During the period from 2007-2010 I took many flights, either from PHL (Philadelphia International) to RDU (Raleigh-Durham), or from DTW (Detroit Metro) to RDU. Always a round trip, as I was visiting my girlfriend at Duke.
During that period, on somewhere between 50-75% of the flights after everyone had boarded, the gate attendant would board the flight with a piece of paper, walk down the aisle looking up at the row number (as though she was instructed to go to a specific seat) and ask me, “Are you (my name)?” After telling her I was, she would say, “OK. Just wanted to make sure you were on board.” Then she would walk away, tell the stewardesses to have a safe flight and close the door for takeoff.
Why would this happen at all, let alone on numerous occasions? The first time it happened I thought that I was going to land, and the Michigan Sheriffs would be waiting to arrest me when I landed. (Being a college student, and considering the security at airports post 9/11, I thought it might be possible that there could have possibly been marijuana remnants in my car from some time during my late night escapades with my frat friends.)
Am I on some kind of low level watch list? I have read that NSA/FBI keeps tabs on the locations of people who they view as political dissidents (of which I would certainly consider myself), and monitor domestic movements of said individuals via their access to flight manifests, under the guise of terrorism. I know this is far-fetched, but whenever I tell anyone that they always make a special effort to ensure that I have boarded (THEY HAVE NEVER ASKED ANYONE ELSE ON MY FLIGHT- the person walks directly to me, immediately before takeoff, and directly to closing the hatch), they get all freaked out.
Although this may sound arrogant, my friends also believe I am one of the smartest people they have ever met – I am passionate about two things: quantum physics and politics – and that I should run for political office because of my ability to clearly articulate, and more importantly unify people against the political establishment – which I have found is a very popular sentiment. The point is – I believe that I am a real threat to our government/establishment (again, not through violence or terrorism, in more of a Jack Kennedy way).
In that regard, it makes some kind of sense that people in the establishment would want to correlate my name with possible events I may be attending, but know that I am not going to blow a plane up so don’t subject me to additional security screening. I guess what I am saying is – what motivation could ANYONE possibly have to ensure that I am indeed going from Raleigh to Detroit? Clearly they checked me in at the gate, why reconfirm if not to be 100% sure I am actually going to Detroit (hence me being prepared to meet police at the gate when I landed).
More importantly, there are NO other posts I could find anywhere online of other people who have experienced such events. I thought that was very odd. Am I being watched? I don’t think I am, and am hoping that I can find someone who knows enough about airline protocols to explain why this keeps happening to me.