The Continental Airlines agents think that 4 year old tot is going to blow himself up while TSA does not.
Terror-Tot: "HOUSTON -"They said, 'We need ID for your son.' I said, 'You're joking,' " said Houston resident Sijollie Allen, a 39-year-old payroll accountant. "The man said, 'No I'm very serious. It clearly stipulates I need ID for him.'
TSA regional spokeswoman Carrie Harmon said the agency tells airlines not to deny boarding to children under 12 or select them for extra security checks even if their names match ones on the list. "We do not require ID for children because there are no children on the list," Harmon said. "If it's a child, ticket agents have the authority to immediately de-select them."
"Is this a joke?" Allen recalled telling Continental Airlines agents Dec. 21 at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport. "You can tell he's not a terrorist."
I was subject to a similar joke as well. Infact we had two incidents.
- My father passed away in 2004 and I had to see off my mother from NY who was visiting me at that time. We bought oneway "First Class" tickets from Kansas to fly to NY from where she had to catch a flight abroad. We paid almost $600 for each ticket (a total of $1200) through United Airline. However flights were delayed in Chicago due to heavy snowfall and the airline started rerouting passengers on alternate flights. Twelve hrs had passed and everyone had been rerouted except us. By that time my mothers flight had already left from NY (what happened there was a different story) and she was very upset. So she made me asked the airline agent one more time about our chances to get to NY and he said you are not on priority. Frustrating was the answer-so I asked how priority is determined? He said from the price you pay and the flyer miles. I said what the hell-I am traveling first class and paid $600 approx for each ticket ---isn't that enough in price. He said our first class cabins are full at the moment. At that very moment my mother was crying so I told the agent look at the lady --her husband has passed away and she needs to go home from NY. Can't you even give us a seat in economyclass. I don't care about money, I can pay more. As I recall it know he said I may give her a seat but you may not get a seat as the flight is full. I said I don't care... my mom needs to travel I am just seeing her off form NY. So please give here a seat. The agent told me to wait---then called me after 10 minutes and reluctantly said we are giving seat to both of you in the economy class. You are lucky that you are going to board. As we were about to board the agent on the boarding gate checked the tickets --wondered for a moment--and asked why are you traveling in economy?--- you have first class tickets--- and then she decided to change the boarding pass to first class. See how they lied and told us that the first class is full. It was a perfect case of discrimination. Later I discovered that our tickets were marked "SSS" which means special security screening. They were putting this on everyone's ticket who was traveling one way becuase the threat level was raised to orange exactly that day (I remember watching news at airport) and my travel agent could not get me a return ticket, my mother was offcourse not coming back. And I was .... Are you kidding does this old woman who cannot even stand for more than five minutes and has a curved posture while walking due to back pain is a security threat? ----Even TSA tells them to use common sense but airlines do have bunch of stupid people on staff. The NY was different story PIA was not willing to reroute my mother so the travel agent has to board her on Air India flight to UK and from there she got onto PIA.
- My youngest son was less than year old traveling with my wife to Pakistan in May 2003. His First and middle name resembeled to a Middle Eastern Politician (Unfortunately! because of surnames my son ended up with that name that we did not realize). At the airport, the lady at the entrance to the departure lounge looked at the ticket and suddenly became Alert and asked out loud who is "Ham ___," Who is he, Where is he. She should have looked at the ticket it clearly said "Infant" (that my wife was carrying). My wife pointed out to her that this is the one sleeping on my shoulder (like an angel). When the TSA personal saw the infant she became calm and said---Oh!. By the way! that Middle Eastern Politician had already died by that time. Stupid Jerks....!!! I am not going to change my son's name TSA should better take classes of general knowledge and international relations. The story did not end there as they were about to baoard they almost stripped my kids to dipers for security search and the kids were crying so badly but no one bothered. The ages of the kids at that times were Elder: 1 year 9 month and Younger: 6 months. I saw an East European family in real screening trouble. Although they were non-Muslims but they had one suit case full of joggers and shoes. The agents checked each and every pair of shoe throughly before letting them go. By the time they cleared they had only fifteen minutes left to board. I recall that those days the threat level was high as well. When ever the threat level is high in US the brown skin people and Europeans are in real mess at airports.
I am dead sure about discrimination against Muslims when the alert level is high in US because of two reasons.
- When I traveled back from NY to KS after seeing my mother off to Pakistan again a purchased a oneway ticket because I traveled on "Airtran" (they sell oneway). By that time the alert level was reduced and so they did not mark my ticket SSS.
- I traveled couple of times after that with my family and luckily things were normal in US so the security screening was nothing more than routine.
- One of my friend who was American citizen and had a Danish wife faced lot of problem as people would stare at him whenever he called his sons name which happened to be Osama... He named his son long time ago even when no one knew Osama at all. Finally, a year ago in order to avoid stereo types he migrated to his wife's country.