It is that time of year when air travel picks up momentum as vacationers flock to their remote destinations. In my job, I spend a fair amount of time in airports and traveling internationally. In the beginning, the travel was exciting and the people watching was worth the price of airfare, taxes, fuel surcharges and baggage checking. However as time went on the almost missed flights and longer delays as well as other frustrations beginning to pile up lead me to believe that now is time for us to discuss some points, helpful hints if you will, for the first time traveler; if for no other reason than I am stuck around you as you travel.
Getting through a security check is a process that has become increasingly frustrating for people over the past 11 years. The rules set in place to keep us safe from the potential evils of the world have created longer lines and confused travelers who mill around the lines of security. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s take a moment to look at a few simple things to make your life easier and less annoying to me, when traveling.
- Sensible shoes: Security in US airports requires all travelers to remove their shoes and place them on the belt to be x-rayed. When traveling, don’t be the person who wears the thigh high boots that lace up to just shy of your ultra-short skirt. You will be required to remove your boots and the hundreds of people following you are not admiring your fashion sense. Instead, we would like to shove those boots firmly up your ass. Other thoughts are also running through our heads, however, they are not appropriate for this particular blog. Just know, our thoughts are not personal, we will just blame those particular thoughts on the “mob” mentality.
- Empty pockets: When the nice TSA agent says remove everything from your pockets, they really mean everything. Take out your wallet, keys, and even the little bit of paper you acquired during the preflight process. I have an even better suggestion, since you know you are going to the airport, how about not putting anything in your pockets in the first place? Nothing pushes the buttons of those waiting behind you more than to have to watch you be told a dozen times to step back and empty your pockets.
- The confusing laptop rules: Well, the rules are not exactly confusing. If you are traveling with a laptop, take it out of the bag you are carrying, place it in a tub all by itself, and then put all other items in a separate tub. See, it is an easy concept. However, it seems that next to emptying your pockets, this rule baffles more people than anything else. I have to admit, the look of utter confusion when the TSA agent explains this to an intelligence-challenged individual, was amusing the first time or two I saw it, but now is an effort in anger management to keep from placing them in the tub…
- Tourist vs. business traveler: It is easy to pick out the tourists as they are the ones who are socializing with their group of fellow vacationers. They will be wearing the above mentioned fashion attire not suitable for travel. When they approach the security area, they look like little lost children waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Had the group paid attention instead of acting like they were enjoying a happy hour, they would understand what they are supposed to do. In contrast, you can always tell the seasoned traveler, as they are the ones untying their shoes and removing their belt before they get to the checkpoint. The most telling identifier of a business traveler is the scowl they are wearing while being delayed by the tourists.
- The rules are stupid: Yes, the rules are stupid and we all know that they frustrate everyone. However, they are the rules set before us to follow. Trying to get around them or incessantly complaining only slows down the process for all of us. The rules won’t be changed just because we complain and they certainly can’t be changed by the TSA agent waiting for you to empty your pockets for the third time. Think of it in this way, it is against the rules to choke the living shit out of people who aggravate us. If we discounted that simple rule, people going through security might find they are suddenly gasping for breath while their thigh high boots are firmly shoved up their ass.
Now I know that most people who travel may only get the chance to do so once a year, if they are lucky, but travelling is like anything else that is not familiar. Pay attention to what is going on around you, read the signs, and listen to the people who are there every day, wearing the uniforms, reciting the rules over and over and over. TSA is really trying to make it easier on you, just imagine what they see everyday. I do not want to come across as cynical, but I know those of you I will meet at the airport, who may have read these tidbits of wisdom, will not take heed. As such you will see me scowling at you and contemplating if your shoes will fit up your ass with your head already in there.
Until next time…
Related Article: TSA: All Touchy, Feely These Days