the security line. The agent would not accept anything else with my full name on it so we had to wait for a supervisor to review my case. The people behind me in line were uneasy and restless because of the hold up. 15 minutes later and 3 separate calls to contact a TSA supervisor finally resulted in a short TSA supervisor waddling over to the podium.

She seriously scrutinized my boarding pass, my government-issued driver's license, and my daughter before finally initialing and handing back our boarding passes. We were free to move on. Before we left, I had to ask her how I could avoid this mess in the future like shorten my name on the ticket so it would fit? Nope couldn't do that—your name is just too long. Sorry!

I'm hoping this was just a TSA fluke and Sunday was Catch Innocent Passengers with Long First Names and Delay Them Day. Watch out if your first name exceeds the allotted 9 characters. It's not your fault, but you may well be delayed anyway.

No comments: