Skip to content ↓

COVID-19

Learn more about how MIT Admissions is responding to COVID-19 in this blog post from our Dean and new dedicated FAQs.

MIT student blogger Keri G. '10

Adventures in Logan Airport by Keri G. '10

In which I attempt to fly back to Florida. Written during a too-long wait in an uncomfortable airport chair.

The other day, when I stopped in the Admissions Office to annoy a few of its regular denizens (Hi, Nance. You too, Ben.) I was asked why my blog didn’t give off quite the same sarcastic vibe that I usually exude in person. Or maybe this was asked by someone else entirely. Meh. Same difference.

Anyway, I offer you a tale of suspense and… you know, other things: my last ten hours, which shall from here on out be referred to as “Adventures in Logan Airport.”

First of all, my first name is Keri-Lee.

At least, that’s what I’ve always thought. Due to what the Florida Department of Transportation calls a “processing error” and what I chalk up to general incompetence, my driver’s license states otherwise. According to this great, all-powerful piece of plastic, my first name and middle initial are “Keri L,” rather than the correct “Keri-Lee A.”

Well, that’s all fine and good, Keri, but what does this have to do with anything at all? you may ask.

In all honesty, nothing. There is no reason for you to be informed of this. You do, however, need to know about my adventures in Logan Airport during the last three hours, though, and this is absolutely crucial information. Or something. Whatever.

So in preparation for a trip to good ol’ South Florida, I checked in and printed out my boarding pass yesterday. Seat 5D. A window. Nice. At least I’ll have a lovely view of the night sky for three and a half hours because THE SUN GOES DOWN HERE BEFORE 5PM EVERY NIGHT WHY WHY WHY, right?

I walked across the street to the Kendall/MIT T station around 1:45 and easily made it to Logan. No problem. Took less than half an hour, and I got to talk to Bayo ’10 on the way there. Public transportation is god. (Well, maybe not. Humor me here, all right?)

My first indication that this would not be your everyday bit of fun in an airport should have been the line for bag check-in trailing along nearly the entirety of Terminal C. see, this line was the kiosk/bag drop for online check-in. No bureaucracy here, just a drop-off and go. But hey, it moved fairly quickly. And it’s two days before Christmas, so it’s excusable, right?

Cut to Line #2: Security.

So I stood in Line #2 for approximately twenty minutes before the standard Photo ID/boarding pass check, at which point this occurred:

TSA employee with a feeble grasp of the English language: “Go back check-in!”
Me: “Um, excuse me?”
TSA employee: “ID and boarding pass no match exact!”
Me: “Oh, I see. The name on my driver’s license is incorrect – I’ve been trying to get that changed for nearly two years. It’s correct on my Social Security card, though, and I know that’s not a photo ID but I have both that card and my license and my green card right here…”
TSA employee, who by now is really starting to irritate me: “Change name on boarding pass! I no know Keri L and Keri-Lee same person! Go back check-in!”

Well, fine . Never mind the fact that I’d waited in line for about an hour already (what, do these people just assume that we civilians all stand around in too-long lines for kicks and giggles?) but what could I do? So back to ticketing I went. This time, I had to go in the longer, less efficient line for counter service. After forty-five minutes of waiting, I finally reached a counter where a kind-looking lady in her fifties easily fixed the problem. I returned to the line for security – which was, of course, even longer than before. Forty minutes of that. Let’s hear it one time for waiting. In fact, let’s hear it again. And again. And again.

At 4:25, I reached my gate and prepared to sit around until a 5:30 departure.

Only to find the passengers for the 3:20 flight before mine still waiting to get on their plane and leave.

I checked the departure board.

Destination: TPA
Departure time: 5:25 P
Status: DELAYED UNTIL 6:06 P DELAYED

By the way, the shrill, piercing noise of a fire alarm is very, very present.


Is this related to MIT? Other than my leaving it for what may shape up to be three very long weeks, no. We do have lives outside of the Institute, you know. ^_^

23 responses to “Adventures in Logan Airport”

  1. Daniel says:

    haha! This is hilarious to me. Being in the military not only have I had lots of experience with airports, but I’ve been on the other side of that civilian-federalemployee fence.

    To be fair, [in this particular case] this whole thing is the fault of the great state of Florida – the TSA is just doing their job to keep everyone safe (with all of that training to get such a firm grasp of the English language, they must have forgotten the official-document-processing training that they got from the Transportation SECURITY Agency). But your DMV is slacking BIG time.

