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Friday, July 11, 2008

Care to take in a play, Mrs. Lincoln?

I'm impressed. We've been hearing a lot lately about just how bad a public image airlines have. Well I've been traveling the last couple of days, and it's clear they -- at least Delta -- are trying to do something about it.

First I booked my ticket for a flight from Atlanta to Tampa on line. No hassle, and not a bad price. I even got to choose the seat I wanted. On the day of the flight, the plane Left the gate in Atlanta exactly on time and landed in Tampa about 10 minutes early. Not bad.

But here's the rub. The day before the flight, I got an email from Delta telling me I could check in on line. I did. Even checked my bag on line. Printed out my boarding pass. I never had to speak to an employee, show an employee an id, reveal in any way I was who I claimed to be.

Then I got to the airport and took my bag to the curbside drop off. The employee at the counter printed out a new boarding pass and gave it to me. He said there'd been a gate change. Still no hassle. Except he never asked to see an id. Never took back the boarding pass I'd printed out the night before.

So there I was going through the airport with two valid boarding passes in my hand--only two although I could have printed the original boarding pass to PDF and had a ton of them in my pocket. And here's an interesting fact. To get through security at the airport in Atlanta, you don't need a picture id. Without one, you need two official(?) non picture ids.

It's interesting. The flight was on time leaving. The flight got in early. The airline did all it could to take the hassle out of flying. But just how secure are we supposed to feel?

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