Airport bullshit.

So available light and I are running a little late for our flight. We have to park kinda far out because it’s crowded, when we get up to the baggage check it’s hell of crowded. Whatever, no helping that. Then I notice the TSA is running analyses on everyone’s checked bags to spot potential bomb chemicals, well I guess that’s a reasonable precaution in this age but it’s gonna slow us down, oh well.

We get up to the counter, there’s apparently a new policy that no one who checks baggage may get a boarding pass, you get a pass for the security checkpoint but you have to get a boarding pass at the gate. I don’t say anything, but I’m thinking that’s a pretty pointless policy that only serves to slow things down. a.l. asks the clerk if we are going to make the flight that leaves in about 1/2 hour, he says yeah sure you’ll be fine. Uh, ok, I guess, whatever.

So we stand in line again at the security checkpoint, it’s hella long too. a.l. asks an employee if we can get put at the head of the line for our flight at 9:05, he says we’re fine. Time passes, snails pass us, the same guy comes back around pulling people for a 9:10 to Salt Lake. a.l. says again, we have a 9:05 to San Diego, he says stay there you’re fine. By now the two of us are running low on cooling rods, and that neutron cascade is looming nearer. So Dipshit comes around again, anyone have a 9:10 to Salt Lake or a 9:05 to Burbank, a.l. says we have a 9:05 to San Diego, you can hedar the alarms beginning to redline around the edges of her voice. Dipshit says stay in line, you’ll be fine, as if the line will move faster for those who are San Diego bound rather than Burbank bound. Cooling rods slam into place, but it’s definitely becoming a crisis situation. Dipshit comes around one more time, repeat of last time, this time he acknowledges that perhaps our situation may in fact be analogous to that of whoever might be flying to Burbank. Of course by this time we only moved ahead of a handful of people.

a.l. thinks it would be a good idea if she ran ahead to gate to get our boarding passes, or at least ask them to wait for us, so she leaves me to the carryon bag and the last few people let her ahead of them. So the last guy in front of me is an old man in a wheelchair, I’m putting the carryon in a bin, putting my change and keys in my jacket and putting that in a bin, taking off my sandles and putting those in a bin, and I notice that the line is stopped. They are making the old man stand up and stagger through the metal detector. It’s clear he can barely stand while leaning heavily on a 4-legged cane.

It’s all I can do not to scream, For fuck’s sake, what the hell is wrong with you dickheads?! What are you gonna do if he falls over, shove him to the side and ignore him? You heartless fucking assholes! Then they turn down the sensitivity on the metal detector and someone pulls the wheelchair through. Well guess what you mental deficients, the detector isn’t gonna detect shit that way. Of course, I realize having a reactor breach isn’t gonna do me or him any favors, so I don’t say anything.

So finally I get through, only to meet a.l. coming towards me annoyed and frustrated. We missed our flight.

FAWK! says I. No one notices, because surely they are busy FAWK!ing themselves.

a.l. tells me that the gate attendant was quite bitchy at her for deigning to inquire about boarding passes after the cutoff time. Ms. Bitch: Are you confirmed? a.l.: I dunno, what’s that mean? Ms. Bitch: ARE YOU CONFIRMED? Etc. Anyway, we go to a different gate for the nex flight, see if we can get standby on the next flight, but eventually decide to transfer our tickets to a 4:00, go home for a few hours, and take a nap.

Lather, rinse, repeat, but with less foam this time because it’s not as busy. Except… I forgot to take off my goddamn pocket knife from my keyring. I forgot to do it the first time, and the security people didn’t notice, so the second time I was even more not thinking about it, if that’s possible. I’m even looking at the sign that says No Dangerous Shit, That Means You Mutha Fucka. It’s a tiny knife, only 2 inches if that, and not very sharp, but it’s still a knife, and therefore Dangerous Shit. This time as I walk through the x-ray guy notices, opens my jacket pocket, and says I can’t take the knife, I can either take it back to the car or they can keep it.

And there goes the last cooling rod, and I’m the neutron that started the cascade.