  2. Karin says:

    That type of thing happened to my dad too. See, the plane ticket said Rick, but the ID said Steven Derek (don’t ask) and he waited for security, then had to go back, same deal. At least his plane wasn’t so delayed. That sounds awful =(.

  3. Jess says:

    I like the uncut version better. smile

  4. Anonymous says:

    5D – first class?

  5. I’m not very good with planes, the last two times I was on one I almost got arrested and did get patted down both times. I had no state manufactured ID (only MIT) both ways (because I’m an idiot). On the way there, I had a Leatherman in my bag, which I’d forgotten about. Apparently those are just 4cm under the limit to get you fined and arrested. On the way back they found traces of Magnesium in my shoes, of all things. Anyway, the point is I’m bad with planes. More details of the story to come in person and in not such a public forum smile

  6. MIT Fan says:

    Direct quote: “TSA employee with a feeble grasp of the English language.”

    Condescending.

    ‘Nuff said.

  7. jkid says:

    It’s not racist or condescending to state that someone has a feeble grasp of the English language if in fact that someone has a feeble grasp of the English language. Methinks someone likes to make things bigger than they actually are.

  8. Karin says:

    I really don’t think it’s meant like that. To say that someone has a feeble grasp of the english language may very well be true. I have a feeble grasp of the French language, and I certainly could understand a Frenchman’s frustration if they had to deal with me working at their airport. It just illustrates how frustrating the experience was. She’s not insulting the person, just illustrating how difficult communication was.

  9. MIT Fan says:

    Okay, so you were irritated at the airport. I understand your predicament, since it’s happened to a lot of us over break.

    I am offended, however, of your — yes, you used the word — SCARCASTIC — and, frankly, CONDESCENDING — transcript of your conversation with an obviously non-native English speaker. You could have told your story without making fun of someone’s broken English. How many languages do you speak?

    Hey, Keri-Lee, or Keri L. — I guess by now, you’ve noticed that there are quite a lot of non-native English speakers at MIT? Have you noticed how many international students are in your classes? How about all the international post-docs? And the international professors? Do you make fun of the way they speak behind their backs? Do you complain that your instructors don’t have perfect English? If I were one of them, I’d avoid you like the plague.

    Okay, free speech and all — you certainly have the right to say your mind in your blog. I have no idea if MIT put any restrictions on your subject matter. Probably not. They probably gave the bloggers free rein, because that’s how the school is.

    But it saddens me that someone who is supposed to be REPRESENTING the BEST of MIT is small-minded enough (and, foolish enough) to flash her bigotry in front of the entire university — and the entire world. At least, the world that is interested in coming to MIT. I wonder how many international students were put off by your comments and decided not to apply, thinking that you REPRESENT the majority opinion there. I hope they realize that bigots are NOT in the majority, and that there is actually a wonderfully tolerant atmosphere at MIT.

    And the thing that surprises me most of all is that someone from a minority community would have so much intolerance for other minorities. Yeah, I’m a minority, too, so I can talk about prejudice first-hand. And yours, I would not want to meet on the street (or in class).

  10. Kel says:

    God, did anyone get home without any problems?
    And at Logan, it really is a problem trying to communicate with security, and MIT Fan, Keri isn’t being condescending, she’s stating a fact. If they are working in an area which is as crucial (well, it’s supoosed to be crucial) as airport security, it’s not too much to ask that they speak the language of the majority of the people passing throught the airport.
    And this is coming for a non-american, and english is far from my first language…and yet I’m pretty sure I can make myself understood.
    Sorry, but that comment bugged me.

  11. Oh, MIT Fan. There are tons of international students and people with not-so-perfect English at MIT. You are correct. As a matter of fact, some of my closest friends I speak in Russian to, not English.

    Do I make fun of their English behind their back? Nope. But they’re also _students_. I speak four languages, and communication is difficult in at least 2 of them. If I moved to Israel, should I be allowed to work El Al security? Absolutely not, since I don’t speak Hebrew well enough at all.

    It’s very frustrating when you’re trying to make a flight or bus and the person not letting you on clearly can’t understand you. International or not, someone with a non-full grasp of the English language should not be working a high communication position.

    And, for another thing, I sometimes _do_ complain that my instructors don’t have perfect English. Of course, professors usually make themselves understandable; they’ve had years of practice. TA’s with broken English, on the other hand, you often just can’t understand. So yes, I do complain, and switch to a different TA. Is this racist? Not in the slightest. I don’t care if they’re Asian, Black, White, Hispanic, Green, Purple, whatever. If I can’t understand them, I clearly won’t be learning as much as I could be.

