I have been asked to comment on security at airports after the underwearbomber dropped his drawers over Detroit on Christmas day. As of this date I have experienced the rigors of the TSA at LAX and Washington, Dulles and the “je ne sais quois” at Charles de Gaulle in Pairs. Here’s the report:
In the US they have slowed down the exray machines and are taking a second look at many bags thus making the lines a tad longer. I think they don’t tell us, but the scanners you walk through have a number of settings and if there is an “alert” they crank em up a bit so that if you have fillings in your teeth, you set them off. They are cranked up now, thus catching a few more grannies and eight year old girls with too many barrettes in their hair.
Folks seem to be handling the problem with the traveler’s normal good humor. I noticed only a couple of melt downs and in some cases, people were allowed to jump the line if they were close to take off.
I’m in the UK today and will be returning to the US tomorrow. The real test will be at Gatwick when I attempt to board a Delta flight to Atlanta. My understanding is that the real strip search will take place when I try to board a US airline leaving from a foreign port.
There is one saving grace for me, however – Because I have been traveling a lot in the past year, Delta has graced me with Gold Elite Frequent Flyer status. This allows me, amongst other things, to use the “First Class” line and although the screeners are no more efficient, the line is shorter and so is the wait.
Generally, speaking to a number of people who have been flying around the states since Christmas, little difference in real security…a tad more arm waving and presence of sniffer dogs, but they are sort of fun to watch anyway.
Keep you good humor, don’t carry liquids on the plane (if you must, buy your quart of Chanel or Canoe at your destination) and try not to get behind a group of families. You will be fine.
Oh, I noticed something the last time in Atlanta. They have a “special” line for frequent travelers. If you fly more than six times a year, there is a line just for you. They don’t tell you about it, and it’s sort of down a hall and around the corner, but it’s really fast. Frequent flyers know and keep the secret. Road warriors know what to carry, how to get their laptop out in record time, and most wear slip on shoes. The line moves like clockwork. Of course there is always someone who didn’t get the memo…Last time through TSA had an eighty year old woman who had done everything perfectly up against the wall with the hand scanners – seems she had the audacity to travel with her hip implants.