Farewell, flighty February

New Yorkers are very friendly.

I flew 11 times this month. Number 10 was on Monday, the US Airways Shuttle from LaGuardia in New York to Logan in Boston. At the security point, I was juggling my bags and some charts I was carrying and fumbling to extract my driver’s license from my wallet.

“Oh, that’s okay,” said the security guard as she waved me through without checking my ID. As I said, New Yorkers are very friendly.

The quiet of the departure lounge was shattered by the insistent blare of the alarm that indicates that a secured area has been improperly breached. New Yorkers can sleep through car alarms outside their windows, so it wasn’t the lack of peace that had me concerned; I was afraid we’d have to evacuate the terminal, and I’d miss my flight.

No, after a few minutes someone reset the alarm, and we left the gate on time. I had no trouble at Logan, either, where the terminal at which I arrived had just been evacuated and shut down for two hours after the discovery that a metal detector was non-functional for a few minutes.

On my return trip, a National Guard MP checked me into the secured area. As had most of the ID checkers I’ve passed since September 11, he made sure the name on my driver’s license matched that on my boarding pass. He never looked at either my picture or me, which is lucky; the two don’t match very well.

Before September 11, I had occasionally been stopped at airport security for additional screening. I’d often had my computer sniffed for explosive chemicals; sometimes I’d been asked to turn it on. Sometimes counter or gate agents had scrutinized my driver’s license; on occasion it would even happen at security, as my name was checked against a list of e-ticketed passengers. Since September 11, I have not had my bags checked or my computer sniffed once. No one has questioned my ID.

A friend of a friend checked in some of the September 11 hijackers in Boston. She wished them a nice flight, and they thanked her. They were polite and friendly, just like me.



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