    You are right in that MIT is a very tolerant place, in every sense of the word. That’s mostly why I go here. I love it.

    I think you’re taking easy offense at Keri’s post when there wasn’t really anything for you to get so offended about.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And here I thought it was just funny.

  13. kristin says:

    I see where MIT Fan is coming from, but I don’t think she meant it that way. She gave us the dialogue of what he said. That’s it. I truly don’t think she meant it in a malicious way, or at least I hope she didn’t, but I just find it very hard that a minority in a school filled with minorities, many who aren’t native speakers, would say something like that with racist over/undertones.

    Meh.

  14. Daniel says:

    lol…

    It is funny. And people do like to blow things out of proportion. A “feeble grasp of the English language” is nothing to be ashamed of (unless it’s your native language…), and I didn’t find that phrase condescending. Sarcastic, maybe – it does seem ironic that someone with such an inability to communicate would be hired to communicate with all passengers going through security – but sarcasm is funny.

    Keri, I’m glad you got home safe and hope you had a wonderful holiday! Keep up the sarcasm! =)

  15. P.C. says:

    MIT Fan: Keri didn’t make fun of the TSA employee. To point out that someone does not have a good command of English is a straightforward statement of fact; to interpret it as making fun of that person reflects more on your own prejudices than Keri’s.

    You conclude with “And the thing that surprises me most of all is that someone from a minority community would have so much intolerance for other minorities. Yeah, I’m a minority, too, so I can talk about prejudice first-hand.” What are you talking about? “So much intolerance for other minorities”? Keri didn’t shoot someone. I, too, am a member of a minority that has historically had a rough time in the US—but I’m not racist enough to think that being in a so-called minority gives me more right to lecture about prejudices than others.

    Keri publicly puts her name to everything she writes on this blog. The decency and strength of character she shows in not deleting your post at first sight contrasts with your cowardice in hiding behind the barrier of anonymity for your puerile and stupid attack.

    Oh, and, yeah, one more thing—it’s classy to point out someone’s misspelling in a sentence that goes “I am offended, however, of your transcript”.

  16. Omar says:

    OK, so I was having fun reading Keri’s post, which is great, and then I find a comment that is LONGER THAN A FEW SENTENCES. So I got quite interested, and after breathing in to calm down my excitement I start to read, just to see that there’s an ‘MIT Fan’ criticizing Keri for not being too cautious with the words she chose to express her ideas. Now… I see some flaws in his comment.

    First.
    * How many languages do you speak? *

    I don’t see how this is part of an argument. Clearly, if Keri only speaks English she’s in no better or worst position to criticize someone else’s English than someone who speaks 10 languages.

    * Hey, Keri-Lee, or Keri L. — I guess by now, you’ve noticed that there are quite a lot of non-native English speakers at MIT? Have you noticed how many international students are in your classes? How about all the international post-docs? And the international professors? Do you make fun of the way they speak behind their backs? Do you complain that your instructors don’t have perfect English? If I were one of them, I’d avoid you like the plague. *

    I’m a non-native English speaker, and I make mistakes all the time. BUT there are many international students who can speak English at the same level or even better than a native speaker… so in this paragraph you are wrongly assuming that international students should avoid Keri because they can’t speak English right… I don’t agree my friend.

    * Okay, free speech and all — you certainly have the right to say your mind in your blog. I have no idea if MIT put any restrictions on your subject matter. Probably not. They probably gave the bloggers free rein, because that’s how the school is. *

    Amen.

    * But it saddens me that someone who is supposed to be REPRESENTING the BEST of MIT is small-minded enough (and, foolish enough) to flash her bigotry in front of the entire university — and the entire world. At least, the world that is interested in coming to MIT. *

    Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. I’m still trying to figure out if you were being sarcastic or not in this paragraph. But assuming that you were following the trend (and therefore being serious) I would like to know how this one post gives you the right to call Keri ‘small-minded and foolish’.
    Actually, assuming that the people that blog for the admissions website are the **BEST of MIT** would be ‘small-minded and foolish’. All of the bloggers for the admissions website are awesome in some way, but there’s no such a thing as being the BEST of MIT, at all, it just doesn’t exist. If you find someone (or a group of people) who are considered to be the **BEST of MIT** just let me know.

