The TSA is really, really afraid of me – for what it’s worth.
A chronology of my return to the USA. Our travel to and around Spain was uneventful, at least to the extent that this timeline addresses.
Thursday afternoon July 20, Barcelona Spain: I go online to check-in for our return flight. Check-in for Susan went normally, but the site said I have to check-in at the airline counter. This should have been my first warning but I didn’t think much of it.
Friday morning at the airline counter: Susan is already checked in and gets her boarding passes, then I get mine done there, no problem – I thought.
We proceed to the security line. Then I notice that Susan has the TSA-pre on her boarding passes, but I don’t. Still no big deal, just an oversight I think. We go thru the scanner and all of a sudden they pull me over for what at the time was described as a random check, several question about my trip, my luggage and then I’m swabbed for explosives – negative of course. Irritating but “whatever.” Keep in mind that I have done the TSA pre-screening so I am supposed to be recognized as an OK kinda guy.
We go on to our boarding gate. We start to board but the agent looks at my pass and says, “go with him.” I’m escorted to a special screening location where they start a serious questioning about why I’m there and where I’m going. I remove my shoes and they do a serious inspection therein. I and the contents of my backpack are swabbed for explosives again (this is less than an hour from the previous swabbing and within the security area.) now I’m beginning to think what the heck?
We fly back to Atlanta and go through the immigration reentry process. We have the Global Entry cards which expedites the process. One goes to a machine, scans a passport, get photographed and are quickly on one’s way. Susan is fine,l but my ticket has a big X and tells me to report to an agent. I take my ticket to her, she looks, shrugs and sends me on.
We have to fly to Little Rock so back through a security check, take off shoes, belt, etc and pass thru a magnetometer, then I’m sent to a “hands up” body scanner. Once again, I’m pulled off for further scrutiny. This time a really invasive pat down, including genitals. Then more swabbing – hands, waist, wallet, backpack, etc.
Finally they let me go home. Somewhere at the start of the process I was tagged for close scrutiny and it followed me from Spain and across the ocean to Atlanta. Damn – I’m a bi-continental, seriously scary dude!