Security Breached by Wandering Smoker

March 31, 2013

in Airport Stories

I’m 17, it’s 1978, and flying back from England after having taken my grandfather home. The departing flight is delayed, and due to union rules or something, rather than flying into DC and then on to Detroit, the plane is rerouted to Detroit, and I have a 4 hour layover very late at night.

Everything is closed, there’s hardly anyone in the airport, and due to the rerouting I had to get my checked bags. At the time, leaving your stuff sitting in an airport wasn’t that big a deal other than the risk of theft. So I went for a walk to have a smoke. Through this door, then that door, etc, etc. Finally I found my way outside. What I didn’t realize was that I had gone past security. When I went to go back, a security guy wants to see my boarding pass. I say it’s with my stuff, which is close enough for me to point out. There were two security guys, so I asked if one of them could walk the 75 feet and get it for me. Nothing doing.

So I’m in Detroit after midnight, my wallet and boarding pass are in the airport, I have no cash, nothing. Yes, I was an idiot. So I went wandering through the airport trying to figure out what to do. I notice people going into an “Airport Personnel Only” door. One that closes very slowly, so I timed it so that I was just at the door as it was closing, but far enough behind the “airport personnel,” that they didn’t notice me and slipped through the door.

I had to walk through a lot of the industrial parts of the airport, but eventually found my way back to my stuff, which was undisturbed. One of the security guys happened to notice me sitting there, and walked over. “How did you get back in here? This is a secure area,” he said.

“What are you talking about? I’m waiting for my plane,” I said. He proceeded to give me a raft of crap about violating regulations, trespassing, etc. I watched him rant for a while and eventually his supervisor came over. A mom-type came over and told the supervisor the security guy was yelling at me for no reason. I made my escape. I don’t think you could get away with something like that these days.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

paul April 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

The good ol days when the flying experience was actually fun.


Belle April 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

You'd probably end up in Gitmo if you did that nowadays.


greuben April 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I'm guessing if you were flying into DCA you were sent back to DTW because they had/have a 10pm curfew. Airplanes that were flying "back then" were way above allowable noise limits that DCA permits. Why do people always blame the union? Blame your government they're the ones that set the sound perimeter!


ardie12 April 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm

They said is was the union. At 17 all I knew about unions was that Jimmy Hoffa was in one.


Krista May 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Hahaha! Smooth move!

You can blame the government for the noise restrictions, but you can’t blame them for the airlines knowing they will run into that problem and not scheduling for it ahead of time. Just like when flight crews can’t work past a certain number of hours. They know the rules, yet they wait until the plane is literally ready to take off before they figure it out and have to return to the gate.


Lucy May 27, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I've had it with air travel… intend to keep my feet dry and enjoy a non restrictive life .. so far as I can …


Alex September 29, 2013 at 8:45 am

You sir are a bad ass


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