Before finishing up my packing last night, I checked to see if I’d received my pre-boarding pass which American Airlines sends 24 hours before a flight is scheduled to take-off. I hadn’t received it, but figured that sometimes it’s come late. So, this morning I checked my email for it before leaving for the airport. Nothing. Well, it’s happened before. So, I left and got my cab to the airport.
Heading along the tollway, I had one of those angst-moments. I wondered if maybe the reason I hadn’t received the emailed boarding pass was because, possibly…I got the date wrong. Maybe my flight was actually for tomorrow. (Angst-ridden as the thought was, I was comforted by knowing that it’s far better to arrive at the airport a day early rather than a day late…) I was pretty sure I’d gotten the day correct – when I contacted a friend about picking me up at LAX, I was pretty sure I’d double-checked the date. But still. What if…? I also went over my schedule in my mind and, again, was pretty certain all was correct. But “pretty certain” isn’t the same as certain. My biggest hope (other than the pre-boarding pass never got sent) was that the email from American, because it was corporate, might have been perceived by my email filter as bulk mail and so shunted off to my Junk folder. Though I did look in my Junk mail folder in the morning, and I didn’t see it there.
No matter, I thought I was okay, and there was nothing I could do about it right then anyway.
So, when I got to the airport, I went to the boarding machines which prints out your pass. It asks you to log in to access your information by a choice of three options, and I put in my flight number. That’s when an Error page popped up to say that there was no flight for that available.
As you might imagine, the angst went up a notch. So, I tried one of the other options – and nothing came up for the longest time… during which I'm doing my best to ungnash my teeth and plan my return to Hobbiton. But then bingo, all was well. My account appeared! Huzzah! (I’d had the flight number wrong.) And the flight went fine. Still, it’s a bit gut-churning to think you might have been a total idiot and screwed up your flight. Even when you were “pretty certain” you hadn’t. As I mentioned, "pretty certain" los
By the way, one advantage of all the flights I’d been taking to Chicago for the past year or so is that I discovered that I’d mystically become a Gold member of American! O huzzah. This really doesn’t seem to have gotten me many benefits (I’ll have to double check), but the best and most worthwhile is that I’m now given Priority Access and get to board early. Given that flights between L.A. and Chicago are near-full these days, it’s good to get on board early to be sure you have space for your carry-on luggage and don’t have to check it.
There turns out to be another odd benefit, in some ways even better. There are a number of way a traveler can be “TSA pre-check approved,” and apparently one of them is flying a lot. Mind you, I don’t know why taking a lot of flights should impact that, but maybe there’s some sort of algorithm that checks your personal information or…whatever, who knows. But the advantages of “TSA pre-check approved” are grand – mainly, you go through a much, much shorter line; you don’t have to take out your laptop, and don’t have to take off your shoes.
So, all’s well. The trip is complete, and I’m back…
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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