airport security

I travel for many reasons, but the main categories are either business or pleasure. Like with any trip, packing properly is essential. It’s not just what you put in your luggage these days. Carry-on luggage, afterall, has many restrictions and if you spent time in a security line, you’ve seen the latest gimicky videos showcasing ‘proper’ packing tips. These ‘how to’ tips are supposed to make your security screening go smoothly. For instance, the ‘pack in layers;’ shoes, jackets, belts come off and get screened; liquids not more than 3 oz should be in sandwhich size ziplock bags and screened separately; etc. These videos appear gimicky to me becuase they try to be fun, suggesting that you can make the screening process easier on yourself, which in turn will make your trip a more pleasant one. This sounds simple enough, but then why do I feel like a criminal going through that space?  Air travel has become complicated enough and it’s days like this one when I think they try too hard to pretend that it isn’t (complicated).
Here’re are some things they can do that would create some consistency in my experience going through a screening.
1. Stop trying to be nice
Their job is to find weapons or potentially harmful contents and prevent a person from taking these items on board a flight. Greeting me at the boarding pass check is like a test to see if you are a problem person. I don’t want you to greet me, I know that if something doesn’t meet the standard, I could be detained. This toothy grinned security guard would have no problem escorting me to some detaining room.
2. Don’t pretend I have a choice
I’ve had a nearly empty soap container and shampoo bottle (clear) taken away because they were more than 3 oz in size (like 5 oz bottles), I’d flown several times with these bottles and never had any issue through the checkpoint screening. The last time I went through security, even though you could see how much of the contents were in the bottle, the woman was stern about not taking it on board the plane.  It’s absurd that a nearly empty container is still a threat. Naturally, I threw it away.
3. Show some courtesy
While I’m suggesting security screeners stop ‘trying to be nice’ I’m not suggesting they forget how to be courteous. It’s a chore to strip down, put your bags exactly the way they want them, unpack the laptop, etc. With people in line ahead of me, it can be difficult to get everything in bins without holding up the line. Still, today, apparently the few bins left needed to be traded out. I had my bags down trying to get my laptop in a bin and prepared to set up on the table, which was still full with other people’s bags and bins. A lady comes over to replenish the bins and asks me to move my bags. Laptop in hand, I set about trying to get my things out of the way. I was too slow for her so she shoved my things with her foot over to the side and proceeded to complete her task.
I realize there are reasons for the restrictions, I’m actually trying to follow all of these rules so I can get through the process quickly. However, it’s the interactions with the security personnel that have tainted and even aggravated my experience. I have come to dislike the process so much so that even the genuine greeting is met with contempt.

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
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