Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not Even 1% Fun

The old expression about traveling "getting there is half the fun". If ever there was anything so far removed from the truth, it is that statement.

I decided to go away for Christmas. I never said before, but my son has been away doing volunteer work for the past three months. There is also lots of feuding in my family. Had a lovely time visiting friends in the South West of the U.S. Had a delicious traditional Mexican Christmas meal.

The day after I arrived the failed bomb plot occurred. Yeah you know the one. The guy paid cash for a one way ticket to the U.S., his only luggage being explosives stuffed in his crotch. His father had warned authorities about his radical beliefs, he was on a watch list etc. etc. A dozen red flags.

My nice trip marred by 24/7 reporting of new airport security. There I was, already so tired from my trip down; that I couldn't even imagine what further annoyances could be put in place to make air travel even more irritating.

Every trip the flying experience gets worse. There is no communication between the various entities that are needed to get me and my fellow passengers off the ground. Every airport has their own rules, which seem to change with every flight.

All the billions spent on warfare, on intelligence, on security, yet still these evil fanatics can figure out ways to terrorize us. The only reason we got lucky this time is due to the fact that this nut was inept. Yeah lucky us.

So there I was getting ready to come back home. Glad that I only had a suitcase and my purse to take with me, albeit a very large purse. The media had said that no carry on bags would be permitted. Then the story changed to only one piece of carry on luggage. You would not be allowed to have anything in your lap, you would not be allowed to get up from your seat one hour before landing(great news for the incontinent) No liquids of any kind would be permitted. There would be thorough body searches.

I packed my bag, thought twice about having a small bottle of hand sanitizer and my lip gloss on me. Decided to go ahead and include them as these items are not sold in any airports. You can buy booze, cigarettes, perfume, fancy bags, and overpriced souvenirs, yet the only lip balm I have ever seen in an airport is the cheap, waxy, medicinal brand. Oh yeah you can also buy $4.00 bottles of water because you can't bring your own eco friendly water bottle with you.

Forget about me hiding this stuff in my panties. For some reason I am always the one who gets the pat down and the wand treatment when I go through security. I also get the third degree from immigration: Why am I visiting the U.S.? Who am I visiting? Where do I know these people from? What is their address? How long am I staying? (Hey you yelled at me to see my itinerary, check it out) Yeah, they shake down old ladies and let the bad guys sail through. And why don't the airports have any hand sanitizer? Everywhere you go now malls, offices, there are huge courtesy bottles of it, yet not at the airports.

Things went very smoothly at the El Paso airport. They had the same vigorous security in place, only this time I went through with no body search. Carry on bags? People had the usual ton of stuff. They did pull random people from the line to search them prior to boarding. That was the only difference I saw. Procedures on the airplane were the same as always. There were no restrictions on moving about the cabin at anytime, except when the seat belt sign was on. You could use your laptop, snooze with a blanket, and use the bathroom as much as you wanted.

At Houston I can't say what new measures they had in place, as I was already cleared and was just passing through for my connecting flight.

I can't say what security would work to keep us safe. Yes it's true that if a person has evil on their mind they will figure out a way, however, this time we really were asleep at the wheel.

I don't mind the delay for extra security. I appreciate that they are trying to keep us safe. I am baffled that in this so called information age, a bungler like this guy, who did a dozen suspicious things, could get on a plane and try to blow it up.

Air travel is already so difficult what with flight delays, unannounced gate changes, missed connecting flights, bad expensive food, gross bathrooms, crying babies, and lines, constant waiting in lines.

Instead of hassling innocent travelers, let's by all means have effective security.

Oh yeah and I had to pay $20 to check my bag!


Rei said...

There are a ton of reasons why I don't fly, and you just named quite a few of them. The "security" in place at airports is full of more holes than Swiss cheese and nobody is any safer because of it.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I too seem to banner-like display the "search me! search me!" sign. I have been pulled from a plane to have my carry on searched, because I missed my first fly due to traffic, was traveling one-way and had upgraded for the flight change with cash. Let's not profile based on statistical analysis and likelihood of act-let's nab the elderly, the infirmed, the female, and those with bottles of hand sanitizer and lotion...ugh.