Why A Travel Agent Is Required to Have TSA Escort Every Time She Flies

by SharonKurheg

There are some occupations where there’s a mandatory retirement age. It varies from country to country, so while federal court judges in Australia must retire at age 70, those in Canada may be able to wait until they’re 75 (depending on the court).

In the United States, airline pilots have to retire at age 65 (age 60 until late 2007). Air traffic controllers have to retire at age 56 (although some get exceptions and can work until they’re 61). And federal law enforcement officers, national park rangers and firefighters all have a mandatory retirement age of 57, or later if less than 20 years of service.

Most occupations, at least in the U.S., have no mandatory retirement age. With few exceptions, you can conceivably keep working until you want to stop, have to stop, or, let’s face it until you die. Travel agencies have no mandatory retirement age, and a woman named Mildred Kirschenbaum has taken advantage of that.

Kirschenbaum is just shy of 101 years old. She ran a travel agency for 35 or 40 years. Although she no longer has the agency, she still has her IATA card (the IATA ID Card is the only globally recognized industry credential for travel professionals) and, therefore, can make her flight reservations herself, if and when she wants to.

She’s an influencer

Thanks, in part, to her daughter Gayle, Kirschenbaum is a social media influencer. She and Gayle have a popular Instagram account that usually stars Mildred dishing out life advice in her distinct New York accent. Over the past few years, she and Gayle have been the focus of the New York Times and Today, among others.

A couple of days ago, the Kirschenbaums’ Instagram account posted a cute story about why Mildred is required to have a TSA supervisor escort her every time she goes through the security checkpoint.

You can click here to watch the video.

an older woman wearing glasses

Gayle’s narrative explained the rest of the story:

The first time this happened when we were checking in, I was sure mom had made a mistake in her profile for the plane ticket.

I went into the computer and saw that she had correctly entered the year of her birth was 1923.

I was on a mission to figure out what happened and correct it. Little did I know that in fact, it’s a problem with the computer systems that are set up for the airlines and for people who are travel agents.

And when I spoke to supervisors both at the airlines and at the travel agency which my mother is connected to they said there is nothing they can do. Because that is how the IT/computer forms are set up.

Isn’t this crazy? Do they not expect people who live into the three digits to fly and travel anymore?

We now spend an additional hour every time we’re checking in to sort this out. And it also now requires someone to escort us to TSA to inform them so they will let mom through.

It is very funny but frustrating when you’re trying to catch a plane .

Crazy! Although I get annoyed when the field for “year of birth” is a 4-digit “YYYY” (because it’s 2 extra keystrokes. WOE IS ME! LOL!), I guess it’s specifically there for the likes of Mildred Kirschenbaum. 😉

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Think Twice April 17, 2024 - 2:13 pm

While I empathize with their inconveniences, it boggles my mind how small-thinking people can be. A lot of these systems were designed and built in the 60s where 1 megabyte of memory cost $25,000. And that’s $25,000 in the 1960s. And some systems couldn’t get their Y2K bug fixed for various reasons. Whether you like it or not, sometimes small edge cases cannot be accounted for nor fixed cheaply. Why not just focus on the incredible increase in quality of life and travel brought forth by the advances in computer technology rather than playing the victim. AT LEAST she gets a TSA escort to help her, while others get cavity searched, both figuratively and literally?

SharonKurheg April 17, 2024 - 6:32 pm

I think you’re giving people a whole lot of credit. Aviation enthusiasts may know they systems were built in the 60s and not updated to really be considered 21st century (except where it’s important to the airlines. Amazingly, they were able to figure out how to add code to allow people to pay to choose their seats.). A layman? Not so much.


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