My Wonderful Trip To South Africa That Didn't Happen Thanks To The TSA And Delta Airlines

Here’s a ridiculous story about the TSA, the San Diego Airport and Delta Airlines. It even involves allegations of “death threats.”

At this point the husband of the family, my hero – got love New Yorkers (living in Florida). Screams at the top of his lungs “He’s with us, you let him up here right now!” directly into the face of the TSA bouncer that made the announcement earlier.

The TSA officer says to the husband, “Sir, lower your voice.”

“Fine go through”, Jackie says knowing she could no longer deny me and had lost.

At the same moment I walk through the First class line behind the TSA officer. I hear the husband ask, “Why are you guys doing this to this guy, he just wanted to get on his flight?”

As I walk by, I hear the TSA officer respond – “Sir, that gentleman made a death threat on my life”. AN OBVIOUS LIE! I ignore it, as at this point I am shaking from the stress of the situation and I am nervous that I am not going to make my flight.

“Oh, I didn’t know anything about that”, the husband says.

The family and I are now parallel in the lines. I say thank you to both the husband and wife for their help and they try to calm me down, I was visibly shaking. I give the husband my business card and say please get in touch so that I can thank you. I hope he reads this and does.

It just gets more and more ridiculous. The guy misses his flight, and the second flight has mechanical difficulties. He tries to get a refund but gets the run around, then is fined $200. His luggage ends up in South Africa. Or maybe Atlanta. He probably needs a hug.

My Wonderful Trip To South Africa That Didn’t Happen Thanks To The TSA And Delta Airlines [NetStumbler]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Gunn says:

    I can’t make sense of that summary. Try again?

  2. nomad73 says:

    this might be the most poorly written, unintelligible post ever made on consumerist.


  3. chili_dog says:

    I just read that whole rambling-now-I-am-dumber-for-having-read-it post and all I can say is. Show Up 2 hours before your departure. I’ve been in line mere minutes before my flight was to depart and still just go with the flow. TSA agents are jack-asses that wouldn’t even be hired as a Target security guard and will never give any assistance.

    I will say though, the whole of San Diego airport and EVERY person working there blows like no other in this great land.

  4. mopar_man says:

    I’m with the others. What the hell is this all about?

  5. Buran says:

    *scratching head*

    You lost me.

  6. bazzlevi says:

    I agree with everyone so far that the part of the original blog entry that was quoted here on Consumerist makes absolutely no sense when taken out of context. I also agree strongly with ChiliDog that most of the blame for the author’s experience lies on his own shoulders. For heaven’s sake, you’d think that a person who just spent over $2000 on a plane ticket to South Africa would have enough common sense to arrive at the airport more than one hour before the flight leaves!

  7. After going to the blog and reading the whole thing, I think this is getting blown out of preportion. No-one gets special treatment at the airport. They say to get there two hours early because sometimes it DOES take that long to get a ticket, get through security, and get to the gate. Yeah, it sucks that the second flight had mechanical problems, but I really don’t get what the fuss is. Sure TSA made some snide comments, but that’s about it. Defamation of character? not quite.
    Does he need a hug? Sure.
    More importantly, his whole ordeal would have been a little better if he wasn’t running around acting like he was owed anything. After being treated like crap by security is it really worth your peace of mind to have to call managers and complain? Or call your local police department and complain? All because someone told a lie to a stranger you’ll never see again? Nope.

    The moral of the story? Give yourself two hours to get through security.

  8. bedofnails says:

    Maybe the author wasn’t let on the plane because they apparently talk in riddles.

  9. Sean says:

    I don’t think the San Diego airport is that bad, personally, although I never fly Delta there. And I fly enough on American that I have a platinum frequent flyer status and get to use the first class line anyway. And I’m not a moron that would show up an hour before an international flight.

  10. catskyfire says:

    How early was he supposed to show up? For a big airport, I assume 2-3 hours. (Good or ill…)

    Now, I won’t deny his issues with security, but a part of me wishes I could hear his voice and see his face. Like the ‘sippy cup’ event…

  11. Chaluapman says:

    I want my 10 minutes back.

    /Delta sux
    //United Too

  12. Anonymous says:

    As was pointed out in the comments on the blog, the Delta ticket desk doesn’t open until 5am. Yes, he could have shown up early to be the first in line to get a boarding pass, but what about all the other passengers in line for the same flight? No matter how early you get there, someone’s going to be at the end of the line.

    To me, the moral is ALWAYS print out a boarding pass before arriving at the airport. I was flying USAir a couple weekends ago when their computer system crashed. (Actually I’m surprised that story never made it to Consumerist.) I was actually standing at the kiosk, halfway through the process when the system went done. Without a boarding pass, there was no way for me to get through security and I missed my flight. Next time I travel, I’m definitely checking with my hotel to see if they have a business center or if they’ll print my boarding pass for me.

