Tag: TSA

Thoughts From An Infrequent Flyer

I am not one that does a lot of travel and I could probably count on two hands how many times I have flown. On my recent travel, I had to fly and I don’t know how some people do it all the time and keep their sanity.

Here are some observations I have about it:

  • Why don’t they board planes from back to front? I know that first class and priority members should get privileges but what good does it do for them to get on the plane first? Why get on first and then have people file by you bumping you with their luggage and waiting for everyone else to board? Boarding first doesn’t make the plane takeoff any faster. Wouldn’t it be MORE of a perk to board the plane last and comfortably get into your first class seat without having to mingle with the riff-raff? And if you get on last, you would be able to get off of the plane first. Airlines need to change this boarding procedure. If you board from the back to the front they could get everyone onboard quicker and takeoff sooner.
  • Why do people immediately jump up when the plane rolls to a stop? Every time I have flown I notice that the second the pilot turns off the seat belt sign that people race to jump up to get their things and stand in the aisle to get off the plane. Then they just stand there impatiently as the crew goes through their procedures to prepare the plan for de-boarding. I think the reason is impatience. People want to get their crap and get off the plane. If I were the airlines I would keep everyone’s seatbelt locked and then release them by rows when it is time to de-board.
  • What’s up with gigantic carry-on luggage? I stood in line and I know that most of these folks exceeded the limits for carry-on. Because most airlines charge for checked baggage people are doing what they can to fit everything in their carry-on. People also don’t want to wait at baggage claim or worry about losing their luggage. I don’t know if people have noticed but the overhead bins have gotten smaller while carry-on luggage has gotten larger.
  • The airlines aren’t helping matters by charging for checked bags. This only encourages people to push the limits with their carry-on. I think airlines should let you check one bag free and then charge for additional checked bags. I think the desire to make more money has clouded their judgment on how to deal with this issue. I noticed that on my last flight that gate attendants were checking bags because overhead bins were already full.
  • Isn’t there a better way to get through this TSA lines without having to almost undress? Okay, this is ridiculous. I’m not hating on TSA agents because most are incredibly patient and just doing their jobs but isn’t there a better way to get through this extremely stressful obstacle course? With all the technology, do we really have to remove our belts and shoes? Good grief, what’s going to happen if some fool puts explosives in their underwear? I won’t fly anymore. I already struggle holding onto my pants without my belt and then I STILL have to raise my hands? Come on, fix this!

Flying is not fun and I’m glad I don’t have to do it much. When my wife and I visited Europe last year we were amazed at their train systems and wished we had trains here. Trains were so much easier to travel and cheaper than flying is here. We learned to master the trains there but I doubt I could ever master air travel here.

I salute those of you who fly for business or leisure. I don’t know how you do it without therapy.

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Flying Rookie, TSA Garth Brooks Quiz and the Atlanta Airport

It has been a long time since I have flown on a plane. The best I can recall, I haven’t flown since 9/11. As I am writing this blog, I am sitting in a terminal in the Atlanta Airport awaiting a flight. I would have to say that the most stressful part so far has been getting through TSA security. I know they have reasons for why we have to take off our belts and shoes. In fact, I would like that shoe bomber who caused this to be beat with shoes every time someone has to deal with going through airport security. Going through security is a lot like going through the line at the Varsity. A person is herded through the line. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I took off as much as I could hoping to avoid being yelled at by the officer or enticing the ire of the passenger behind me. It was quite a disruptive experience.

When I finally got the necessary things in the buckets to run through the machines, I stepped into the chamber. I didn’t know where to face or where to put my hands and feet. Of course, there is a sign on the machine but I’m turning every which we like I am doing the Macarena. When I finally passed that obstacle, I then anxiously awaited my belongings. My shirt I was wearing came out in someone else’s bucket and then came my belt. I hastily tried to get my belt on while watching for my other things. My shoes and other items rolled out. I tried to slip my shoes on but had one on and one off. I limped over to the side so I could re-dress again.

Whew!

I checked everything to make sure I was put back together. It’s almost like packing again.

I’m sure these TSA folks have seen it all. I would imagine watching video footage of people going through the security lines are quite entertaining. They have an important job in keeping us safe but the belt and shoes? Can’t they make technology where we don’t have to hold onto our pants and hop around with our shoes half-on and half-off?

My TSA person asked me a rather random question about Garth Brooks. Sudden panic! I didn’t know this was going to be on the test. I hadn’t studied anything about Garth Brooks. What does this have to do with security? Panic ensued.

“You listen to country music don’t you?” He asked.

“What?”

Oh great, I wasn’t read for this question. If this was part of it then I knew I wasn’t going to get to the other side.

“Sorry, I know some songs but I really don’t know a lot about Garth Brooks,” I answered in shame.

He laughed and let me through.

Whew!

I need to study that for next time.

The flight to Atlanta was short. Maybe 30 minutes total. We were preparing to land about the time we got up in the air. I was still playing with the neat screen in front of me. I didn’t want to get off.

The seat in front of me had a 9″ flat screen with choices of movies, games and music. The last time I flew, there was one TV tube overhead that you had to strain to watch through the openings in the seats ahead of you. It’s a lot different now.

Then there’s the Atlanta airport.

I have been to the Atlanta airport more in my lifetime than any other airport. It was big before but now it’s HUGE. I commented that it was like a mall but it’s more like it’s own city. In some ways it is a city but the residents aren’t permanent ones. The population changes every day. Of course, the word still hasn’t reached the vendors that prices aren’t as high for the items they are selling. I paid $7.00 for a bag of combos and a PowerAde. Okay, I guess that’s my lunch.

Yeah, I haven’t flown in a while. It’s a lot different now. I’m still not sure I want to do it much but so far I’m okay with it.