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8:09 AM, Dec 6, 2007 toot this
Print Boarding Pass
I'm leaving later today for San Francisco, and so last night at about 7pm I remembered that since I was within 24 hours of my 3:30pm departure, I could check in online. I went to Southwest's website, and pulled up my ticketless confirmation from my "Plane Tickets" label in Gmail to get my confirmation number, and plugged it all in. I was under the impression that I could simply check in online, and retrieve my A-group boarding pass when I get to the airport the next day. However, when I attempted to check in, it just gave me a form to print.

Well, since I wasn't at work, there was no way to print it out. Jeff assured me that the fact that I'd checked in online would guarantee that I could just go to a kiosk tomorrow and get my A-group boarding pass, but I have never been lucky with the kiosks since 9/11. I share a first name with at least ten million people, and a last name with another ten million, so it invariably thinks I'm a terrorist, and tells me that I have to go and talk to a real person. I've filled out the TSA's, "I'm not a terrorist," action coloring book about five times, and the system still doesn't give a damn.

I didn't give a damn either. I had a boarding pass right in front of me, basically guaranteeing me safe, hassle-free passage aboard the plane, and I was going to print it. So, I got an idea. Firefox(like most browsers) has an option to save what the browser is currently viewing as a local file. So I did that, and copied it to my linux machine's web-accessible directory, and loaded it in Opera, and then in Internet Explorer. It worked fine, and I let out a whoop.

I set a reminder on my Google Calendar to tell me to print the boarding pass when I got to work. I got in earlier than I ever have before: 7:30am. I know. I have a hard life. There was one other car in the parking lot, and I suspect it had probably been left there overnight. I went inside and set about print my pass. There are two yellow bits on the page, so logically I determined that I had to print it in color.

So I set it to print on the color printer, locked my screen, and ambled over to the big white Lanier. Another guy with a cup of coffee in one hand was reading cryptic instructions for clearing paper jams on one of the "user-friendly" fold-out panels. With my help, he cleared perhaps four jams from various corners of the voluminous printer, closed it all up, and set eyes on the display. It read "WARMING UP," for some minutes before it changed to "CALIBRATING," and started making a whistling sound.

The other guy had given up by this point and had gone back to his desk, but I wanted my damned boarding pass. Finally it started printing page after page of things that had been left in its queue. My guess is that at about 2pm yesterday someone jammed it and didn't bother to tell anyone. It kept printing until I started to think it'd run out of paper. But before that happened, it jammed again. I went back to my desk and cleared my print job, and sent it instead to the black and white HP.

Anyway, I have my boarding pass now.

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