  13. ab3i says:

    As much as i hate to say this, the author of the post is mostly being a whiny baby who didn’t get his way.
    1) He should have shown up on time to the airport
    2) He shouldn’t expect special treatment because he would miss his flight. Heck i fly every week, and even the priority security lines can be backed up resulting in missed flights.
    3) The Priority security lines are for the First/Business class travelers and Elite Status Travelers, who pay a lot more for their tickets, and/or fly a lot more to earn the Elite status. I do not think this is ‘discrimination’, rather it is an incentive for people to upgrade from coach, or fly more.
    4) Granted that the TSA/GAT/Police officials acted in a rude and obnoxious manner, the fact remains that had the author been on time to the airport, the whole situation could have been avoided.
    5) I don’t understand why this post is on the Consumerist? =)

  14. reverbandwhiskey says:

    My favorite part is if he had jsut waited in line like everyone else he would have made his flight. Throwing a hissyfit because you are too stupid to show up early for an international flight isn’t going to get you much pity.

  15. tadowguy says:

    If I’ve managed to get my ass to the airport on time, I would sure as heck not like this self-important guy cutting in line.

    As for the private security lady, you don’t even need to spell it out, I know BWA when I read it.

  16. sleze69 says:

    Please read the other posts in this thread before you make assumptions.

    – The Delta desk at San Diego doesn’t open until 4:45am.

    – He had to check 2 bags so he couldn’t check in online. He still had to wait in the line.

    – The TSA show up around 4:30 but they all just sit there and don’t check people until 5:00am.

    By the time the TSA checkers actually start working, the line is ENORMOUS. As bad as Philadelphia is overall, handling morning passengers is one place that Philadelphia is only second worst. San Diego definately takes the cake.

    The only place where I disagree with this guy is the first class, fast pass. They pay more/fly more than most passengers and that is a VERY nice perk.

  17. tadowguy says:

    I would also like to point out that you must be at the gate 15 minutes prior to departure for US flights and I believe 45 mins before international flights. Learn the rules that the rest of us play by moran.

  18. StevieD says:

    Was somebody sipping too many free “preflight” adult beverages to write a coherent paragraph?

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow, poor writing. Advice for next time, kiddies: midweek meth binges might seem like a great way to beat deadline, but in the long run, it’s more trouble than they’re worth. I – err – read that someplace…

  20. Mary says:

    Even for the usual <2 hour domestic flight I take, I show up 1.5/2 hours early, just to be on the safe side. I can’t believe that such a well-traveled individual would make such a ridiculous error in judgment and show up only 1 hour early to an internationally-connecting flight.

  21. kimsama says:

    @lisa1120: The only problem with printing a boarding pass at home is that you can’t always do it with international flights. I fly internationally quite a bit and have never been able to (since I tend to pick non-stops, that might not be the case for domestic hops).

    This guy apparently not only didn’t know what time to get to the airport, he also wrongly assumed the weight limit for international baggage was 70 lbs — it hasn’t been for any carrier I know of for months now. It’s pretty obvious that this is a guy who doesn’t pay attention or do his research, and then gets mad when things don’t go his way.

  22. Charmander says:

    Yes, you’re all right. The person to whom this happened to should just stop complaining – and get back in line with the rest of the sheeple at the airport.

    Don’t any of you who read the entire post understand that this just illustrates just what is WRONG with TSA and airport security???

    Oh, but wait…I must be complaining, so never mind. I’ll just get back in line now.

  23. reverbandwhiskey says:

    He said that he was not at the line until 45 minutes before his flight. That means he could have arrived one hour earlier, checked his bags, been near the front of the line, and made his flight with ease. This all boils down to two factors:

    1. He showed up much later than he should have.
    2. He threw a fit over a line that he could have easily been at the front of.

    If I was taking a critically important trip, I think I would have arrived at the airport with plenty of time to get through security.

    I can’t believe Consumerist has sunk to such a level that it now publishes any self-important douchebag’s blog about how he wasn’t treated like a princess at the airport.

  24. sleze69 says:


    “As I get in line, I look out over the sky-bridge just in time to see the sun beginning to rise.

    The line shows no sign of life for minutes. Suddenly, some action – three steps forward…

    I told her that I’ve got 45 minutes and there is no point getting nervous.”

    He clearly was in the line PRIOR to telling the lady behind him that he had 45 minutes. That means it was about 5:45am. With the amount of people that show up at San Diego Airport for those early flights, he could have EASILY spent 45 minutes waiting to get his bags checked.

    He did the due diligence to know that the airport doesn’t open until 5am but he didn’t know how horribly crowded it is at that time of day. I didn’t know it the first time I had to fly home that early. I showed up at 4:30am and sat on the floor for 30 minutes before the US Airways desk opened. Luckily, I am silver preferred so I could walk right the long line.