Dammit, why didn’t you leave that at home?! says a.l.

Feeling exceedingly stupid, especially since I’m always complaining about stupid people, I say I can take it back to the car. Meanwhile X-Ray passed the knife to Ms. Do Something About This Asshole, and she’s asking if we want to put the knife in the car or surrender it. a.l. asks if there’s any other options while also glaring at me, I’m sort of sputtering uselessly, Ms. Do Something is saying we can mail it to ourselves over there. a.l. is saying forget it, i don’t want to deal with it, Do Something is asking if I’m sure I want to surrender it, maybe it has some sentimental value, a.l. says Arrrgh, I gave it to him, just get rid of it we can get another one they’re cheap.

But I like my Dangerous Microshit. It’s good for clipping hangnails and opening envelopes. And I don’t want another one, I want this one. I know it only cost half a mil (that’s $510[sup]-4[/sup], not $510[sup]5[/sup]), but still.

a.l. looks at me and says, do whatever you want, i’m going to the gate.

I go back to the car.

I meet her at the gate, we both apologize, I offer half a greasy slice of a pepperoni pizza as a peace offering. She’s not hungry, but that’s OK because I eat all of it. Mmmm, pizza.

At least you learned something. Pizza heals all wounds.

Reason #427 why I intend to never travel anywhere, ever.

What a great OP! Lots of meat, and just the right amount of potatoes.

damn, I lost my favorite swiss army knife two weeks ago. It’s a victornox with the Swiss Bank three keys logo. I think it’s the only thing in my possession from my four year stint at Swiss Bank Corp. My wife had it in her purse - there was a 45 minute wait to get through security and our flight was already boarding. No chance to try find the post office…

Security should have a stack of manila envelopes with a $5 stamp on it. When you forget to put your prohibited articles into checked luggage, at least you can toss it in an envelope. Naw, that would be to easy.

I knew someone who had her tube of superglue confiscated before boarding a flight.

I mean, what the hell would a terrorist do with superglue? Threaten to permanently affix a flight attendant to the wall of the cabin?

The Airport Security is such a Pain in the Ass now, they were bad before, now they are worse.

Luckily though before I left home on my trip, I took my knife and other sharp objects out of my purse.

I had to fly out of Minneapolis MN, last December. (I took a road trip with my Sister-In-Law, to move her from MD, to MN) I guess because I had a one-way ticket to Baltimore, they searched my Suitcase, looking at everything, and my Carry-On, looking at everything. I like my stuff packed a certain way - because I pack so that everthing fits right, and they just put stuff back, however they feel like. I was physically searched with a wand, my coat, I had to take my hair down from being up in a barrette - I have long hair and there could be a weapon hidden in it. I had to take off my boots, I am wearing Sketchers / Hi-Top Lace Up Ankle Boots that are impossible to get in and out of, but because it had just snowed a week previous, I thought they were a good choice, anyway they checked my Boots - for a Bomb, I suppose.

This wasn’t a direct flight to Baltimore, no I had a connection in Atlanta and had to go through the whole process again, except no Suitcase. I was so pissed off, going through the searches like I’m a terrorist.

I didn’t go through all this B.S. when I went to Illinois for my father’s funeral, and that was 3 months after 9/11.

I think Security likes to piss people off all in the name of Safety, I think they have become overzealous - Hello I am not Middle-Eastern - I am an American, White, Female in my 30’s, US Navy Veteran, and I live in DE - have a DE Driver’s License - not a Resident Alien, or have a Green Card, they are no hot-beds of terrorist cells in DE, at least I know of.

I hope I will never have to fly anywhere, if I got to go through all the B.S. I had to go through the last time I flew.

Maybe I’m jaded because I’ve likely flown more than 99.9% of the people I’ve met, but I actually think the airport security practices have improved overall since the TSA took over. Both in terms of politeness and efficiency. Or maybe I’m so much more used to it I don’t notice it as much.

I don’t understand how so many people bring so many items which can be confiscated to airports. Everyone makes mistakes or forgets, I’m not slagging on that. But apparently a very large portion of the population does forget, and this causes a lot of woe.

