Denver TSA PSA: Being Rude Doesn’t Make People Move Faster

2015-10-02 23.55.42
View from the Top of Mt. Quandary

by Carrie (Adams) Connors

My husband and I recently took a trip to Colorado to celebrate our honeymoon. After three beautiful days of hikes including ascending Mt. Quandary (14,265 feet) and Hanging Lake, we felt well-rested and content. Colorado is one of our most favorite places on the planet. I’ve traveled through that airport so many times I know the layout like the back of my hand. I’ve always had pretty solid experiences in Denver with the people, though there was that time a Spirit Airlines attendant told me my flight had left when it had actually been delayed, but I digress….

We arrived early to the airport to head home on Monday. We were in great spirits and couldn’t wait to get home and share our weekend experiences with friends and family. We checked our bag and were shuffled towards the bridge security line and to our delight, the line was relatively short compared to the other security lines snaking their way along the floor downstairs. There was no actual line signs or ropes, we simply joined the people ahead of us. Within a few seconds we heard a TSA agent’s loud voice ring out like she was talking to a room full of foolish children, “Folks, I don’t know why you insist on standing in one line when there are three of us up here. If you’d like to stay and wait in one line, by all means you can but if I were you I’d form two lines.”

Uhhhh…. what second line? Where? There is no sign, no line marker, no ropes… I watched her roll her eyes and finish checking the ID of the man in front of her. Then, looking around, the rest of the waiting crowd looked perplexed and annoyed. Where were we supposed to go exactly? And why the tone? Once again, her voice sounded with exasperation, “People. PEOPLE. I don’t understand why you want to wait in one line. It’s up to you. I’d stand over by the silver pole and form a second line.”


The “silver pole” she so eloquently directed us was just that. A structural pole. Not a lane and not even in line with the agents – it was much further off to the side. Despite her tone, a few people actually moved that direction and got into the newly formed line next to the large silver pole as we were chastised to do. Now, perhaps I’m just behind the times. Perhaps large silver structural poles are the universal symbol for the beginning of a new line… I suppose that is possible.

I watched the lines move from where we were waiting… now two, but certainly not much faster. You see, what most greatly impacts the speed of the passenger line movement is far more dependent on the number of agent lines, not the number of passenger lines. Everyone still has to take their turn.

See: WE DIDN’T MOVE ANY FASTER, TSA. Thanks for the high altitude attitude.

I’m glad she made it such an exaggerated unpleasant experience.It certainly could have only been trumped by an unnecessary strip search at the end.

The moral of the story is that an employee’s rude and negative attitude doesn’t actually have the power to impact the time continuum. At least I got to see the top of a 14’er while I was in town. (Shorter lines at 14,000 feet.)

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