    * I wonder how many international students were put off by your comments and decided not to apply, thinking that you REPRESENT the majority opinion there. *

    Haha, I hope not too many, since MIT applications are due next Monday. Anyways, if they did get ‘put off’ they might re-read the sections in the application where it says that interaction with one person from the institute should not shape their perception of the institute as a whole. If they were fool enough to ignore something as obvious… well, they have until Monday to rectify it.

    * And the thing that surprises me most of all is that someone from a minority community would have so much intolerance for other minorities. Yeah, I’m a minority, too, so I can talk about prejudice first-hand. And yours, I would not want to meet on the street (or in class). *

    I don’t think that pointing out that you have “a feeble grasp of the English language” is considered prejudice. If that’s what you call ‘prejudice first-hand’, take it easy my friend that your confusing prejudice with a ‘remark’ that can hurt your ego if you don’t accept your flaws.

    I hope this helps, and please, save drama for special ocassions.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A “feeble grasp of the English language” implies exactly nothing about a person’s race, color, or whatnot else. Some people have trouble communicating in English, some people have trouble learning English, and some people simply don’t care about their speech. The quote is more telling about the ineptness of airport security than anything else.

    “save drama for special occasions”
    -Seconded.

  18. nehalita says:

    i love how you had to go back in line to have your boarding pass say your incorrect name. srsly

  19. mary beth says:

    keri…

    i understand.

    believe me.

    our names are failures.

    mary-mary beth-mary elizabeth

  20. sarah says:

    What is funny, is that MIT Fan has clearly missed the fact that Keri is not a native of the United States, though she does claim to be half-international in her bio.

    Hopefully your trip back to Boston is less eventful! Great story:)

  21. Some Advice says:

    Hey, Keri. Quick net searches can solve your problem in a flash.

    Assuming you’ve run into the wrong name/driver’s license issue before (for as long as you’ve had your license), so you can cut out the drama and just use ID that has your correct name, like your passport.

    This probably isn’t the first time you’ve gone thru this. Since the name on your ticket ON THE WAY to Logan from Florida also didn’t match your driver’s license, security probably questioned it last summer, on your way to MIT, right? So you’ve known for months that you had to fix the problem, right?

    Not sure if you are a US citizen (“I was born in Jamaica, but I moved to the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area in Florida at age seven. (Kellas ’10 from England, who lives a floor above me, says this makes me half an international student. I don’t agree. Yet.”) If you’re not, your Jamaican passport should have your correct name, right? If you have a US passport, it should also have your correct name, right? If you don’t have a US passport, you can get one quickly: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_831.html

    Or does this wrong-name thing follow you around everywhere, and the name on your passport is incorrect, too?

    If you need to change the name on your US passport: http://travel.state.gov/passport/fri/ChangeName/ChangeName_851.html

    If you need to change the name on your Jamaican passport (look under Amendment of Jamaican Passports/Change of name):
    http://www.jhcottawa.ca/passports.htm#Renewal of Passport/Damaged Passport (Adults):

    Enjoy your flight back, if you’re not already in town for IAP (rich girl – first class? “I checked in and printed out my boarding pass yesterday. Seat 5D. A window. Nice.”)

    Hope this helps to cut the drama.

  22. Keri says:

    Some Advice –

    Thanks! This is all awesome.

    I’ve never had the problem before; usually I just reserve flights in the name on my license to avoid any issues. My name will be corrected once I get US citizenship in a couple of months, though.

    Also, I am anything but a rich girl. I do, however, fly on JetBlue. ^_^ First class=no.

  23. Some Advice says:

    Hey, congrats on the citizenship.

    I figured the picture on your green card wouldn’t cut it at Logan because it’s probably a pic from when you were a kid, right?

    There’s nothing quite like walking to 7-11 in the snow to get — of all things — a SLURPEE in the dead of winter! My fav is the one in Harvard Sq., so I can warm up on the T on the way back. Or pick up a Peet’s coffee and alternate hot and cold.
    http://www.harvardsquare.com/directory.php?id=110

    For readers who don’t know what a Slurpee is, it’s a frozen/liquid coke, or whatever flavor du jour is in the machine that day. Excellent in the summer heat. And in winter, to, if you can bear the chill both inside and outside of your body!
    http://www.slurpee.com/

    Ahhhh. Jet Blue. Great DirecTv.
    http://www.jetblue.com/about/whyyoulllike/about_why7.html

    Ain’t IAP a hoot?