Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Psychological Testing at Midway Airport

I was put through an arduous experiment last week at Midway Airport that was designed to measure anxiety levels. Strangely, no one ever asked me to sign a human testing waiver.

First, at 9am on a Friday morning, the security lines were as long as I've ever seen them. And the distinctions between the Family, Casual Traveler, and Business lanes were non-existant. But the Business lane was on the right and I didn't see quite as many families in line, so I took my chances there. It didn't matter. It still took me 15 minutes for anyone to even look at my ID.

And then it's the great guessing game - which magnometer line to enter. There were too many families in most of the lines - and that always means it takes longer. Most of the lines seemed to have about 10 people waiting, which isn't horrible, just annoying. And I'm not sure why, but usually the lines on the right side of the security set up at Midway are actually faster. So I went to the right.

We were all the way against the wall and it was taking a very long time to even approach the main line of machines. Something seemed wrong. When we got to the corner of the wall, the experiment became clear. We were not being directed into the machines on the right side of the security set-up, we were being sent to the machines in the way far away right side. Seriously, there was an entire TSA conference room in between the machines that were not being used and where we were headed. There were a good 60 -75 people in line in front of me.

I remain fairly certain that the 20 minutes it took us to get to the magnometer was a sick psychological experiment designed to make us crazy. That, and the people who were in line so long they risked missing their flights and so thought it was okay to cut in front of the rest of us. It was okay, because they shouldn't have to miss their flights, but the line should not have been so long as to put any of us in that situation to begin with.

Needless to say, everyone's anxiety level was higher than the security threat levels. Way beyond orange, that's for sure.

And, by the time I got through the whole line, no one asked me to sign a waiver. I'm pretty sure there's a law against this!

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