Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Discombobulation of Travel - and the great work of the TSA

Last Thursday (March 14th) I set off on my flights to San Antonio TX from Sarasota FL.

My good neighbour Barbara B met me at 4:45 a.m. and drove me to the airport for a 6:00 a.m. flight.

I decided to be marvelously modern and check in using my smart 'phone.  All well and good except that..

..after checking in, I immediately forgot the PIN I use to open my 'phone many time a day.

Clearly forgot a PIN I use many times each day.  Utterly forgot it. 

Forgot it within five minutes of using it,  Go figure.

So much so, that having  tried many alternatives, I was warned that I had two more chances before my 'phone would revert to factory settings. (A safety feature to thwart access by unauthorised users of the phone, i.e. thieves.)

As if that were not bad enough,  I also forgot which car rental firm I had used for the car I had reserved in San Antonio.

I'd booked the car via Delta Airlines so I tried to access my Delta page via my I-Pad but (would you believe it) I twice entered entered an incorrect password -  and was locked out of the page.

It was as if I had entered a memory time warp. Travel can be discombobulating. (yes I know that smart people write passwords down and keep a copy in their billfolds - I am not always smart!)

Mercifully the car rental desks are all in one location at the airport. I took a chance that I had reserved a car through Alamo. Indeed I had.  When the clerk asked me to provide an emergency 'phone number my mind clicked into gear, and I remembered the correct pin for my 'phone.  No Factory Settings purgatory for me, no siree!

Apart from being charged six times by UBER for one ride I had no further mishaps, that is until I got back home on Tuesday 19th.

Oh no -  my I PAD had gone AWOL. I called my San Antonio hosts Ward and Kelley but I had not left it in their home.

I called San Antonio Airport lost and found.  It was after hours so I left a message.  My call was returned the next morning.

They did not have my I PAD so I asked if there was a TSA lost property office I could call.  I did not have to make a separate call as I was transfered immediately to their line.

Good old TSA  I spoke to an entirely friendly TSA officer.

I asked if by any chance my I PAD was in their custody (they must have scores left at the security "belt" each day).

Did I remember which terminal I used?  I did.

Did I remember the approximate time I went through security.  I did.

I was put on hold for no more than three minutes then the officer asked if the I PAD had any particular identifying mark.  I told him that if he opened the cover and saw a photo' of a couple named Ward and Kelley ( it was their lovely 2018 Christmas Card which I had stored under the I PAD cover so that it would not get crumpled in my luggage).

That's unique identification!  And yes indeed my I PAD was in the safe hands of the TSA.

This friendly and efficient TSA agent then outlined what I would have to do in order to give Ward or Kelley permission to retrieve the I PAD.

I called Ward and told him that there was no hurry, but he, who always prefers to do something yesterday which could wait until tomorrow, drove to the airport and back to get my I PAD.

It's ostensibly a half hour drive, but given extensive road works it is not an easy drive. WARD, you are a star!

And deepest thanks to the TSA agent who did not treat me as yet another dumb OX who had been careless at the airport, but could not have been more courteous and helpful.  

Three cheers for the TSA!


and a smile from me to me for storing that photo' under the cover of my I PAD.

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N.B.  I also lost or mislaid a brand new pair of khaki shorts and a brand new belt which I had bought at a KOHLS store the day before I traveled.  But that's another discombobulation story.










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