When I began planning my visit to Salt Lake City to see my girlfriend, the only time she and I had time off was the weekend following Thanksgiving. As I began looking for flights, I found that the prices were unreasonably high because of how many people are returning from Thanksgiving that weekend. There was over a $100 difference between flying on Sunday and flying on Monday. My girlfriend was working all day that Sunday, so we decided it wasn’t worth it to pay extra and not get to visit for that time.
I thought this would be a great idea, as also the typical Thanksgiving airport traffic would be done. Hoping everyone would have returned by Sunday. Much to my surprise, this was not the case. Apparently, people don’t always return home on Sunday for the workday on Monday. That or there were just a lot of people out for business travel at 5AM on a Monday morning.
Oh, and if you’ve never heard Henry Rollins go on his rant about his experience at the Airport, you need to listen to it sometime here.
Ordinarily I fly Frontier Airlines when I go out to see my GF. But they have recently caused me to stop making them my preferred carrier. More on that at another time. Today as I cleared baggage check in with Delta, I proceeded down towards security. Check in at DIA is one level above the security lines. After leaving check in, you can see above the security area from the level above. I could see that the lines were much longer than I remembered in all the other times I’ve flown. Especially at 5AM in the morning. One of the TSA employees told me that the lines at the other end of the building were shorter, so I went down there. Well, I don’t think she was well informed because they were just as long. I had checked the DIA website before I left home and it said the security wait times were only 5 minutes. I don’t think that ever gets updated. Check it now, I bet it still says 5 minutes. Curious, I decided to call the phone number for DIA security wait times, while I was standing in line and it told me 10 minutes. It too was no accurate. I don’t know how long I was in that stupid line, but I can tell you this. My flight left at 615AM and that was the time I finally made it to the gate, with about 10 other people on my flight as well.
The most frustrating part of the ordeal was that they only had 3 scanning lines open. There were about 3 left unopen and then there was another one that was open, but only for the people who have paid for the flyclear program so they can zoom through security. Of course they had Speedy Gonzalez checking your boarding pass before you could get to the scanning area, and this guy is wanting to make conversation with everyone. For once, someone was actually taking his job seriously and actually reading boarding passes and comparing them closely with your ID. I guess I should be grateful for that, but today, I was in a hurry.
The wait for security was wrapped zig zagging around all the little turn styles that they had setup in the area. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t think to open up more lines or call in for more workers or something. I mean, wait time was ridiculously long. Somehow, a guy wearing what looked like a pilot’s uniform jumped in front of me as I had my stuff in the tubs to be scanned. How does this work? I mean, yeah, you are a pilot and its important that you get to your airplane, but why are you given preferential treatment to getting through security? Its not like the plane is going to leave without YOU. However, it will leave without ME! Tell me how that makes sense?
Well, as I said earlier, I get to my gate AT the departure time. Delta had already closed the door to leave the gate, but the door to the plane was still open. Lots of folks here trying to get through, but they won’t let them on, and all of us were victims of the folks at security. Thankfully, Delta was willing to let us reschedule without having to pay more. I was the 3rd guy in line to get there to reschedule. The next confirmed flight was around 2PM, but they put us on standby for the next flight leaving at 730. I was hoping that others for the next flight would be caught in the same issue I had with security. Thankfully, there were 3 people who didn’t make it for the flight and got out. My time in Salt Lake was going to be short to begin with, and the longer I had to wait to catch a flight was going to make it that much shorter.
The flight out was crammed pack with people. I arrived a couple hours later than planned, but it was still an acceptable time period.