7 lessons from the airport security line

Before relocating abroad nearly 4 years ago, I hadn’t been many places. Like most Americans, I only got a passport when I was preparing to study abroad in college at nearly 21 years old. At that stage most of my “travel” was thanks to the World Showcase at Epcot and what I was able to gather from Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” So, basically, Norway had a fun ride and Anthony will eat pig toenails in Malaysia and declare them “actually really tasty.” It wasn’t much of a substitute for the real thing.

Due to my lack of passport action, I hadn’t been through airport security more than a handful of times at that stage. Since moving abroad in 2012, however, I am intimately involved with more than my fair share of full body scanners. I’ve mastered the art of swiftly removing my shoes and jacket, putting my iPad in its separate bin, and packing a liquids bag until it’s full but with the plastic un-poked and intact. I’ve been patted down about 1282648254 times. Ergo, I am an expert at airport security.

Since I kinda like you guys (great, now I’m blushing. Do you like me too? Check yes, no, or maybe) I’ve decided to be a peach and share my findings. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Someone’s always on a power trip. Always. There’s something about saying “Laptops, iPads and liquids need to be in their own separate containers. Remove your belts, shoes, jackets, and self respect, ” no less than 85 times/day that gives a certain breed of security agent a total metaphorical hard on. It’s hard to understand.
  2. Power trip
    Power trip

    75% of the people in the line will act as if this is their first time going through security. These people will ask questions about each article of clothing. “Do I need to remove my shoes?” asks a steel-toed work boot clad man. “Do I have to take off my jacket?” asks a woman in a parka. In July. Morons.

  3. There will be someone directly in front of you who thinks the TSA limits are two bags of liquids. She will argue with the agents that she has traveled multiple times under this assumption. She will get visibly peeved at the overly understanding TSA agent. This will blow your mind.
  4. You will have lotion in your carry-on that you’re bringing as a gift for your soon to be mother-in-law. The TSA agent will act as if you were trying to smuggle Anthrax. You will openly well up with tears as you’re forced to backtrack through security to put said lotion in your luggage. The humanity.
  5. You will win the pat down lottery approximately 10 flights in a row. You will be wearing sweats without pockets and no jewelry. You will just be the third person to walk through the security screen, and it automatically beeps every three people. This will happen to you 10.flights.in.a.row.
  6. You will have a pastry knife in your luggage that you received at a wedding shower thrown in your honour a week before. The TSA agent will give you a look that says “nice try, Bill the Butcher” and escort you back through security. You will spend $30 to mail your pastry knife home. Goddamnit.
  7. You will make the mistake of smiling in the security line once. The security agents will perceive this as a threat to TSA requirements and will make a communal vow to make your experience a living hell. You look like a terrorist who’s overcompensating. Amateur.

Hope this helps, jet-setters. If you need me I’ll be getting patted down for the umpteenth time.

You, smiling like a goon
You, smiling like a goon

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