Saturday, May 16, 2009

Off to England

Apologies for the absence. Steve had shoulder surgery a few weeks back, and it's kept him from using his right arm, so I've been a little busy.

Meanwhile, I'm off to old Blighty tomorrow for MINI United, a gathering of MINI fans from around the world. Click the title to see more. There have been two of these festivals before, but this one is special because it celebrates the 50th anniversary of MINI, in the home of the Mini.

Meanwhile, the travel frustration mounts. My trip tomorrow will be my 4th time traveling outside of the US.

  • In 1996, I traveled to Germany with no problem. I presented my luggage, passport, ticket & driver's license and was sent on my way.
  • In 2005, I traveled to Ireland. Outbound, I had trouble getting a boarding pass. On the return, the same problem. I had to go through an extra level of security check. Both times, the res agent's eyes got big & a supervisor was summoned, in order to verify that it's safe to allow me on the plane.
  • In 2007, I traveled to Ireland and the UK. Once again, on both the outbound and return legs, I had to go through the "OMG his name is on a list" routine. Traveling between the UK & Ireland, I had no problem.
  • My father, who shares my first and last name (or do I share his? ), has gone through the same hassles. Since his retirement. my Dad is now able to travel, and he's had delays getting on three or four different cruise ships and a flight to Turkey. This includes his most recent cruise (three weeks ago) from Florida, through the Panama Canal, and back to San Francisco, where my parents live. Note: my mother has never had any problems.
  • This morning, I attempted to print my boarding pass for my flight to the UK tomorrow. Continental Airlines even sent me an e-mail reminder to do so. I dutifully entered my passport information, number of bags, etc. and was informed that Continental is unable to print my boarding passes, and that I would have to go through the check-in procedures tomorrow.
Evidently, my father & I share a name with someone on a watch list somewhere. Both of us have had issues getting on domestic flights, as well.

Just to make it clear to everyone over at TSA: I am not a danger to my fellow passengers. Nor is my 73 year old father.

Thank you.

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