Shout out to the AirTran and TSA agents at Jacksonville International Airport. You guys rock!
We are on vacation and Cameron was leaving our vacation spot to visit his father for a long weekend. His flight was out of JAX, which is a little over an hour's drive for us. Thirty minutes into the journey to the airport I asked Cameron if he had his wallet with him. Now mind you, 30 minutes into the journey was the wrong time to ask this question, but I thought it was a routine question that really didn't need to be asked. So imagine my reaction when the answer was not an automatic "Yes," but something more along the lines of "Maybe" which directly translates to "No." Cameron clearly didn't understand why my hair stood on end and I became a slightly distracted driver when he informed me he had not brought his wallet. "Cameron, how are you going to get through security without an ID???" Suddenly he got it, and panic ensued for both us.
Luckily I had a friend in the car with me, who calmly called AirTran to inquire about ID requirements. For passengers under 18, no ID is required. I knew this, but worried that it would still be a problem since Cameron was traveling alone. I had actually thought of this trip as a test for Cameron. He would be traveling out of an unfamiliar airport and would need to find his way to the gate without having ever set foot in that airport before. I felt he was up to the challenge, but prepared myself for sitting on pins and needles, waiting for my phone to ring as he made it to the gate, and again when he boarded the plane, and finally when he landed at his destination. Now knowing he had no ID on him, I worried about him being held up at security, and possibly being denied entry into the gate area.
Upon arriving at the terminal, we went to the check-in kiosk to print Cameron's boarding pass. I was showing Cameron where his confirmation number could be found, and the AirTran agent came to ask if we needed any help. I explained that Cameron had no ID, but that he was 17, and asked if it would be a problem going through security. (No mention of ASD, or attention issues, or any of my other canned excuses when I'm seeking assistance.) The agent said that it shouldn't be a problem, but she would be happy to give the two of us (my poor friend was still waiting for my head to explode) a gate pass to accompany Cameron to the gate. I was so relieved! And so we headed to security. Cameron handed his boarding pass to the TSA agent, and the agent didn't even ask for an ID. I was ready to jump in and explain that the ID had been forgotten, but my presence was unneeded. (I did have to remind Cameron to remove his liquids from his carry on, but I have to remind my husband of that too.)
My friend and I stayed back as Cameron walked straight to his gate. He sat right by the agent, as we again stayed back to await the boarding call. The pre-board announcement was made for those passengers needing extra time. I was about to go over to Cameron and suggest he ask to pre-board, but he had already gotten up to join the line. I started to give Cameron one of those canned excuses to explain his need to board first, but the gate agent didn't question Cameron when he handed him his boarding pass.
Cameron and I learned some important lessons on this trip. Cameron learned to take his wallet with him when he travels. And I learned that he doesn't need to take his mom with him when he travels.