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Efficiency at CDG

Kelsey and I flew home Sunday, departing out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. What amazed me was how many separate people with whom we had to personally and physically interact to get on our plane:

  1. The person in the check-in line whose job it was to ask us where we were going, take down our passport numbers, and ask us whether we had packed our own bags or not.
  2. The person in the check-in line who searched Kelsey's large bag.
  3. The person who helped the previous person with the search.
  4. The person at the check-in counter who gave us our boarding passes.
  5. The person stationed before the security checkpoint who made sure we had valid boarding passes.
  6. The person who took our bags from us and placed them on the x-ray machine's conveyor belt.
  7. The person who waved us to walk through the metal detector and then patted us down (both of us, despite no obvious sign of the detector going off).
  8. The person who handed us our bags after they went through the metal detector.
  9. The person who checked our boarding passes before allowing us to board a bus to a satellite terminal.
  10. The person in the boarding line at the gate who checked to see that we had boarding passes and passports.
  11. The person in the boarding line who searched my carry-on bag.
  12. The person who helped the previous person with the bag search.
  13. The person at the gate who took our boarding passes and allowed us to walk out to the plane.
  14. The person on the plane who checked our boarding passes to see that they were correct.
That's 14 people who each interacted with us personally and physically. Can that possibly be efficient? Worse, at least one phase of the process (the boarding line bag search) implies a lack of trust in an earlier phase of the process (the security checkpoint x-ray).


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Frank, did you ever stop to consider the possibility that this is the French way of dealing with unemployment? Think of the job loss that would occur from an effort to make your little Parisian vacation a little more streamlined.

Besides, didn't the whole process bolster your illusion of relative safety?

Silly me. What was I thinking? You're right: if CDG streamlined its check-in and boarding procedures, not only would more French people be out of work -- thereby worsening the racial tensions there -- but my feelings of safety would have been compromised. A lose-lose if I've ever heard of one.

Thanks for setting me straight, Megan!

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