Airline Security: I’ve Got A Plan, Game Show!

July 15, 2009 at 8:04 am 57 comments

TSA I hear a lot of complaints about the TSA checkpoints at airports, but I figure they must know more than I do about what is a terrorist threat and what isn’t, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. I fly a lot, and while it’s an annoyance to reconfigure my carry-on and my clothing to pass through security with the least amount of hassle, I’m happy to do it. I figure they’ve got my back.

Besides, I have a plan. And I’m harmless.

Before I get to “security” I take my phone out of my pocket and put it in my purse. My belt comes off and goes in there too. Ditto with a scarf and any lightweight clothing (fleece, sweater, etc.)  I might happen to have on because by time you get to the metal detector you’re only allowed to wear stuff they can’t ask you to take off in public.

Removing as much as you can before you ever get to “the line” is a stress reducer. I locate my plastic bag and throw in my lipstick, the one thing I carry on that qualifies as a liquid or gel. (Actually, I’ve heard lipstick doesn’t count as anything potentially dangerous any more, so I suppose I could actually leave that in my purse. But I am NOT tempting fate for a tube of Cherry Blush that I’ve been toting around for 18 months past the time they stopped making that shade. Talk about irreplaceable!)

Boarding pass and driver’s license in hand,  I approach the podium. Smile. This has to be the worst job in all of Screenerdom. Talk about boring. The only perk is a chair, and the nifty light they get to shine on your license. Fifty per cent of the person’s job is redundant. They have to check the boarding pass against the driver’s license and  then somebody else farther down the line has to check the boarding pass AGAIN.

Immediately after the podium, my drivers license and my boarding pass go in my back pocket. I’ve accidentally sent the boarding pass through on the conveyor belt far too many times to make that mistake again. Just so you know, this really gums up the works because they can’t let you pass through the metal detector without a boarding pass. And you cant’ retrieve the boarding pass yourself because it’s already on the “other side.”  Somebody has to get it for you and for that to happen you need to communicate its location in a loud voice the screener 25 feet away while everybody is listening to how stupid you are because you can’t quite remember where exactly you put it.

So tuck it in your pants pocket. Handy, but not in your hands, as you’ll need those for other things. Here are my other tips:

Know Your Bin Requirements
I’m a 3 for most seasons and a 4 during the winter. I need one for my laptop, one for my digital projector, and finally one for my shoes, lipstick, and light jacket. If I have to wear a coat, it covers the shoes/plastic lipstick bag, and that’s not permissible, so I up my bin usage by one. In some places that want to look at digital cameras and camcorders, add another bin.

Define Your Goals
As I see it you’ve got three major goals and don’t get your heart set on achieving all three.
1. The least amount of time spent in your stocking feet walking on a surface that has already seen a billion toes (socked and barefooted) before your tootsies ever came out of your shoes.
2. The fastest re-assembly of your personal possessions into the jig saw puzzle that is your luggage.
3. The security of your high value items strewn amongst total strangers from one end of the security line to the other while you are otherwise distracted. I have seen people mistake someone else’s laptop for theirs, that’s why I put that lovely scratch on mine by dropping it against a cement wall. (Stickers with your name on it work too.)

Personally, while the floor thing really creeps me out, I concentrate on the fastest re-assembly which actually minimizes “floor time” and decreases the time my valuables are up for grabs.

Establish the Order of Extraction
I’ve got a rollerbag, a large computer bag/purse that sits on top of it. And, I’ve got 5 things to locate, remove, and throw in my bins while the line and me are moving. This means I have to roll my bag as I dig around for things and remove them while pushing my 3 bins along, cafeteria style. Here’s my preferred order of extraction:  coat, lipstick, laptop, projector, and finally shoes.

Establish Bin Order
Here’s where my plan shines. Remember that the first IN the x-ray machine is the first OUT. Also remember that the longer your stuff stays in the bins on the other side the greater the chance that they could fall off the conveyor belt, the more real estate you have to control, and the more other passengers hate you for taking so much time to put all your stuff away. Bin order trumps all. And remember, bin order has nothing to do with order of extraction. Here’s how I do it:
Step #1: Coat and lipstick in 1st bin.
Step #2: Projector and laptop in the next two bins.
Step #3: Remove purse from top of rollerbag and SEND THE ROLLER BAG THROUGH FIRST! This really pays off at the other end as I have something to set my purse/computer bag on to re-assemble.
Step #4: Purse goes next. Just hold back the bins and ignore the eye-rolling of the other passengers.
Step #5: Whip off your shoes at the very last minute and throw them in the first bin with the lipstick and coat and send those puppies through.
Step #6: While standing on your tiptoes, try to either place your stocking feet somewhere nobody else has ever thought of standing or dance around as if  the floor were hot coals while you push through the last two bins (laptop and projector).
Step #7: Grab your boarding pass from your back pocket and, when permission is given, smile and boogie through the metal detector.

Reconbobulation AreaOn the Other Side
Heave the rollerbag off the conveyor belt and throw it on ground. Jam the purse on top. Grab your shoes and try not to think of where your feet have been as you wedge your feet back into them and put your jacket back on. Throw the lipstick anywhere in the purse; you’ll find it later. Snag the laptop and projector and cram those into your purse and roll your way out of security to find your phone and belt. With practice the entire process can resemble a ballet, or controlled chaos.

This picture was taken at the Milwaukee airport by Norma B. of West Bend, WI who carries a camera and knows how to use it! (Well done, Norma!)

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Here’s the really cool part. Would this not make the best reality/game show? Contestants compete in teams, with each player going through security with a different set of liabilities, selected at random from common categories: Clothing, Electronics, Luggage,  Questionable Materials, and a Wild Card.

OK, so let’s say the first contestant has to wear a wet suit and carry a camcorder, backpack, insulin supplies, and a screaming baby. Pitted against them is the second contestant wearing a hooded down parka and snow shoes, carrying a CB radio, steamer trunk, breast milk, and crutches. And so it goes. Each foray through security is timed. The team with the best all-around time actually gets to fly to some cool vacation spot.

Or, this could be played like the “reality” talent shows that spans an entire television season with the same contestants each week receiving increasingly more difficult challenges to carry through security while celebrity judges eliminate the less organized at the end of each show. Taping would take place in a different airport each week  to take advantage of the quaint regional rule interpretations.  Losers have to walk home. The Bonus Round could be played in another country where the security people don’t speak English!

Remember, you heard it here first.

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PS: Just ordered a TSA-freindly bag. Now my laptop can stay in the bag during screening. That’s one less bin!  Plus it’s on sale and then I used a coupon code for 50% off of the sale price! Hurry! Offer ends Friday (7-17-09) at midnight. For details, see my “other” blog: Find A Quilt Teacher

Entry filed under: Miscellaneous Musings.

Picture Play Quilts Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilt Challenge

57 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ssk  |  July 15, 2009 at 8:31 am

    and people wonder why I don’t want to fly…..Holy moly! I was exhausted just reading that! I suppose though, if you do travel a lot, it really is necessary to get that organized. I prefer a car … now, if I could just figure out how to drive to Australia from New England… :o)

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    • 2. Irene  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

      Oh, Ami,

      I hear you about the foot-thing… I always wear socks, no matter how hot the day, and slip-on shoes, sandals, or boots – I can always put the socks in a bag when I’ve passed through security.

      I almost always wear a comfortable dress or skirt while traveling (no clothes on the bathroom floors), but this last time, in Lansing of all places, I was pulled aside after getting through the security gate with no beeps, and told I’d be patted down on my legs – Did I have any sensitive areas?!!! Well, yeaaahhh. “Only on the outside” she said! “Go ahead – what’s this all about?” “Heightened security.” Ooookaaay… “Is this because I’m wearing a skirt?” “Yes” she said. Hmmmm – imagine all of the plastic bombs I could have had strapped to my 65 year-old legs – and me with a brand-new haircut to sexy-up my totally grey mop.

      NOW, don’t all of YOU feel safer? Guilty until proven innocent.

      Hey – at least we can have tiny scissors and knitting needles again – that’s a Good Thing.

      I still love flying – easiest way for me to defy gravity these days!

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  • 3. sharon  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I enjoyed the good laugh to start my day.
    Thanks so much

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  • 4. Debbie  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Oh goodness, all of this is why I discourage my 77 year old mom from flying she could never cope with all of this. I think for the once in a blue moon traveler getting thru the airport is more terrifiing than the actual in the plane flying part.

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  • 5. Carole  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Just ONE of the many reasons my lifestyle doesn’t include flying anywhere. Of course I miss seeing a lot of great places, I know, but I’d rather just buy the DVD! :)

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  • 6. Rae Linda  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Oh! Ami. you are so hilarious! Thanks so much for the giggles. I happened to log on just prior to loading my car to drive to St. Louis Lambert Field to put our 12 year old grandson on a flight home to Houston. The weather is crappy and I am dreading the complete ordeal of driving 140 miles to accomplish my misson. I really needed the release. Thank you so much for all the joy you bring to my life!

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  • 7. Sarah  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Wow, they let you take pictures? We tried once when we were traveling with family and the security people yelled at us for taking pictures. told us that it was against regulations to take pictures of any security checkpoint at airports. Please do I look like I could be a terrorist? I’m 5′ tall and almost as wide and I was carrying a sewing bag with to make yo-yo’s on the plane. They had just inspected my scissors to make sure they were allowed.

    I asked. He said “no” and winked. I said it was for my blog and I didn’t want to get in trouble. He said to go ahead and then he would yell at me not to take pictures. So I did. But he didn’t. :)

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  • 8. Hilary N.  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Wow! That was great!!! I forwarded it to my husband (a flt. attendant for a major airline). He is always overseas and I thought he could use a good story about how to get through fast…

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  • 9. Trish Lapp  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:25 am

    That was funny Ami! Getting ready to put my son on his first flight tomorrow morning to fly to LA. I should have him read this before he goes.
    I always enjoy your blog entries. You sure start my day with a laugh!
    Hugs, Trish

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  • 10. Sue Atteberry  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Ami, love the way your mind works girl!!!

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  • 11. silvia  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:36 am

    that is why I stopped flying, no place worth all that annoyance.

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  • 12. Deb Sims  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Yep, Ami, you’ve got it right. I’m heading to Quilting by the Lake this weekend and will be doing the security line dance. I try to keep it as simple as possible, plan ahead with the plastic bag and questionable liquids and not think about what my feet are touching while I boogie through the check point. And, like you, I try to be cheerful because they do have my back and if you complain enough they will single you out to do a full body search and really make the whole experience miserable! I expect this flight to be a pain because I bought my ticket late and that is a red flag. Oh well.

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  • 13. lllynnda  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:46 am

    just like the person ahead of me, my comments is the same. I had to go lie down after reading ‘how to fly’. And, as funny as it may sound, my thoughts were exactly the same. I guess Australia by car is out of the question. At least by car I have only my husband to deal with, not some strange security guy, Although when I think of it, my husband can be pretty strange too, but he doesn’t make me take off my shoes. At least not to pack the car. We have traveled from Montreal to Vancouver twice by car and I would do it again in a flash.

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  • 14. ellen harper  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Thank goodness no one ever tried to put a bomb in their bra!

    I’m sure they’re looking for that. And, by the way, they can strip search you, so be nice.

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  • 15. Margie Veon  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I made an “aeropac” free pattern from StudioKat Designs and put boardingpass and drivers license in the pockets and hang around my neck! No hands needed after showing the items and I don’t lose them!! Loved the idea for a reality show much better then the drivel they come up with!!

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  • 16. Daphne Johnston  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I so empathize with you. I recently had a 2 flight connection, and I went to the trouble of pre-screening my knitting needles (I know, I know, I’m first and foremost a quilter, but I don’t do hand piecing, so my hands have to have something to do on a transcontinental flight). I know they are supposed to be allowed, but I didn’t want somebody to get their shorts in a knot, and have all my knitting needles ripped out (I was doing a lacy pattern, so this would have been fairly disastrous for me), so I checked in, but didn’t put my luggage thru until I checked with security. Fortunately, my flight originated in a small airport, so I could do all this easily.

    Wooden needles are fine; metal are not allowed. At least that was the case last time I flew with knitting needles. I couldn’t take pointy scissors, but if the plane were attacked by a vampire my wooden needles would have come in mighty handy.

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  • 17. Sandy  |  July 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

    My son works for TSA in St. Louis and I’m sending this on to him. He will love it. The stories he tells! Today he is wearing a long-sleeve uniform and walking around Lambert making sure all those in town for the All-Star game get out of town safely. All TSA are required to wear their long-sleeved uniforms today because the big boss wants them to look nice. How fortunate that is only in the 80s not 100s!

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  • 18. Linda Hammontree  |  July 15, 2009 at 10:05 am

    I wear a pair of soft sole mocassins thru security. No feet on floor!! Only once have I had to remove them. I use a backpack as my “purse”. My purse is in the backpack. Real shoes are stuffed inside the backpack. Another option are hospital shoe covers. They fit neatly in your carryons and slip over bare feet nicely. One airport I went to actually offered the cover ups!! (One time I took a Singer featherweight thru security. Now THAT was fun!!)

    Got you beat. I had a ship’s porthole in my carry on bag once!

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    • 19. Bert in Rice, WA  |  July 26, 2009 at 6:35 pm

      We picked up my husband’s aunt to take her to the airport. She cautioned us to be careful with her carryon bag; it had a roast turkey in it! We figured it would be the week’s biggest source of amusement at the carryon X-ray station.

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  • 20. Pat  |  July 15, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I’d have to throw in one more thing–a service dog puppy in training who has never been to an airport before so doesn’t know how to do all this, but I guess I could leave the projector at home to make up for him. I’ll be chuckling all day picturing your ballet!

    I’ve done the “pupppy in training” routine! They wanted the dog to walk through sans leash. I asked which one of them wanted to chase the dog all over the terminal. We settled on dangling leash so that a firm foot could stop her, and the screener got on her haunches (big mistake) and called, “Here puppy, puppy!” Daisy took off like a shot thinking it was way more fun at the other end of the metal detector than by my side and bounded right into the poor screener knocking her on her butt. Then she attempted to lick her to death.

    Madison got lots of training BEFORE we ever flew together. When screeners patted him down (like what are they feeling for on a naked dog?!) he happily obliged and went “tummy up” for more scratching. One of his best moments was carrying a banana from the plane all the way to the baggage carousel in the smiley position. Never put a mark on it. Cracked up everybody who walked towards us. Good Dog!

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  • 21. Kathy  |  July 15, 2009 at 10:18 am

    You’ve had too much time on your hands standing in line at airports. As always you’ve lightened my day. Have a suggestion.
    Carry a pair of clean socks in your purse and change your socks before putting your shoes on. They have chairs around to sit on for people who need them. That would save the yuck factor of putting those socks into your shoes.

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  • 22. Jeni Overbey  |  July 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

    My boss travels for speaking engagements all over the country – with a laptop, phone and as few additional things as he can manage. Slip on shoes (as opposed to laces) and minimizing what you take with you does help.

    Your game show idea is a hoot! I’d play. I’ll be the pregnant contestant with 2 kids and their crap in addition to my own.

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  • 23. Bev Hovis  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Oh My Gosh! I leave for Salt Lake in 7 hours. NOW, I’m really going to be READY!! I dis-like Security, but hope I’m safe! I blot out all the no shoes part! UGH!
    It would be great as a game show! Don’t forget to add a dog or two! BEV

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  • 24. gbm  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:08 am

    now throw in an artificial elbow which sometimes triggers alarms, bells, whistles and guns drawn and sometimes doesn’t!

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  • 25. Kitty  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:10 am

    No wonder I take so long going through security – I need to get organized! Ami, you really should give some thought to publishing a book for quilters who travel with all your hints and even a few of your mistakes. With your wit and common sense approach, this would be a real winner! I hope I remember these hints the next time I fly.

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  • 26. Kim  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I loved this!!! You have hit the nail on the head with everything! Thankfully I don’t travel much but I have done all of this and more. Two other suggestions – First, I have long hair, NEVER wear a barrette in your hair. They almost ALWAYS set off the metal detector. Braid it that day or wear a pony! Second suggestion, where CROCS when traveling. They are so easy and so quick to slip on and off and they are PLASTIC so nothing about them sets off the xray or anyone’s interest. Happy Flying!!

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  • 27. Sally  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I’ve got a great wild card for you – joint replacements! They set off metal detectors and throw a giant monkey wrench into the works.

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  • 28. Karen  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I also travel quite a bit. Slip on shoes are a MUST. I also put my belt and jewelery in my purse before I leave home and put them on in the ladies room after passing through security. Two less things to remove and lose.

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  • 29. Katina  |  July 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Wetsuit???? I’m still laughing!!!

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  • 30. Karen  |  July 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Lately I’ve flown more than usual, and my one comment is: each airport seems to interpret the rules separately. JFK won’t let you put shoes in a bin anymore; they have to go on the conveyer belt. And for a while, my laptop could stay in the sleeve; now they want it out. I wear little that’s metal, but my husband is like you — take off the belt, watch, etc.

    I’ve never had a problem with knitting needles in this country, metal or wooden. Flown with sock needles many times. Scissors are what I call expendable; I buy kid scissors with rounded points at Staples for $.99 or so, and use them. I’ve never had a problem, but a friend had hers confiscated, even though she had printed out the regulations allowing them. The TSA inspector said it was at his discretion to allow them, and he wouldn’t.

    But flying is no longer fun. If I didn’t have 5 grandchildren on the other side of the country, I wouldn’t fly. Ever. And I do think of the days when you got a menu to choose a meal, and it was served on real plates with metal utensils. Oh well.

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    • 31. Jan  |  July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am

      My Husband is still looking for a wooden belt buckel so he doesn’t have to remove the belt. Poor guy has a round belly and no butt. So when the belt comes off, the pants like to slip to the ankles. Now picture that dance!!

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  • 32. Gayle  |  July 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    My worst experience was in the Louisville KY airport where for some reason they decided to check my bra apparently for underwires, much to the amusement of a number of men who were lined up against a wall watching.

    Last time I flew internationally I apparently angered the ticket agent who had to reroute me in Detroit because of a snowstorm in Philadelphia. Yeah, I don’t know either. Anyway, he requested “special security check” for me which became evident when I was pulled aside and the security person asked me who I had ticked off to deserve this. Then she wanted to see what I was carrying under my shirt, which happened to be the large amount of cash you have to carry when you are travelling to a country which is under trade sanctions and with which we have no banking relationships. She gave it up when I told her we were going to have to proceed to someplace where I could start removing clothing. The look on her face was priceless.

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  • 33. Pam  |  July 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Too funny!!! I travel a couple of times a year and never thought of the extra socks. I will bring those when I go to Seattle in 2 weeks!
    Twin grandsons will be arriving!

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  • 34. Cherie Moore  |  July 15, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Ami, I laughed out loud….what a terrific post. Thank you so much for the fun!

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  • 35. Lynn Flynn in Lovely Zion, IL  |  July 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Now THIS is a reality show I could watch! I say, pitch it to the people who do that NPR program you like. 8-)

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  • 36. Terri Drake  |  July 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I had sent this to Ami earlier and she asked that I post it here – enjoy – Namaste – Terri Drake

    Ami, you had me ROFLOL with your Airport Reality game show. The visual was something else. I like your organization for going through security too. I wear slip on shoes with a thing pair of socks over those I am actually wearing that way when I get through security I just whip those bad boys off and put them in an empty ziplock I carry with me. I put my purse, camera, coat or sweater and small pillow in a large tote bag along with hand cream, hand sanitizer, etc. that are in small zip lock baggy that can be whipped out for security. Belt is coiled up inside shoes along with large buckle. This all works pretty good. The only time I’ve had a problem is when the zipper tag on my pants kept making the alarm go off. I had pockets empty nothing else and one security guard said it was zipper tag but this female godzilla want to do a strip search. I had on a long shirt that belonged to my late hubby, so I pulled that off and then pulled off my pants and told her to “wand this!” They wanded me again no buzz, just the britches at the zipper. I got go ahead and grabbed boots, pants and purse and went running through the airport to get to my plane. Once there was told I couldn’t board, told them I just went through security, they told me I had to put my pants back on before boarding. I forgot I had them off; thank heavens for a long shirt!

    Have a great day – Terri in rainey Ossineke, Michigan waiting for boiler and hotwater heater repairs

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  • 37. Julie Scarponcini  |  July 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Going to be taking our daughter to Hawaii for college next month. First time I will be flying with a CPAP machine. My husband also has one and told me to be prepared for TSA to wipe it down for bomb residue. I have also gained everyone’s attention in the past by another passenger getting in between my husband and myself going through the security line–he had the tickets and boarding passes. One agent hollered very loudly for all agents within the sound of her voice to KEEP AN EYE ON THIS WOMAN–pointing me out explaining that I was standing there without my boarding pass. I calmly told her I had no problem with her watching me. What gets me is when they go through all the clothes in your suitcase on the return trip without wearing gloves. I told one agent all those clothes were dirty, didn’t he think he should have gloves on? No reply.

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  • 38. Bonnie  |  July 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Someone came up with the term “recombobulation area” for the location situated after you get discombobulated to go thru security. It’s actually posted somewhere in an airport in Michigan, I think! I’ve decided that after much air travel, I’m not going to be the one who goes thru fastest. They can roll their eyes til the cows come home….I’m finished with broken fingernails and disorganized stuff, just to keep the line moving. I travel often enuf to have it down to a system, but it’s all stilla pain and gives us the feeling of false security. Hope someday it pays off.

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  • 39. Chris Jensen  |  July 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I have an artificial shoulder, both hips replaced (1 side twice) toe joints replaced, and of last week a knuckle joint replaced. I always have to walk barefoot to the body search area and not only think about the icky floors, but worry about my belongings sitting on the conveyer belt for anyone to take. I wear a shell type of top and no socks so they can see the scars, though they act like I drew them on. Friends hate traveling with me.

    A year ago we brought a rifle back with us after closing my father’s estate. That was much easier to get through than my 5 foot tall body. All the TSA agents came over to admire the gun!

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  • 40. Beckie  |  July 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Last fall, I was traveling alone. If it had not been for the reason, a funeral, I would have been loving it. First thing wrong was not printing out my boarding pass at the check-in kiosk. Had to walk all the way back to the ticket counter to straighten it out! THEN, as I hobbled all the way back to security, I found that about a hundred (well, maybe 30) soldiers were being given a pass to the front of the line. No problem, just made my time to get to the gate a bit shorter. Shoes off, plastic bag in bin, purse & fancy cane in bin. I walked through the security & set the alarm off. The guy sent me back through. Alarms again. Oh, did I forget to mention something? Dear Security guy: “Mam, have you had a knee replacement?” Oh, was I embarrassed. Yep! The Nashville Airport has a nice clear glass room that you get sent to. they called over a female security person. She was very nice & we laughed at my forgetfulness. Gee, it had been 9 months and I had other things on my mind…like getting to the gate without my back giving out on me.

    The return trip was better because I told everyone who had to do with security that I had a knee replacement. (only one person really needed to know!) By the way, I love airports that have moving sidewalks. Wish Nashville would hurry up & get them.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

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  • 41. Quiltdivajulie  |  July 15, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I’ve flown with my CPAP for a number of years. Make sure you have a tag on the bag DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT (saves a lot of questions). LOVE LOVE LOVE the story about Madison and the tummy scratches. I have to wear tie shoes which is really a problem for those in line behind me… I’ll apologize here to all those anonymous folks who’ve had to wait for me to hobble sans orthotics on painful feet. My sister had my mother with her – middle stage Alzheimer’s – and the security people couldn’t figure out why my sister was freaking out because Mom was wandering off down the hallway alone. LOVE the reality show idea – SOOOOOO much potential there!

    HUGS for the giggles you’ve brought to all of us!

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  • 42. Barb  |  July 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I gotcha one better. Take all that and throw in double knee replacements. You have to leave all your belongings on the belt after going through the metal detector. They put you in a glass room and call for a female screener to come. You wait and wait and wait for her to arrive to wand you and pat you down to make sure you haven’t concealed something that beeps in a remote region of your person. When finished, you just hope that everything is where you left it. It helps a lot if you are traveling with a companion who can keep an eye on things. But, you know what? The travel destination itself is worth every minute of it.
    Love the Game Show idea!!

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  • 43. Cam Wilsie  |  July 15, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Just got back from a visit to my grandson and his parents. Flew from Phoenix to Newark. Knew I didn’t need to take my laptop, so went with everything fitting in one backpack (my favorite way to navigate the terminals and parking shuttles) as it holds everything from snacks to reading material to knitting plus purse, phone, camera, my prescription meds and the 3-1-1 bag ready to pull out just in case someone thinks my 1/4 oz of hand sanitizer gel is dangerous. I only need one tote as the plastic bag is outside the backpack and the Birks fit under the backpack. Should be an easy-breezy trip thru the checkpoints, right?

    Except I have two titantium knees, and they really make the metal screener unhappy. So it’s off to the plexiglass holding cell to wait for the female TSA to show up. Sometimes they’re all on the x-ray machines so a male has to relieve one of them to give me the pat down.

    Must learn to wear elastic waistband pants as the metal stopper on top of my zippers’ nylon coils set off the hand wand so I have to raise my shirt to roll down my waistband for them to see the metal stopper and then the TSA has to feel the waistband to be sure I’ve not concealed anything inside the band itself.

    And I wear an underwire bra everyday, so that merits patdowns (not always with the back of the hand as promised) of the metal hook and eyes, the wire boning at the underarm and under the breasts.

    I thought the gal yesterday was just a bit to frisky with her hands as she went up past mid-thigh down past mid-calf on all sides of my legs. As she released me to get my backpack, I told her “I bet you give a really good massage since you found parts of me that ony a good masseuse should find.”

    Whenever I go thru this, I have to really hold back my desire to scream: “I am a retired middle school English teacher turned grandmother who doesn’t even dye her gray hair. Do I look dangerous?”

    Must be so as I went a full year of having my one checked suitcase opened and searched/tossed by the TSA after the gun residue screening. The last time was an outward bound trip from Flint when the TSA not only removed everything, but unrolled all my neatly rolled clothes, then wadded them up and tossed them back in the suitcase. Something damp was added to the mix, so I had to prespot and wash everything when I got back to Phoenix. Soon after I read that if one applies hand lotion before closing that suitcase zipper, one might leave a hand lotion residue that triggers those firearms’ sensors. Don’t use hand lotion prior to getting on plane and no more problems with “tossed” salad suitcase contents.

    Some days its hard to have a sense of humor about the TSA because I’ve figured out that those with the most power to make my trip miserable have a whole lot less education and personal power, so best be nice, smile, and leave all the groaning on the inside.

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  • 44. Cindy Cooksey  |  July 15, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    What a hoot. Be thankful you don’t have a joint replacement, or you would have to be wanded and thoroughly inspected every time you want to fly. On top of all the hassle which you so amusingly described. And they don’t just wand my hip, they have to wand and pat down everywhere. In public. It’s getting old.

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  • 45. Elaine Adair  |  July 15, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    You are tooooooo much! Imagine having to figure all this out! LOL And imagine knowing that it all sounds like a good plan, all the way to “game show”, although some nut (ahem) may be considering it already.

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  • 46. HelenMarie  |  July 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    cell phone and charger in a ziplock, camera and charger in another, GPS and cords in a third….jewelry in a fourth…all in my carryon bag…with empty water bottle to fill on the “other side” (I can buy a fq with the $2 the airports charge for water)….slip on shoes, I put thin socks on over my support hosiery and do the sock-strip also…I did have my cheapo scissors taken last trip so I went to the dollar store and found kiddie Fiscars with a shield to cover the rounded ends! I used to slip a threaded needle under a brooch so I could stitch onboard but I haven’t done that lately. I hate what terrorism has done to us.

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  • 47. sharon in Nor. Cal.  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Ami Simms…You keep topping yourself! You get hilariouser and hilariouser.

    Love the game-show concept…I’ll bet you 2 fat quarters that within 1 year we will see something like it on national TV.

    God bless your imagination and inventiveness.

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  • 48. susan arkles  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I have a knee replacement and I always have to be patted down.
    The place where You stand to wait for that is a bullet proof glass box I lovingly call the tube. This happens only in the U.S.. In Europe I told the security guards I had a Knee replacement and they let me right though.

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  • 49. virtualquilter  |  July 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    What a relief I don’t have to fly to get to Australia! Never gonna leave here in a jet plane ever again!

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  • 50. ROSEMARY  |  July 16, 2009 at 1:47 am

    You are right on! I have a pacemaker and braces and so must be hand searched. I keep all my braces and pocket paraphenalia (sp?) – change, keys, cell phone, belt, watch, etc. in one bag so I can go the ladies room and put everything back on when I’m finished. Then I do the bins. If you plan ahead and don’t take your frustration out on the TSA’s they are almost always very nice and helpful. Just try not to get behind a real obnoxious passenger or it will take all day. After all, they are only human.

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  • 51. Sandra Schuster  |  July 16, 2009 at 6:22 am

    do any of you joint replacement people have a card from your orthopod stating that you’ve had joint replacement – where on your body and when? if you do, does it help any at security? and if you don’t have one, maybe you should ask your doctor for one. i always wear slip-on shoes, and have found out from security that a little bit of jewelry is okay-alot, say several bracelets on one arm-would probably trigger the alarm.

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    • 52. Beckie  |  July 16, 2009 at 2:33 pm

      Nashville Security told me not to worry about a card since they have to do the wand search anyway.

      I was surprised that the Charlotte, NC airport didn’t have a glass box to go to. They just had me wait in the corner!

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  • 53. Chris Jensen  |  July 16, 2009 at 7:49 am

    I have had a card from Mayo Clinic for years and the agents don’t care about it. They told me anyone could print them.

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  • 54. Carolyn  |  July 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Love the idea of a game show. I would volunteer. Have traveled in the continental US and overseas and every place is different.
    One place lets your scissors thru and the next place confiscates them. One lets you take a hairclip thru and the next takes it.
    Told them I would just come in my pajamas and and get dressed at the airport. I have embarrased both my 20yr old daughters with things I have said to them. Really it seems the OLD people are the terrorists and every item or suitcase gets checked and the suspicious guys go walking on thru. Oh well, I will be doing it again next week….nothing can keep me down!!!!

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  • 55. Colleen  |  July 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    My co-worker flies weekly to a city about 200 miles away. She is super-thin, and we’ve heard they prefer to pat down thin people. Or maybe it’s because she wears boots a lot – who knows, you hear so many rumours. Anyway, she gets the pat down almost every trip. Her response is to smile and say “Time for my morning massage”.

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  • 56. jaybird  |  July 18, 2009 at 8:27 am

    so i’m flying on wednesday… and you have me super excited! but everything you said.. so true. i got searched once… head to toe.. and all my bags.. want to know why? i had an eye glass repair kit in my bag that i had forgotten about.. it had always been there.. but apparently i could do serious damage with that 3″ long screwdriver… oh yeah!

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  • 57. Karen  |  July 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I have a TSA approved laptop case — and they still make me take it out. For a while they let me keep it in, but now they make me take it out. Sigh.

    Just got one of those bags. They balked until I showed them the little “happy TSA” emblem and they shoved it through with no further demands.Ami :)

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