American Airports – Welcome and Goodbye

With all of the traveling that we did over the summer, some of it had to happen via plane. Even through the stress of international travel, I had at least two memorable experiences, once while entering the U.S. and once while on my way back out:

Welcome!

The people working at the Frankfurt airport literally speak better English than the ones working at JFK. This is not a misuse of the word literally – I had a few excellent exchanges in English while going through German security, etc., and I actually could not understand anything said to me while in line at customs at JFK. The woman directing people out of line and to their designated counter kept yelling, “Step down! Step down!” as she waved everyone to the left or to the right? Step where? What does that mean? My head hurts.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Dear TSA employee at the Columbus airport – you’re not cut out for dark humor. Maybe you’re trying to break out of your Midwestern stereotype and adapt a slick, fast and sarcastic “Northeastern” way of interacting with people. But it’s not working. Especially when you tell me it’s a shame that I didn’t bring a tire iron with me, because that’s what you guys use to beat the people who try to bring liquids through security. I shouldn’t have to hand you material, like “I see, it’s a BYO situation as far as tire irons go,” while I shuffle along through the line and pray for it to move faster. Commit to the joke if you want to sell it. Otherwise, just…shhhhh. You’ll notice it fell resoundingly flat with the non-native English speakers behind us.

Have you had any interesting airport experiences lately? Do share!

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