Sunday, March 24, 2013

Big Poppa

One of the joys of having a Nexus card when traveling is that you get to bypass the long lines at the security check ins.  Not to mention, you get to skip the other long line ups in front of the customs people.  It is a handy little card that saves so much time, I can't even describe. Well on my recent trip to the USA, I wasn't so lucky with my Nexus card.  

I have to keep his in bullet form or else I will be writing forever.  Let's start when I enter the airport:

1.  The ticket agent at Air Canada sends me to a US ticket agent (after waiting 20 mins) even though my ticket has Air Canada written all over it.  

2.  The US agent can not find my reservation and proceeds to tell me I can't get on the plane without a valid reservation even though I have my e-ticket, price paid, address, travel locator number...etc. right in front of her.  Seems my reservation belongs to some asian or middle eastern man.  After 20 mins of calling around and making me panic, they provide me with a new one.  

3.  I get through security in seconds with my Nexus card.  Yay

4.  The customs agent stops me and asks me to follow him.  Hmmm  He takes all my stuff and documentation and I end up in a small room.  I wait.  The whole time I am not panicking but I am certainly wondering WTF is going on.  Am I getting a prize?  Finally another agent pulls me in a room and informs me that I have to answer some questions with a yes or no answer.  #1:  Confirm I am not 360 pounds, #2:  Confirm I am not african american, #3:  Confirm I have blue eyes, a beard...etc.  #4:  Confirm I do not have the following aliases:  Nat, Big Nat, Big Poppa.  As I joke throughout this process, mister agent is not smiling.  However, at the end, he offers me a set of plastic gloves to add to the excitement of the story that I will no doubt be telling all my friends.  It seems there is a large black man in the states that has my name.  Or is using my name.  So now, every 2-5 times I travel, I will be pulled aside for questioning.  Now my Nexus card doesn't seem so awesome anymore.  Grrr.

5.  During all my flights, Air Canada sucked.  Sure their planes were the only planes on time but strangely their service this time around was not as good as normal.  Ends up my reservation number from #2 above was an AC number that could not be referenced by the US carriers.  So I had to shuffle from USA agents back and forth for the entire trip.  Note to self.  Never book a multi carrier trip from AC and its partners.  Next time, I am flying to the US from a US carrier.  Sure I will be a day late probably but at least I will save myself some sanity.

Rest of the trip was awesome.  Americans eat lots of food.  Or I should say, the portion sizes are crazy.  And I couldn't bring myself to try grits.  They just looked so gross.  

And Louisville is the cutest little town.  So colonial and sprawling, friendly and clean.  It was a nice get away.  I hope I get the chance to go back soon.  

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