Hundreds Report Watch-List Trials
Some Ended Hassles at Airports by Making Slight Change to Name. For more than a year and a half, Rep. John Lewis has endured lengthy delays at the ticket counter, intense questioning by airline employees and suspicious glances by fellow passengers. Airport security guards have combed through his luggage as he stood in front of his constituents at the Atlanta airport. An airline employee has paged him on board a flight for further questioning, he said. On at least 35 occasions, the Georgia Democrat said, he was treated like a criminal because his name, like that of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), appeared on a government terrorist watch list. While Kennedy managed to get security officials to end his airlines hassles after three weeks of trying, Lewis had no luck for months. Then he found his own way around the security mess. Lewis added his middle initial to his name when making his airline reservations. The computer system apparently didn’t flag tickets for “Rep. John R. Lewis,” and the hassles suddenly ended. “The ‘R’ is the only thing that has been saving me,” Lewis said from Atlanta yesterday.