A Panoply Of Problems

November 19, 2009

in Odds & Ends Stories

My son and I were flying to his great-grandmother’s funeral. He was 11 at the time and I was 7 months pregnant. Due to the fact that we bought the tickets the day before, we were pulled aside at security for a special search. They separated my son and I and frisked both of us (the TSA lady jokingly referred to it as ‘baby’s first pat down’). I was very annoyed that they would take my child out of my sight and frisk him, but for fear of being arrested, I said nothing and we made it on to our plane thinking that was going to be our one issue.

Because of the late hour of our ticket purchase, we could not get seats next to each other, but instead we were across the aisle from one another. I ended up next to a woman with a 1 year old and he ended up next to an elderly woman. My son and the elderly woman talked to each other for the duration of the flight; however, they were both hearing impaired and ended up yelling at each other for the entire flight.

I had been suffering from back problems during my pregnancy and was incredibly uncomfortable and not in the best of moods. The woman next to me felt the need to talk to me incessantly about children. She then asked me to hold her baby for a little while. I have three kids, but I am not found of other people’s children. However, I still held her son for her thinking she just needed a few minutes. I held that kid for an hour before handing him back while we were preparing to land.

The flight back was interesting as well. We were late and we had to get to our connecting flight. Checked the board and went to the gate. Once we got to the gate they said the gate had been switched and was back on the other side of the airport where we had started from. We ran back to the new gate and once we got there, they switched gates AGAIN to two gates down from the first gate. We ran back (remember, I am 7 months pregnant) and once we got there, we were told the flight was delayed.

Once we got on the plane my son ends up sitting with a group of elderly women, yelling. I ended up in the middle seat with a 300lbs man literally sitting on my lap.

I thank God every day I only fly 2-3 times a year…

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

david November 19, 2009 at 8:12 pm

TSA security have no idea when you brought your ticket and they dont really care, many people buy last min tickets

other than that i am sorry that you had to hold onto another persons baby, any idea why or what she was doing for the hour?

gates change pretty often and its a pain, you should have asked for assistance due to being pregnant and didnt want to run with the baby in you

so check this up as experiance


MJ November 20, 2009 at 4:25 am

David, the fact that these are normal experiences (save for holding someone else's baby…) doesn't mean it wasn't a flight from hell. I can't imagine that flying while very pregnant is every a pleasant experience.


Claire November 20, 2009 at 4:50 am

I agree with you about other peoples children. I too have 3 of my own but am not interested in hearing non stop about others offspring (I don't bore them with mine).

Last year I flew alone to visit family in New York & when I got onto the plane I saw that my seat was in the middle of 3 mothers with kids, my heart sunk………. I spoke to the Air Hostess & explained that as I had left my own children at home I did not wish to be surrounded by them on the entire flight. The AH was as sweet as pie, she laughed & said she would find me a different seat which she did & I passed the flight in peace!


LL November 20, 2009 at 5:09 am

David, actually the airlines put a code on the bottom of your boarding pass that flags you for extra searches. I was told this by a TSA agent who pointed out the S near the bottom and they searched me. So if you are a last minute purchaser, there may be some sort of system that flags the tickets and adds the code to the boarding pass for when you go through security.


david November 20, 2009 at 6:19 am

did i say it wasnt a flight from hell?


BlueMole November 20, 2009 at 6:23 am

LL is right. David is clueless. I got the dreaded "SSSS" on the bottom of my boarding pass. When I was business traveling, I missed the flight and had to purchase a one-way on the spot on another carrier. I think the TSA's enjoy harrassing people. It breaks up the monotony. The "SSSS" followed me the entire multi-city trip with endless extra searches. A gate agent confirmed to me that this was how this moronic system functions,


david November 20, 2009 at 6:23 am

LL i fly very frequently and i have booked flights the previous day and in some cases same day, and i have never been searched, its completely random, there has never been an S or anything like that on my boarding pass, there is no way for them to tell when you brought the ticket as security and airlines are completley different they have no part with one another, the airlines dont hire these people


LL November 20, 2009 at 9:40 am

Look, dude, I was just telling you what the TSA agent told me and pointed out to me on my boarding pass.

And your logic about the airlines not hiring TSA agents holds no water when it's very easy for the TSA to tell the airlines to put a letter on their boarding passes when certain flags go up.

Get over yourself.


BlueMole November 20, 2009 at 1:09 pm

LL, I'm with you.

I think David does not have a clue, or he is just SO special that the TSA thugs just let him breeze right through.

I hope he has a one-way to Kabul

🙂 peace


Demotage November 21, 2009 at 1:54 am

I think they should suck out their brains with straws, sell the widows and go into South American zinc.


Marie November 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Yes, the airlines do flag your boarding pass with the SSSS for a variety of reasons – buying your ticket on very short notice is one of them.

God bless you, poor lady! I would have certainly handed that baby over after five minutes – you're a saint to hold him for an hour!


j November 22, 2009 at 6:44 am

Let's clear some things up here. There is a system, the airline I worked for used CAPS, that reviews ALL tickets/itineraries for know markers of terrorists. For example: one way tickets, purchased the day of travel, paid w/cash and many other things. There are a certain number of random ones chosen to be selectees also. They are also looking for names that match the no-fly list, which is why TSA now wants your middle name and DOB. TSA and the airlines are able to mark any passenger with SSSSS (selectee) for just about any reason.

It sounds like this happen a few years ago when the system wasn't as refined as it is now. I remember guys wearing "Mr Random" buttons.


Kad December 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Except for taking your minor child out of your sight, I'm not sure why this was a flight from hell.

You got yourself pregnant. I'm pretty sure you know how that happened. It wasn't a problem for the rest of the world.

It was uncomfortable, seating arrangements weren't perfect….did they forget to include a packet of sugar with your tea as well? That would be just tragic.


ano August 5, 2010 at 7:59 pm

"Except for taking your minor child out of your sight, I’m not sure why this was a flight from hell."

But separating them makes sense when you realize that they always have a same-sex agent search a person. So her son would have had a male agent, who couldn't have been in the room with her, but at 10 her son might have been uncomfortable with a strange woman, and since they have a same-sex agent then she might have complained if they didn't etc. yadda yadda yadda…


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