Monday, September 7, 2009

Trip to Kelowna: Airport security

First time flying for the kids, and strangely (considering how much I used to travel), the first time I've flown in almost eight years. Since shortly after 9/11 actually. September 11th 2001 I was at the library to book airline tickets online (also for travel to Kelowna). All the airline websites were basically saying flights were canceled & no new flights would be booked, and it wasn't until I overheard people talking that I found out something was going on. I've successfully avoided air travel and travel to the US since then. A cross Canada trip by train and another by car, but didn't have the time or money for a slow trip to my brother's wedding.

"Because of 9/11" has become my most hated phrase. On my September 2001 flight I had a dull plastic camping knife confiscated (of course I got a nice metal one with my in flight meal...). Seriously though, "because of 9/11" no airplane will ever again be successfully hijacked with a boxcutter. Not because they are all confiscated, but because anyone who tries again will get pummeled to death by angry passengers. So why bother confiscating scissors or nail clippers or string? Safer flights, or the illusion of safer flights? Airport security is like locking the door of your house. It will discourage honest people, stupid people, and incompetent people, but not someone who is organized and determined.

Spent hours checking out requirements, double checking contents of suitcases, and putting gels and liquids in zip lock baggies. Its a bit of a scam. I can't bring a bottle of water, but I can pay $3 for one on the airplane. Talk about passengers held hostage. At the 'pre-screen' table I started to put containers of pudding into a ziplock. We had searched to find ones under 100ml, kept them seperate, and were ready to present them to screeners first thing to comply with the regulations. Guy at the pre-screen says not to bother. "Just tell them it is for the baby" (they weren't, but we did, it was faster.) Return flight however, screener guy was full of questions about a little carton of milk - allowed for infants - because he thought Odin was too young for real food. Personally, I was expecting the anal probe. Strange looking guy with long beard shows up sweaty and nervous looking at security checkpoint. Sweaty because I just downed an extra large double double I couldn't take thru in a rush because we were late and and nervous because I had just heard the pre-boarding call as we arrived at security. I didn't even beep. However, two year old Mars got wanded and had to remove his boots for closer inspection. He took it pretty well, but seemed confused by it all, despite many stories and explanations before we travelled. Leaf and baby Odin were also wanded.

I like Benny Hill's old joke: “The odds against there being a bomb on a plane are a million to one, and against two bombs a million times a million to one. Next time you fly, cut the odds and take a bomb.”

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