Unexpected airport announcements can raise passengers’ heckles and plumb the debts of travelers' anxieties.
A few days ago, I was sitting in a crowd at the gate at Tampa International Airport, waiting for a flight.
Looking up from my Kindle Fire, I was somewhat amused to see only the tops of more than 100 fellow passengers’ heads.
Virtually everyone in the gate area was poking at an individual electronic device, be it a BlackBerry, an MP3 player, a tablet, a laptop computer, or an eBook reader.
Suddenly, a static-scrambled alert piped in over the loudspeaker.
“Code 10,” the voice said.
For a flash, heads popped up all around me. Then fingers began tapping on screens, faster than before.
“Is everyone Googling “Code 10” at once? I asked my fellow traveler.
Likely, they were doing just that. I have to admit – I was too.
Guess what we all found out, as we flushed out the answer.
In the banking world, Code 10 refers to a fraud alert. In urban lingo, Code 10 points to extreme awesomeness. Neither of those applied at the airport.
Nope, a Code 10 has nothing to do with national security, terrorism, or an escaped convict. It’s not a medical emergency, an aircraft malfunction, or a drug arrest.
OK, it’s a pot bust, but not what folks were thinking.
Code 10, in an airport, refers to a clogged toilet. It’s a distress call, for sure, but it’s aimed at the maintenance department, not the TSA officials. A Code 10 at the airport means a lavatory is 10-7, or out of service.
All of a sudden, I wanted to be in Evansville, Indiana, where the airport code is EW. Or maybe Fargo, North Dakota, whose code is FAR.
But definitely not Wenatchee, Washington, with a code that spells EAT, or Yuma, Arizona, which is tagged YUM. Not for a while, anyway.
10-4. Roger that.
Tampa Airport Outside
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