Travelers: A Curveball and a Hurdle

NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ON THE ROAD, by Joe Sharkey

A Few Well-Chosen Words Pay the Fare for Some

“That white-knuckled flier sitting across the aisle muttering anxiously may well have a case of fear of flying.  But it may also be a case of fear of public speaking.”

Mr. Sharkey, the author of this article, states in this article that public speaking is a basic requirement for many jobs.  He then states that “one curveball being thrown at speakers, incidentally, comes from technology.  At big events, the speaker’s image is often projected on giant video screens, allowing people to see quirks that once went largely unnoticed.” 

A curveball thrown at a baseball pitcher is difficult to hit;  a tech curveball may make the comfort level a bit more discomforting.  As the author states: “If you’re in a room with 2,000 people, most people really can’t see the small inflections and changes in your facial expression.”  But with those giant screens, “suddenly they really can, which makes body language far more important than it ever was.”  

Travelers Find Frustrating Hurdle at Customs

Past Brushes With Law Complicate a Trusted Traveler Program, by Susan Stellin

“The government’s trusted traveler program has proved itself more popular than officials expected, with 1.2 million people now eligible to speed up their entry to this country using a self-service kiosk rather than waiting to speak to a customs agent at the airport.

But some people have been surprised to find that their applications for the Global Entry trusted traveler program have been rejected–not for some serious infraction but for a minor brush with law enforcement or customs inspectors that turned up during the required background check.”

In track and field sports hurdles are barriers runners must jump over. The hurdles in traveling and at U.S. Customs must be frustrating, especially if a former infraction was minor, such as an apple in a bag that was prohibited. Usually, though, according to the article, “any type of criminal conviction would disqualify someone,” as well as some prohibited or undeclared items.

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