    I see people asking why this is in consumerist? Because, just like the Philadelphia airport complaints, this points out how crappy San Diego Airport is in the morning.

    If they actually opened the airport “2 hours prior to departure” this would have never happened.

  25. pshah says:

    TSA a-holes on power trip… nothing new… losers have suddenly got some power which do don’t need, can’t handle and don’t deserve…

    (also add pathetic air “hostesses” to the list of losers on power trip)

    Nuff said

  26. pshah says:

    *do* = they

  27. hills says:

    I can’t believe so many people are dogging on this guy – It sounds like he was pretty reasonable and he definitely has my sympathy. What a nightmare!

  28. FLConsumer says:

    Methinks Meg was enjoying too much Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s when she wrote this.

  29. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    We should call this site from now on…

    The guy should’ve gotten there earlier. But someone above already said that Delta doesn’t open their desk until 4:45 am. Therefore, Delta’s setting their passengers up to fail. It’s not his fault, it’s not TSA’s…do you know how many obnoxious a-holes those people have to deal with on a daily basis?


    In think I’m done.

  30. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: I find the “obnoxious a-holes” are typically the ones wearing TSA uniforms. And most of these people are examples of why incompetent morons should not be given any kind of authority whatsoever. The TSA and your gubbamint are not doing one goddam thing to make air travel any safer, it’s just like a magic show. All illusion. Some people can see that, most can’t (and call those who do see it names).

  31. Trojan69 says:

    Even if this guy is 100% at fault for missing his original flight, I want to hear from y’all any justification whatever for police reluctant to give up their badge numbers when asked, TSA for refusing to give up a name, and GAT for not having contact info prominently placed for occasions such as this.

    This is the correctable part. Nothing can be done about him missing his trip. A lot can be done about the little tyrants who “work” for TSA, private outfits like GAT, and police who refuse to accept accountability.

    Seems to me being focused on an ad hominem attack does nothing to further the very real needs we all have in travel, and in accountable police and quasi-police.

  32. Scooter says:

    Summary of blog entry:

    “People who work at airports are meanies :(“

  33. crimsonwhat says:

    What the….?

  34. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @doctor_cos: Oh I’m not disputing it, but put yourself in their shoes for one day. They probably have to deal with a bunch of entitled pricks like this one who think it’s ok to show up to the airport with an hour to spare for an international flight, and then think they can cut in line and have the rules bent for them. This guy isn’t the exception — he’s the rule, and while I’m not excusing the TSA’s behaviour in this situation at all, I’m merely saying that him missing his flight wasn’t their fault. It was shouldered by a number of different things — namely, Delta doesn’t open early enough, and he didn’t get there early enough.

  35. Jon Mason says:

    1) Yes, he was treated rudely.
    2) He had no right to cut in front of all the people who were following the rules and had lined up:

    When on a trip back through White Plains airport, NY – we arrived probably 90 minutes before our domestic flight to Atlanta, lined up for 30 minutes to check our bags and then joined a ridiculously long line for security. After another 30-40 minutes we were only just getting near the front and were worried about missing the flight, but oh well, not much we can do except wait right? Cue the first idiot entitled guy in a suit who walks right to the front and demands to be let in front cos he’s gonna miss his flight (the same flight as us). We yell that we are on that flight too and we have been waiting in line as are a lot of other people. He sneaks a bit further back the line and some asshole lets him cut in a while behind us. Then right as we get to the front about to go through, a bunch of other people begin trying to cut in to reach the same flight – the airport employee (or TSA, whoever) is very indecisive and mumbles to them about other people also waiting, but makes no effort to ask them to get back in line and or move away from the front of the line (where they are massing, and beginning to literally form a mob at the front of the line) I take it upon myself to stand my ground and block them from joining the line, loudly announcing that “we are on that flight as are dozens of other people who are in line” and am joined by several fellow passengers in voicing our desire that we get to go through first as we have been waiting. My party went through, leaving the mounting chaos behind us and we (and looked like everyone else) made the flight.

    Point? If everybody who was “going to miss their flight” or “running late by no fault of their own” was simply allowed to cut in line, walk to the front or demand special treatment there would literally be chaos – busy airports deal with 10s of thousands of people per day – let people start skipping the line because they are late and you will have a flood of people trying to skip it today, and even more in future when people realise they can turn up when they want and still make their flight.

    3) if he has the right to complain to anyone it is delta for not opening the desk early enough, and for scheduling flights so early when they know the time constraints may cause these kinds of issues.

  36. hals000 says:

    I am sorry but this was an atrociously awful “article.” Please re-read before posting stories…I am a big fan of the site but this isn’t the first time this sort of problem has come up.

  37. Blueskylaw says: