I arrived at the airport yesterday, as I mentioned in an earlier post, for a flight that marked my 2 millionth mile flown (and that’s with zero mileage runs, it’s all been business travel.) Charleston, SC is a very small airport and since I’m here a lot, I know most of the US Air agents. While I was checking in, I noticed that the man next to me was checking an awfully large bag that was a puke green color. The color’s what really caught my attention. I couldn’t imagine how much the overweight bag fee would be let alone what the fee would be if there were an ugly bag fee.
After going through security I discovered that my 4:30 flight was delayed until 6:30. After grabbing some snacks and a drink, I went over to chat with two of the US Air agents I know. As we were chatting, a man came up to ask about switching to a flight that wasn’t delayed. One of the agents started helping him and told him there would be a $100 change fee and he became pretty obnoxious. At that point I noticed that he was the same man who checked the puke green bag. After some back and forth, he agreed to pay the change fee. The agent asked if he had checked any luggage and he said NO!
I was sure that she’d see something in his record that would alert her to the fact that he was lying. I stood ther there, quietly listening. I was shocked, he was able to change his ticket.
Five years ago I may not have cared, but now, something felt different. The man, who clearly had bad taste in luggage, didn’t appear to be suspicious, but then, neither did the Boston Marathon bombers. Now, I’m not saying this man was a bomber or anything like that, but we live in a different world, a different time.
I decided to say something to the agent. I told her that I had watched him check a bag. She looked at her computer and typed in a few things and sure enough, she saw a baggage record attached to his ticket. The agent quietly called airport security who arrived with TSA agents in tow. Charleston is so small that it only took them about 3 minutes or so to arrive. The agent pointed out the man and they began talking to him. It was pretty hard to hear what they were saying, but it was clear that the man was unhappy.
The man’s bag was taken off the plane and he was escorted somewhere to be questioned. I said to the agent who I know best, “I feel kind of bad.” She said, “You shouldn’t feel bad. You did the right thing. There’s a 99.9% chance that he’s just some guy who wants to get home and lied. But it’s not worth the risk of that .1% chance that he’s not.”
She was right. It’s not worth the chance. So, yes, in this case, honesty is definitely the best policy. He should have been forthcoming and speaking was the right thing.
What would you have done?