Tuesday, May 8, 2012
TouchyTime with TSA
Posted by Heather
Obviously, I've been hanging out in airports a lot over the past two weeks. This has resulted in some amusing (and irritating) stories.
I showed up for my first flight at a smallish airport. Not small. Just not Atlanta-sized or anything. I showed up several hours early, as is my habit. I was traveling with a fair amount of baggage and wanted plenty of time for both myself and my bags to make it through screening. Unfortunately, TSA does not share my habit of showing up early. In fact, they did not start up security until less than 90 minutes before the first flights of the day left. I was not the only irritated person hanging around waiting to check my bags!
Finally, the TSA guy took my two checked bags. I stayed around to make sure there wouldn't be any problems. Sure enough, they go through the scanner and he points to the first one and says "What's the container in the top, filled with some substance?" I'd been prepared for that one and promptly answered that it was a jar of salt. He didn't bat an eye, just passed the bag on, no trouble. Then he points to the second bag and demands to know what is in the "self contained object" in the middle of the bag. Now, this bag is shoved full of "self contained objects," given that we're going camping - everything is in stuff sacks! I have no idea what he's talking about at first and he decides that he has to inspect it... after running eight more bags through the scanner. By then, of course, I've realized the dangerous object in question is none other than a jar of strawberry jelly, but I am forced to await his pleasure in unpacking the sack and inspecting the jelly for explosives. Finally both of my bags are cleared and I am on to wait in the security line for my own person.
At first I am feeling good. It's a bit late, but I'm in the non-Rapiscan line, so there shouldn't be any trouble. Until they close down the regular detector and funnel us all through the Rapiscan where I, of course, opt out and am subject to a patdown. I comment to the TSA person that I try to arrive at airports early just for this reason but they just open so late... that didn't go over well. Nor did my quiet "okay" to the lady feeling me up as she instructed me to hold out my arms. Seriously, I said "okay" and held out my arms and she very loudly, aggressively and with a lot of attitude says "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" "...Uh, I said -okay.-" She continues, no apology (also of interest, down here I am always called ma'am, by everyone. Except TSA). I endure her aggressive groping and make it onto the plane without time to get any breakfast.
When I arrive at Anchorage, my gate information directs me outside the secure area. I'm a bit concerned by this, feeling that two TSA gropings in one day is about two too many, but there's nothing for it. I head out and follow directions to my gate. Whereupon I am ushered onto my Era flight with no security save a quick glance at my ID. Oh Glorious Day!
Era apparently manages to keep their operation just small enough to avoid the TSA requirement. It is particularly amusing when at Kodiak airport. Only two airlines fly out - Era and Alaska. When we were leaving, the Era flight had been delayed and was leaving at about the same time as our Alaska flight. Both planes are nearly the same size, are leaving from the same place and going to the same place. There are two doors. If you are on the Era flight, you walk through door number one and right out to your plane, liquids and all. Heck, I don't know if there's anything stopping you from carrying! If you are on the Alaska flight, though, you walk through door number two and are forced to do the shoes-off routine of TSA appeasement, with all of your halibut carefully inspected. Shockingly enough, no one blew up the Era flight, despite their lack of gropage.
Back in Anchorage, we had to go through security to access the rest of our flights. Since our move, Anchorage has installed Rapiscans and once again I was forced to opt out. Amusingly enough though, the lady responsible for my pat down was actually not interested in touching my genitalia. Despite the fact that I had not been appropriately groped, no terrorist attack occurred. Amazing!
at 3:01 PM