Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Experience in Flying

We travelled by air today for the first time since the Christmas terrorist attempt. It was an interesting experience.

We were at the airport a full two hours before our flight was due to leave. Usually this guarantees us a quick processing through the check in counter. Not so today. The line-ups were long and slow moving. An airline employee regularly patrolled the lineup telling people that they were not allowed any carry-on luggage except for small purses and/or computer case. That sent lots of people into a tizzy, not wanting to part with their small carry-on size luggage and checking it. (The following pictures were taken with my Blackberry because my camera was in my checked luggage).

Elly had the princess seat on top of our stack of three large suitcases.

Meanwhile, Max and Charlie entertained themselves with games on their new ipod clutches - a very wise investment by Santa.

When we finally got our luggage checked and boarding passes approved, we were told we'd have to turn off our cell phones before heading through security. Fine, but they didn't tell us we could turn them on again once we were in the boarding area. Many of us did anyway.

Going through security was an adventure. Shoes and jackets off, of course, and scanned. Since we weren't allowed carry-on luggage you'd think it'd be a quick process to get through security. Not so. They hand checked every purse that went through - they opened and inspected my daily doses of vitamins and supplements, and opened up each compartment in my purse and wallet. Nothing went untouched. That wasn't too bad if you don't mind a bit of invasion of privacy. And I can understand the extra vigilance (can you say paranoia) in light of the latest terrorist threat. But did they really need to wake up the little 2-year old Elly, lift her out of her stroller and pat her down??? Really??? Every single passenger was treated to a pat down. I wish I had the nerve to take pictures of it. I went through ahead of Sara, Quincey and the kids and had a ringside seat to the kids being checked. It was so cute. The security guards were very nice to the kids, joking with them and making them laugh, all the while making sure they weren't smuggling contraband on their small persons. Luckily, they thought it was an adventure too.

We'll be going through the same process nine days from now, but at least we'll be prepared for it. My advice to you is, if you're excessively ticklish or modest, try taking a train or driving to your next vacation destination.

And that's how I see it.


Anonymous said...

Makes driving a tempting alternative. The time being processed, flying, and baggage and transportation at the other is equivalent to driving halfway there.

Mickey said...

And I just think all this security is all so unnecessary and targeting the wrong people. And didn't he carry it in his crotch? How do they check there? And checking the children so silly too.
But guess you can't complain as it just makes it worse. Maybe the body scans that they may be implementing will be better. I would rather have that than being touched all over by a stranger. Do you think this is happening on domestic flights as well? Can you carry a camera? (-20 here now BTW) Guess it was all worth it to relax in the sun!

sara said...

Mickey - yes, they checked crotches. And yes, you can have your camera in a SMALL big carry ons. They said "just the essentials" in your purse (definitely no backpacks), but my small camera in my purse got through fine.

Mickey said...

Definitely not an easy time for travellers.

Kath said...

Oh dear!! What extra work for all those employees. Extra dollars that we have to spend to compensate them all.