checking in at british midland (bmi) at the belfast city airport, tuesday morning…
me: i’m flying belfast to london, connecting to united to chicago, but skipping the leg to san diego and starting a new itinerary. so if you’d like to only tag my bag to chicago, that would be great.
counter girl: then we should off-load you from the last leg.
me: well, that’s not what united told me to do. they said i should just skip that last leg, so it doesn’t mess anything up, since i booked the new itinerary leaving chicago for grand rapids. but it doesn’t really matter if you leave me on whole thing, as i’ll have to get my luggage for customs in chicago anyhow, and i can just recheck it for my new flight at that point.
counter girl: i can’t do that.
me: what do you mean, i’m asking you to do nothing.
counter girl: i need to remove you from that last segment, or they’ll be looking for you.
me: yeah, so? i paid for it. so i don’t fill the seat. if there are stand-by’s waiting, they’ll get a seat.
counter girl: i can’t do that, it’s a security risk. i’ll have to remove you from your check-in on the entire united flights, and you can deal with this in london.
me: wait, so you’re telling me i’m going to have to pick up my luggage at baggage claim at heathrow and check in as if i’d just shown up, including going through security in heathrow?
counter girl: yes, because you’re not taking that last segment.
me: forget i ever said it! that IS, of course, exactly what united told me to do. but, you’re saying that my honesty about my flight plans is causing you to send me through security again — which is usually an hour-long, at best, process at heathrow — risking missing my flights?
counter girl: well, i’m sorry, but that’s what i have to do.
counter girl’s manager: sir, please don’t make this difficult. we’re trying to ensure our flights are safe.
me: safe from me? from someone like me who actually TOLD you my plans?
counter girl’s manager: yes, sir.
me: so, you’re not even going to give me the boarding pass i already had for the london to chicago flight?
counter girl: no, we’ll keep that.
me: omigosh! i can’t believe this! [ysmarko comment: i was getting a bit whiney at this point, out of sheer exasperation.] so that’s it? if i’d kept silent, i’d be fine; i’d be flying to heathow and avoiding baggage claim and re-checking and security and all that. then, in chicago, i’d get my luggage at customs and recheck it, telling them at that point that i’m not taking the final leg.
counter girl: have a nice day, sir.