I’m not much one for always following rules. Friday I flew to Orlando to meet hubby and as we all know airports and airplanes have lots of rules. Since this weekend was the tenth anniversary of 9/11 they were being a lot more strict and stringent with their rules.
I guess first I should tell you that in case you have been living on another planet that Atlanta is home to one of the largest and THE busiest airport in the world. That’s right folks… I said world. It consists of two separate terminals (the North and the South) each of which consists of 5 different concourses (A – D plus ticketing/baggage) each of which consists of about 60 to 90 gates. If you do the math then you can easily see that that all adds up to a LOT of airplanes and even more people in an already congested city.
It took me a while to figure out how to remember which terminal was which and what airlines flew in and out of each terminal. Now for your crash course in Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport. . . The way I remember it is the signs for the North Terminal are blue and the signs for the South Terminal are Red. The South is generally warmer than the North and therefore red. The North is generally colder and therefore blue. The Delta logo is generally red and is headquartered in the south (Atlanta) so they are in the South Terminal. Airtran logo is mainly blue and is in the North Terminal. Delta takes up almost the entire South Terminal so mainly everything else is in the North Terminal. Confused yet?
I was flying Airtran so I left from the North Terminal. I know they say to arrive at least an hour prior to your departure to allow for checking baggage and getting through security and then taking the train (yes, the airport is so big it has a train system and you can even take the city’s MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) train to the airport! I didn’t have baggage to check since I was only carrying on my computer bag and purse (hubby took my luggage with him when he went down on Tuesday – yes, I do realize how smart that was!) but I still got there about an hour early since I knew security would be tighter due to it being the 9/11 weekend.
I got tickled listening to the security guard going over (and over and over) her “rules” as we approached the bag check area. She continually repeated how any electronic devices needed to be out of your bags and in a separate container and in case we didn’t understand what was considered an electronic device to remember if it had an on/off switch, just to be on the safe side, put it in a separate container. Then she continued to tell us all to put our ID’s and boarding passes in the tray NOT in our pockets. She said to completely empty our pockets. She said not even a tissue in your pockets. She said the only thing allowed in our pockets was air… IF it wasn’t in a separate container! She cracked me up! Still there were inevitably the people who put everything on the conveyor belt and then tried to walk through the scanner with their shoes on. So she’d have to remind everyone again that they needed to take their shoes off, their jackets off, empty their pockets….etc., etc., etc.
I did notice a sort of racial profiling going on too. The majority of us went through the little xray scanner but every 8th or 10th person got the special privilege of being hand escorted to the side to be patted down and have the special wand waved over their bodies and mostly the ones I happened to see pulled from our line were black, Asian, Latino and those that looked Muslim. Now how did that happen that I didn’t see one single white person pulled out of the line? Funny thing though… AFTER I went through the scanner she pulled me to the side and asked me if I was wearing anything metal (I guess something showed on the scanner) and asked if I minded her patting me down. As she started her “pat down” I remembered I had on an underwire bra! I told her that and she laughed and let me go on through.
I had printed off my boarding pass on Thursday night and it said my plane was departing from gate C6 which is concourse C and gate 6. Now I just explain that when you get off the train you take a LONG escalator up up up and when you get off you are in the middle of the concourse so that like gates 1 – 50 (I’m not sure exactly how many are on each side) are on one side and 51 – 100 are on the other. The odd number gates are on one side of the corridor and the even number are on the other so my gate, C6, was the third from the very end… Since I was more than 30 minutes early I stopped and went to the bathroom and got myself a bottled water and then headed up to my gate. I remember hearing them board a flight to Orlando as I was walking by and thinking it odd that they would have two flights to Orlando so close together but I continued on. I got to my gate and there were no attendants at the “desk” but there were lots of people so I sat down thinking that they just hadn’t started boarding yet. I took out my Kindle and started reading. Then I noticed an attendant at the desk but they still didn’t start calling for boarding. I sat there a couple more minutes and looked at my phone and realized it was only about 20 minutes until scheduled take off and they still weren’t calling for boarding? I got up and walked over to the monitors (which I should have done when I first got there but I guess I wasn’t thinking) and realized they had changed the gate for my flight to C16! WTH??? I booked back up the corridor to gate C16 but there wasn’t anyone sitting there but thankfully the attendant was still at the desk. I asked if they had already boarded the flight and she said “Yes, you just made it!”
I practically sprinted down the connector and as I was walking down the aisle (my seat was 17A) I noticed about at the row I should have been on that in two rows, that one had a gentleman seated on the aisle seat and in the row right behind him there was a gentleman seated by the window. As I neared that row the gentleman seated on the aisle stood up, looked at me, turned around and looked at the gentleman seated by the window and shook his head no, picked up his stuff and moved back a row to sit by the gentleman by the window. ARE you freaking kidding me? HOW RUDE! It was obious that he did not want to sit beside me… “The fat woman”. He actually looked at me like if he sat there I might get hungry and eat him or something. Hey buddy! I got news for you…you can’t “catch” fat. It’s not contagious! And you did me a favor… I don’t like sitting by jerks anyway! In my opinion he broke an important rule! He broke the “golden rule” because I sure don’t think he “treated” me the way he would want to be treated because I don’t think he was being very respectful.
A couple of minutes later the captain came on the speaker to tell everyone to turn off their cell phones and electronic devices. When I turned my head slightly to the right I could see from my peripheral vision that he was still on his cell phone. I can’t tell you that it surprised me. I wanted to turn around and say “Hey JERK! Didn’t you hear the captain? Get off your freaking phone!” But I didn’t. I obeyed the rules and sat quietly after making sure my phone was set to airplane mode with my valuables securely stowed (except for my book which I was holding) and my phone OFF.
About that time the attendant came through and told a gentleman across the aisle from jerkface to please turn off his cell phone and looked right at jerkface and then continued walking. I thought “WTH? Is his some special character?” Then she suddenly turned and said loudly “SIR… the captain asked for all cell phones to be turned off!” I can’t say that I didn’t smile when she said that… She turned and walked down the aisle and he continued to talk on his phone! She walked all the way to the front of the plane telling people to turn off their cells and then she came back down the aisle and jerkface is STILL on his phone! She stood there for a full 30 seconds and stared at him and he continued to talk on his phone. She shook her head and walked off. What a jerk! Another attendant came by and sternly told him to turn his cell off and he still continued to talk. He did eventually turn it off after we had taxi’d down the runway and just before we took off. Some people just think that rules don’t apply to them.
This post has been brought to you by Sprite’s Keeper and The Spin Cycle. See? I follow rules sometimes.