I have now flown three times without my drivers license and have endured "special screening" just as many times. As you already know, at Sky Harbor, in Phoenix they let me board with my work badge. Yesterday, at Burbank, I used my expired license and just like at Sky Harbor, the TSA agent wrote several "S's" on my boarding pass and off I went to special screening. Today, at Oakland (which has to be the most rundown airport in the country, I mean this place is a dump) rather than send me through, the TSA agent sent me down to the Southwest ticket counter to get a new boarding pass.
Note the small "S's" down at the bottom right that printed on it. I guess this TSA associate was just too lazy to take that highlighter out of her left hand, transfer it to her right hand and write "SSSS" on the bottom of my boarding pass. Due to this annoyance, I missed the 11:50 flight and ended up on the 12:55 flight instead.
The special screening process isn't actually that bad. You usually get sent to a much shorter line and even though they need to go through your bag you are getting some undivided attention. You have to go through a pat down but overall the experience is much less stressful than the regular line. In the regular line I am in a constant state of annoyance. In the special screening line you avoid dealing with people that don't realize that they have to take their laptop out and put it in a another bin or the annoying woman I mention below, or the person who forgets to take off their shoes or the mother who doesn't want to take the baby out of the stroller. These people drive me nuts. Rather, you are dealing one on one with a TSA employee and this is easier than dealing with all those irritating people. Note my very thorough screener today in Oakland:
There was a woman in the next line having a fit because they wouldn't let her take on her $125.00 elbow lotion. LOL-This was quite humorous to watch. First, who has $125.00 elbow lotion? Second, why would you need to bring it with you to the airport? Third, Don't you know by now that you can't take a 9 ounce item with you. Fourth, Chances are if you can afford $125.00 elbow lotion you can afford to buy it again.
Today someone was stopped and told that their face was faded on their drivers license and they wouldn't be allowed to go through security the next time they traveled. Luckily, this person was prepared and able to quickly produce their passport which was hidden in "a special pocket in their Swiss army bag". This story still prompts a question for me: How does ones drivers license get faded? A drivers license is usually kept in a dark place, typically known as a wallet. Another thing intriguing me is the empty threat from TSA? Supposing she flies again next week, how will the TSA person behind the counter know that last week she was told "You won't fly again because your drivers license is faded". Did they write a big "FFFF" on her license indicating that it was faded? Nope. Do they have a big "wanted" poster in the break room with faded drivers license pictures? I think not. And lastly, if she ran into the same screener again, at Sky Harbor it is easy enough just to pass through a different checkpoint.
Wish me luck, I'm off to the DMV tomorrow to get my replacement license. Chances are you'll be forced to read about my adventures with the D.M.V. next. LOL