Even when I was flying every week, each trip I did the same thing. Laid out all the contents of my purse, pockets, bags, carry bag, checked bag, etc. out on the floor. Checked every single pocket of every single bag. Then packed everything in, carefully, making sure nothing would be setting off alarms. All electronic and metal items go right on the outside where they can get easy access to them. Anything I will carry in my pockets, on my person, or in my little black handbag is checked and laid on the table, so I can grab and go.

It’s a good habit and practice to get into, and it really makes life easier when travelling. Especially when one of my extra carry-on bags doubled as a second “range bag” for the shooting range. :eek:

I think the superglue qualifies as a “volatile chemical”, and it is nasty stuff. Think about a person grabbing a flight attendent and threatening to coat her corneas with it. Yeah, it’s silly, but not 100% silly, and that’s the problem. I could also take a bottle of Anais Anais and blind someone with it too, but the effect would not be as nasty.

Also, superglue (I think all cyanoacrylate glues) has a metal tube that likely didn’t like scanning well. So maybe they just said “Fuck it, don’t want to bother with it.”

Just my 2p.

Argh. Forgetting.

I was very careful last month when boarding my flight to return from New York to Montreal. I went through all my stuff, put all the stuff in my pockets in one pocket of my bag. I don’t carry a knife or nail file or anything like that anyway. So I was all smart, and all ready to go through the checkpoint.

It beeped.

my stupid, fucking, chain-link pride necklace I bought in Greenwich Village.

I offered to take it off and go back through the scanner, but they insisted in having me sit down and going over me with the wand. At least we were well in advance of our flight.

I did that also, checked / made sure I wasn’t taking any prohibited items, I am was fine - my husband Tranquilis printed out the list of items prohibited.

I went to check my suitcase in, and I was singled-out / throughout the entire trip, having myself, suitcase and my Carry-on searched like I was a common criminal/terrorist, yes, I took offense. Probably shouldn’t have, but the first time I was searched, they could have made an entry in a computer - saying this person checks out, no need to check her. But no, ultimately pissing me off, making the trip more F’ed up than it was.
I couldn’t wait to be done travelling and get done.

Some glues (and similar rubber cements) are highy flammable as well.

Don’t they still recommend you arrive hella early for your flight for this exact reason?

I wish they would limit the list of officially banned items to things that actually are dangerous. I think they should allow miniature jack knives, nail sissors, nail clippers, embroidery sissors, small folding sissors, and, for that matter, superglue. Confiscating these essentially harmless items serves no legitimate purpose that I can see.

People often justify these policies by suggesting that someone might grab a stewardess, imobilize her, press a pair of nail sissors to her throat, and threaten to kill her. Okay – but couldn’t a terrorist or criminal just as easily do the some thing without the nail sissors? He could threaten to break her neck. Or he could get her in the sort of choakhold some police departments ban the use of, and threaten to strangle her. So what good does it do to ban nail sissors?

Also, IMO, the Sept. 11 highjackings were an “only works once” event. It will never work again. If a handful of guys with box cutters, mini jack knives, or whatever, ever again try to highjack a plane, the passengers and crew will respond just as did the people on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. They’ll assume that the objective is to crash the plane into the White House or the Empire State Building or something. They’ll think, we’re doomed either way, let’s save whoever they’re targeting. The terrorists of the world know this, and are no doubt planning completely different acts of terrorism for the future.

Banning embroider sissors, checking people’s shoes, etc., is a case of locking the barn door after the horse is stolen. I think the real purpose of these symbolic actions is to create the apearence that “something is being done” – nevermind that the “something” is completely ineffective.

It reminds me of the corporate reaction to the Tylenol poisonings. They came up with “tamper resistant” packaging. This not only served to create the impression that “something was being done,” it also served to strongly imply that if there’s poison in their product, it must be because someone “tampered” with it – after it left the factory.

