SkyHarborsHome From United States of America, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 273 posts, RR: 2 Posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3825 times:
I debated posting this story in which I was personally involved but since I still feel a bit uneasy about the situation. Therefore, I am hoping maybe some of the experts can provide a better explanation of what could have happened and what the resolution will be to prevent this in the future.
Occurred Dec. 20 PHX -> BNA
I fly almost every week (mostly on WN) but rarely check luggage which I proceeded to do on arrival at the airport. The WN agent gave me one of the paper envelopes which I assume contains my boarding card. When I get upstairs, I realize I do not have a boarding pass so I print another one upstairs at the self-serve kiosk. I proceed through security and the TSA agent put his initials on the boarding pass after verifying my boarding pass with my ID. I then realize I have left my sunglasses downstairs and since my flight is slightly delayed, I exit the secured area and return downstairs.
The agent had my sunglasses, but did not have my boarding pass which she said was fine since I had already printed another. I then proceed to go back upstairs and through security for a second time. I now have TWO sets of initials on my boarding pass.
I board the plane and I sit in the back, as always, and the flight is almost finished boarding. All of a sudden, this supervisor boards the plane, asks everyone to sit down and says, "If there is a (my name) on board, please come to the front of the plane. Folks, if there are not two (my name) on board, then get your ID's ready because we are going to have to check all of them." All eyes are now on me as I walk all the way to the front. When I get up there, I show her my ID and she says, "Is there only one in your party?" "Yes ma'am." She then asks me to step off the plane. I am now totally confused and ask what has happened. She proceeds to show me two boarding passes given to her by boarding passengers BOTH with my name. The problem?? Well, one is the pass I used with the two initials of the TSA agents and the other only has one signature. BOTH were used by people to board the aircraft.
Unfortunately, the WN gate agents were not scanning the cards as we boarded since we were running a few minutes behind and when they went back and began scanning them, the second pass set off an alarm. Since I was an "A" this would have caught the problem much earlier had they been scanning at time of boarding.
I return to my seat (and felt like dead man walking as all eyes are on me) and soon after TSA and Southwest supervisors begin checking every single ID against the passenger list. After this 20 minute ordeal, they found nothing. Ten minutes later, the final 6 people begin board the plane and the same supervisor comes over the intercom and announces their was a computer error resulting in an inaccurate count and everything is fine. Well, I am now confused even more because there was a TSA signature (or at least some signature) on that other pass and it was handed to the WN agent upon boarding. That does not seem 'fine' to me but I did not let it bother me too much. We proceeded to BNA without incident.
The only scenario I can even imagine is that the person after me picked up my original boarding card downstairs and TSA did not catch it was the wrong person when they verified ID's. I was not too worried about my safety because I guess they used the passenger list to verify everyone and all were ok. However, I hope they research the matter because this should not happen. I realize that returning to my original kiosk when I noticed I did not have a boarding pass would have been the best idea but they would have just printed off another one anyway.
Any thoughts? Is this something that occurs time to time?
Yeah it's pretty bad. I have had passengers come up to me (on the secure side of things) after realizing that they got someone elses boarding pass with a same or similar last name, but completely different first name... so does the TSA check ID's closely enough? Not a chance.
I've also had it where we have two boarding passes for the exact same person get on a plane. But usually it's two people that are traveling together, that made a seat change and somehow managed to keep and board with the old and new boarding pass for the same person. It ends up with two people trying to sit in the same seat and we get what we a call a spinner...a person trying to figure out where they should sit. It's usually caught pretty quickly though.
But now that the TSA is the one that started checking ID's in Phoenix, I am shocked that this still happens.
PHLJJS From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 418 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3721 times:
The person who checks your ID at the checkpoint is usually a sub- contractor of the airlines or an airport employee. The TSA agents check BP's only when going through the metal detector. Unless something in PHX has changed, the TSA agents should not have checked and signed your BP. Whoever did check and sign the BP obviously didn't do thier job and didn't match the name on the ID with the name on the BP. I wouldn't worry about it too much. You both went through the checkpoint and were cleared into the sterile area.
Bridogger6 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 717 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3680 times:
Quoting PHLJJS (Reply 3): Unless something in PHX has changed, the TSA agents should not have checked and signed your BP.
At least at checkpoint A in PHX, it is no 95% of the time the TSA that checks
your boarding pass. No longer is it the subcontractor doing that work (most of the time). I don't know if it's just an experiment or how it is on the WN side of things... haven't gone through checkpoint D or C in awhile.
SkyHarborsHome From United States of America, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 273 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3213 times:
After discussing this issue with friends that work at US, they told me agents at US have to scan the cards as people board. I wonder if WN will make this a policy in the near future. Would have saved a lot of time and make the process more secure.
Electech6299 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 616 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2960 times:
Quoting SkyHarborsHome (Reply 7): I was watching pretty close what they did and no, I do not remember this happening.
Don't forget that you were off the plane for a while, and the cabin crew likely did a recount while you were off the plane. Also, lavs are typically checked at the beginning of a count (e.g. the count doesn't start 'til the gate is clear and the lavs are clear), which you might not have noticed. And checking the lavs can also be done by glancing at the "occupied" lights, assuming the door is fully closed and latched.
If the final pax count was one fewer than the number of boarding passes, it's possible that some "good samaritan" picked up your original boarding pass, had the wrong one initialed at the checkpoint, then gave both to a distracted gate agent. 2 boarding passes, same name, wrong pax count- sounds like a recount to me!
Otherwise, they might have found a pax who picked up your pass by mistake and boarded with your pass but never had their own boarding pass printed- so the computer says they have checked in but do not have a boarding pass and do not belong on the plane- but two of you do. So pax count is correct, but some stranger on the plane in your name.
Either way, they found the mystery pax and corrected the manifest, then checked all IDs and their "computer error" was solved.
Yes, it is disturbing, no matter how you cut it there was a two point failure here- the name check at the checkpoint and scanning boarding passes at the gate.
Send not to know for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee