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May 20 2008

An open letter to airport idiots

Dear Idiots Who Think Farting Around With TSA is Entertaining,

Traveling by air used to be fun. It used to be exciting, exotic, an event. You’d jump through the security hoops, get on your plane, and have a meal. A real meal. Like pancakes and sausage and orange juice. With a full-sized napkin. I remember those days and they were not that long ago. We’d joke about the food because, frankly, it wasn’t that good. But it was still a meal. On a plane. And it was exciting.

And then things changed. Traveling by air was no longer fun.

Saturday I flew from Denver to St. Louis to visit my friend Kate, who had a sweet little boy five weeks ago (and dang it, she had to go a day over, or her son and A would have shared a birthday seven years apart).

I’m grateful I had an awesome pedicure, for I got to show off my tootsies at security. I just hope to hell I don’t get some weird-ass fungus from walking barefoot.

I’m grateful I was traveling solo and didn’t have to wrestle the boys through security. I’m doubly grateful the boys are past the stroller/carseat for the airplane stage. Oh, thank you Lord, we’re past that stage.

I’m grateful I can now cancel my annual exam, ‘cause I’m pretty sure the cavity search would have caught something, and the patdown took care of the girls.

This is what traveling has become. I understand the need for safety, but can we please keep our shoes on, for crying out loud? Is it really necessary to drag a sleeping infant out of the carseat/stroller and carry him straight in front of you through the x-ray (really had to do this once; I was less than happy and A even less so)? Do we really have to hold our breath through security, praying nothing beeps so we can just get through and get on the plane and just get the hell out of that insanity?

When will common sense rule again? Ever?

My “meal” on the plane consisted of a single glass of spicy tomato juice. I could have purchased snacks, if I so desired. The entertainment was the travel map on the screen in front of me; I had no desire to purchase DirecTv viewing for the flight. There weren’t even music channels.

My seat, for all 5’11” of me, was a center seat. Somehow, when I booked my flight, my request for an aisle seat got lost in the ether. Changing it at the airport was futile, as it was a computerized self-serve check-in kiosk.

And this was a good day of traveling. No storms, no delays, no computer glitches to throw everything out of whack.

This is why we’re staying home this year instead of traveling. We may not even make it back to our parents’ houses for the holidays. Air tickets are so expensive, traveling is anything but convenient, and it’s too expensive and time-consuming to drive. Makes me sad. I have actually thought about throwing the boys on Amtrak for a trip to Chicago; may need to look into that a bit more.

So, Idiots Who Think Farting Around With TSA is Entertaining, this is what you have wrought. I just hope, the next time you fly, you’re the one getting the full body cavity search. It’s the least I can hope for.

Love and kisses,

Jen

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11 comments

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  1. RC

    So sorry. But hey – a physical exam and a flight? A two for one deal! How exciting! 😉

  2. MRMacrum

    I haven’t quite figured out when the friendly skies lost their smile. But now, I would rather someone pull my fingernails out than make me step one foot into an Airport. And having just survived an 1800 mile road trip to North Carolina, I have decided that travel of any kind is much less friendly and way more stressfult han it ever was. I am not leaving the house anymore.

  3. Angie

    It really is ridiculous. Plus, now you can only check one bag unless, of course, you want to pay $25 for the second and $50 for the next. Nice. Thanks for making me cram 2 weeks worth of vacation and beach attire and accessories into one bag under 50 pounds, cheapskates.

    My family is apparently on some watch list (seriously, this is a problem with some family names) and we get to go through LOTS of extra SPECIAL steps at the airport. This has happened enough times now that I know the “get there 1-1/2 hours in advance” rule is BARELY adequate. Look at me – I have two preschoolers and I am flying BY MYSELF JACKASS! DUH?!?!? Sommon sense!

    KEEP BELIEVING

  4. Robin

    As someone who can’t visit any of her family and half of her friends without a 12 hour international flight (usually two flights actually, since it’s a lot cheaper to change planes in Europe) I can definitely sympathize. Thankfully I only got the body search once, and that was in England. With all my traveling, I have to say that the American TSA is truly the worst, too. No common sense whatsoever, just arbitrary rules. At least here in Israel the security staff are highly trained professionals who know how to actually *think* while working.

  5. Denise @ EatPlayLove

    I hate airplane travel. I blew my top when the TSA forced me to disrobe Sj at 6am in line, my 2 year old was apparently wearing an illegal sweater through the metal detector (it had to be screened)..to top it off it had no pockets?!

    And, I can’t quite imagine traveling alone. Alone. Like my hubby does for business. I’ll say it again, alone! wow.

  6. Tendrils

    I so remember those meals……and as a kid, I remember the kids getting a McDonald’s Hamburger and fries instead of the gross “airline” food.

    You are so right about travel being a pain in the Arse. I’m lucky enough to be only a 7 hour drive home to IL—-but hell, with gas prices, who the hell can afford to take a weekend trip anymore?!?!?!?!

    Great post——well said!

  7. Chelle

    You are 5’11”? Color me jelous. However, at 5’5″, I still find airplane seating to be more than a bit cramped so I can only imagine your pain.

    At least you had a nice visit with your girlfriend and, once again, color me jelous 🙂

  8. karen (Pediascribe)

    Uh, the whole shoe thing irks me. It’s just such a pain to untie, walk through God knows what, and then get your shoes back on and tied again. All the while keeping track of the kids and the $$$$$ worth of electronics you let go through the scanner. At least my kids are older and can (mostly) fend for themselves. And if they get stopped by TSA, well then I’ll miss them on the trip. THAT will punish the TSA people–make them keep my kids till I get back. 😉 HA!

    Glad you had a nice visit though, even if jumping through the dang hoops made your legs hurt!

  9. cursingmama

    We did Amtrak for our trip last summer & it worked out really well. My only advice would be to book early & get a sleeping car. The snoring by fellow passengers drove me INSANE.

  10. ChiTown Girl

    Girl, when you book that Amtrak trip to Chitown, you had better let me know!!!

    The airport should at least buy you a drink first if they plan to go to second base with you (hell, they practically take it to third, don’t they?)

    Um, and 5’11”? Really? I can see why you’re uncomfortable. That’s about how wide I am, so I can relate 😉

  11. db

    Just the other day, I was putting up a letter I had written to the airlines about an incident with my niece. The last time I was traveling, I made it through two security points before discovering, (on my own), that I had nails in my pocket from a project earlier that day. Somethings missing, either a brain, or common sense, I doubt they use either. Ive heard personal opinions from different people who have traveled around the world, a majority of them say that US “security” is one of the biggest jokes. I personally, agree.

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