Sunday, November 8, 2009


In their wisdom the Department of Homeland Security have recently made it very clear that from now on air travelers must make every effort to insure that the name on their tickets and boarding passes must be exactly the same as they appear in your passport. No doubt this is prudent, but it is also fraught with difficulties. The names in my passport, my names, are (in the right order) Angus Alexander Geoffrey Trumble. The name on my ticket and boarding pass is usually Angus Trumble, occasionally Angus A. Trumble, but never to my knowledge Angus A. G. Trumble. So far all this has gone without comment, but yesterday in Terminal 3 at Heathrow, the American Airlines automatic check-in machine took it upon itself to amend my name to TRUMBLEESQ/ANGUSA. This desperately unhelpful locution very nearly prevented me from traveling, and it was only after much increasingly abject (but always respectful) groveling to the security man that I managed to establish that I am who I am, and that this was indeed my ticket. Afterwards, the airline representative could offer no explanation for why all this occurred, other than that I must have done it to myself. “No, not true,” I protested as politely as possible. Naturally no-one in Terminal 3 has ever heard of “Esq.,” and I cannot remember the last time this archaic tag was ever applied to me, even in jest by members of my immediate family—certainly never in America, where ironically “Esq.” still does exist, viz. as an oddly unisex signifier for attorneys who are authorized to practice in certain jurisdictions including Connecticut. The only way out of this strange predicament was to give the security man my solemn assurance that in future I would ahead of time somehow obtain from American Airlines confirmation of the exact spelling of my own name. Upon much reflection since then, I have decided that it will be far easier to use another, less tiresome airline. I also wondered if the red poppy I was wearing in my lapel made any difference. Evidently not, because at the departure gate I was searched with unnerving thoroughness down to the ticklish soles of my feet. KAFKAESQ/FRANZ, eat your heart out.

1 comment:

  1. one hopes the opportunity will soon arise for us to malappropriately describe such situations as trumbelesque