Aargh! (A cry of frustration and distress)
Or subtitled, We Need a New Resource for the Travel Challenged
I am sure you’re familiar with the series ‘”for Dummies. There seems to be one for every topic. Of course, they don’t really mean that you’re a dummy if you don’t know something…you’re just ignorant. Happily, ignorance is a fixable problem. Which brings me to the subject of my, (not), favorite fellow travelers – those who have no idea what they’re doing in the airport other than getting on a plane.
If there isn’t one already, there should definitely be a book called “Airport Procedures for Dummies.”
The need for this tome does not arise simply because there are plenty of people out there who don’t travel often. It is easy to understand why these people cause so many delays. They are simply unprepared. The book I am suggesting could really be a service to them.
The fault lies with TSA and the airlines themselves. Both could make life easier for all of us!
Let’s start with TSA. Wouldn’t it be novel if TSA procedures and rules were consistent throughout the US? When is an iPad a computer and when is it not? In some airports it is a computer and you need to take it out. But not always!
Then, today, I am standing in a line waiting to push my carry-on through the security scanner, but we’re held up…for quite a while, just standing there, waiting. Finally the cause of the delay is revealed…back, to be rescanned, comes a duffle bag, now empty of the 8 and 12 oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner, etc. that were not properly stored 3-1-1. Silly me! I thought the the “rule” for this was confiscation and disposal. I was wrong. The large bottles are simply removed from the offending carry-on, placed in a gray bin and run through the scanner again. I didn’t know that the scanner could detect materials that could be used in bombs…did you? Or is that not the reason we have to travel with hotel-bathroom-sized toiletries?
It is my understanding that the security area arrangement is an airline responsibility, but if it is not, then this criticism can just as easily be placed on the shoulders of TSA. In Europe, once your boarding pass and ID are checked you go to some tables where you pick up a gray bin or two and empty your pockets. You remove your shoes, pull out your 3-1-1 bag and your computer. You remove your belt and your jacket, pat all your pockets a couple of extra times, and THEN, you get in line for the scanner. In other words, you do not hold up the entire line doing all those things, at your own, clueless pace. People line up for the scanner and place their items on the scanner belt already in the proper bins, etc., when they are ready. Here in the US we insist upon having a single linear flow through security so that the ill-prepared can hold everyone up (Was this designed by a male person? They are notoriously linear!) It is no surprise to me that travelers can get pretty testy going through security.
I am venting today because I was spurned from the pre-check line for the nth time in a row. Sure! It’s random!
Calculate the statistical probability that “random” happens to the same person even 5 times in a row … Right. It COULD happen, but it is about as likely as my winning the lottery. So stop telling me it’s random! I need to solve this problem. Baaaa. Baaaa. (That’s me making like a docile sheep, which is what we should all strive to be…)
Back to the reason for my rant….I am in the regular security line behind not one, but two, families traveling with myriad little children! Remember, once upon a time, they had a line for frequent travelers and a line for families with children and other people who needed more time? Apparently, we’re all going to suffer equally now.
Hence, my “Aargh”!