It’s probably worth noting here that John Walker Lindh is white (“the American Taliban”) and that the “shoe bomber”, Richard Reid, is black. And let’s not forget that there have been Palestinian and Iranian female suicide bombers. So judging just on race/gender would be extremely foolish for the airlines. They’re also checking for that stuff in case you’re not a terrorist, but just plain psycho/tend to flip out when drunk/run into your ex on the plane and snap/etc., or for the usual bad stuff like smuggled drugs. And of course, this past week there was the case of a little boy who’d been given a teddy bear as a present at an Orlando hotel, and it came up with a gun inside at the airport. So screen kids too; I know there are parents out there who’d consider planting stuff (drugs, whatever) on their kids if they knew kids wouldn’t be screened.

Sure, some places need to get their act together on how they screen, but I don’t have a problem with them screening just anybody. I’m a white female in her 30s, and when I took my last flight - business trip out of Chicago in February - I wore shoes that were easy to get in/out of, checked what metal stuff I had on me, and hoped that I hadn’t forgotten anything. On my way back, I had boots on, so I took them off in the line while waiting for security.

Also, airport type security procedures are not confined to airports. You’re apt to encounter them when entering government buildings of all sorts. Just being careful to leave all your small sharp items at home when flying is not enough. If you’re found to have a mini jack knife or whatever when entering a government building, it will be confiscated, and NOT returned to you when you leave. Returning to your parked car and leaving the item there is not an option if you didn’t arrive by car (and you probably didn’t, in a place like Manhattan). The guards may suggest that you take it outside and hide it somewhere. Right. If you think it will still be there when you return for it, I’ve got this big bridge I’m trying to sell… In buildings, it beats me why they can’t just let people check their small sharp items.

I hope you’re correct, but I think as time passes, people will get lazy and complacent. I’ve already heard some people spout off that “You know the next hijacking will be real, and not a suicide pact, because they’ll take great effort to convince people that they really don’t want to crash the plane.”, and “I’m not getting out of my seat - what if it is just a hijacking? Making the twitchy terrorists panic would just kill us all anyhow.”, etc, etc. Same old bullshit as people try to convince themselves that they can get through life with No Risk and No Effort.

Having been through security a myriad of times, and being an engineer, I can come up with (and have) many ways to sneak weapons - even metal ones - onto a plane. NO, I HAVE NEVER DONE SUCH, NEVER ADVOCATED SUCH, AND WILL NOT POST HOW. But the holes are still there, they are obvious, and they aren’t stopping anyone who really wanted to bring items on.

On the gun in the teddy bear incident - didn’t that sound phoney to anyone else at all? Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the situation - I know damn well that if you or I tried to bring a stuffed animal on a plane that had a gun in it, regardless of our “shock and horror at the discovery of it” (“USA Today”), we’d be in jail right now trying to scrounge up $100,000 for bail.

I travel (usually) with a service dog.

Dogs have harnesses.

Legally, these people shouldn’t be allowed to handle my dog.

They do, however. THEY take guide/service animals through the detectors, inspect them BY HAND, to make sure they’re not hiding any weapons. Harnesses have metal bars that set off the detectors.

My current dog(s) in training are fine… but I remember a Malinois I was working with a while ago. She would have bitten their fuckin’ hands off for taking her away from me.

It kind of reminds me of what you’re saying, about the chap and the wheelchair. I mean… shit, will they do that to paraplegics too? I can’t help but be reminded of Callahan, the cartoonist who is a quadraplegic, whose autobiography is called “Don’t worry: he won’t get far on foot.”


According to the official list of what is permitted/forbidden, nail clippers and any scissors with blunt tips are just fine, even for carry-on luggage. Knives and pointed-tipped scissors have to be checked. Anything that’s a flammable chemical isn’t allowed at all, even when checked.

I’ve been lucky enough not to encounter any major hassles (in 40-odd flights since September 11th, I’ve been pulled for extra screening once, and it wasn’t a big deal), but I do not understand why the screening process seems to change every week and with every airport. If I have to take my sneakers off and put them through the x-ray machine in Raleigh, why don’t I have to do the same thing in Baltimore? It’s really hard to believe all the proceedures are effective or necessary when none of them are consistent.