I took a trip on Sunday to Ohio State University to give a lecture on Leonardo da Vinci and his place in the history of anatomical dissection. I had been invited by my last Ph.D. student, who is now an Assistant Professor there, and her first Ph.D. student who just graduated. So I have my first grand Ph.D.! In contrast to actually getting to Columbus, the lecture was a breeze.
It began when I asked my husband to print out my boarding passes on Saturday night. It was then that he noticed the reservation through Orbitz had been made in my maiden name. Now I have been married for many decades, and Hubs made those reservations. No way he would have used my maiden name. I
water-boarded him asked him repeatedly to make sure. We still can’t figure out how it happened.
Hubs got on the phone with Orbitz and I could hear him for the next hour
trying to reason arguing with them to re-issue the tickets in my married name. Several supervisors later, no dice. Next he went to American (my first flight to LaGuardia) and then United (my second flight to Columbus). More reasoning arguing, more supervisors. Then the suggestion that we just go to the bank and get my birth and marriage certificates. This was such an intelligent stupid idea: it was Saturday night and my flight left on Sunday.
In the meantime, I was trying to work through the lecture to make sure the visuals co-ordinated and that at least one of my thumb drives would accept the power point presentation (a big one). We were both listening to TV in the background, and the Tar Heels were getting beaten by Virginia which was not improving either of our tempers.
The best hubs could do by reasoning arguing was to get a note put in the airlines’ computers, somewhere, that I am who I say I am.
Sunday morning, I arrived at the airport early and tried to get my ticket reissued in my married name at the American counter. No dice. But the ticket agent assured me there would be no problem with TSA. I had brought a Mass booklet from our wedding Mass (the only thing we could find with my maiden name on it)) and that would certainly do the trick. Not. The TSA agent looked at my un-matching ticket and passport while I tried to explain what happened.Two agents later, the supervisor arrived.
By now, Hubs was jumping up and down outside the screening area, trying to explain in a loud voice, to great no effect. I yelled at him to calm down.The supervisor disappeared and came back with a form, which I filled out.Then she made a phone call to somewhere in Washington where all of our past and present names are stored, and after some back and forth with lots of notations of their names and some numbers, I was cleared to go.
Hubs left, and I was escorted through the X-ray machine after removing all some of my clothes under close supervision, then I was wanded and given a very thorough pat-down. Most of the stuff in my carry-on was removed and tested for explosives and my toothpaste was thrown out. I slept all the way to LaGuardia, but since I didn’t leave the boarding area, was spared having to repeat that process.
My travails were not over, because I had to repeat the whole thing at the Columbus airport the next day for my trip home.This time I knew what to expect, and Mr. Higgins, the TSA supervisor, was so kind and nice about the whole thing that it was lengthy but not onerous. Plus I got patted down by a pretty blond agent named Summer Flowers. I’m saving that one for a book! Mr. Higgins may get in one, too.
The morals of this story:
- Always check your flight confirmation as soon as you get it.
- Consider bringing your passport with you– my driver’s license wouldn’t have cut it.
- If you’re a married woman and do not use your maiden name, have something handy with your maiden name on it.
- Don’t use Orbitz. One of their poltergeists may change your name.