Amazingly today was the first time I’d flown since the terror plot in London was foiled. Certainly there was plenty of B-grade security theater from the TSA, but I was surprised to consider how all this threat level nonsense may fundamentally change how I travel and, possibly, how I work.

So I packed last night for a two-day overnight trip. Backpack for computer, small rolling bag for clothing. Nothing special. Once in the airport I realized I needed to dump the sanitizing hand gel from my backpack. Still no big deal. My fault for not remembering. Then, as my overnight bag was being scanned it occured to me that I had toothpaste, shaving cream, mouthwash, and other liquids in there that’d need tossing. Instead, I got out of line and checked it. OK, fine, so again I forgot. But that’s the thing. This latest ban basically means no carry-on overnight luggage. Which means no quick on-off of the plane or in-out of airports.

I know, I should have known and packed/checked accordingly. But the point is, this might actually push me to reconsider overnight trips. I’d rather destroy myself with a first-flight-out last-flight-back daytrip than have to wait at baggage claim or, worse, risk losing it because I checked it. And there’s a difference in the amount of work you can get done in one day than in two (or three). All because some idiot terrorists who never would have pulled off their plan succeeded in terrorizing us anyway.

The worst indignity? Well, I was smart enough to know that I could not bring a cup of coffee through security (though many others were pissed to have to dump out their fresh cups). So I bought a cup on the other side of security. Two sips in boarding began and I was told that I needed to dump it. Say what? Dump this coffee in a secure zone? What could I have done to it? Did they suspect the coffee kiosk has doctored the beverage? And if there is concern about liquids past security shouldn’t that problem be tackled at the source, rather than letting travellers buy the beverages in the first place? This is such lunacy.

Can’t wait for my international trip on Saturday.

2 Responses to “Threatdown”

  1. Bryce says :

    Yeah, I’m travelling this week, too (short trip) and could definitely notice the impact on baggage-claim at San Jose airport. While it’s always a semi-stressful affair (boy, do people’s “slack-jawed” yokel genes kick in while watching that belted conveyor spin round and round) this time was sheer torture. It seemed like … I dunno.. 5/6ths of the flight had checked baggage. (ATL to SJC – this was not a small flight.) The upside was, more space in the overhead bins for my meager non-liquid carryons.
    Oh, and USA Today had an interesting article, yesterday or today, on the impact to the airline industry (they basically lose money every time someone checks a bag.) And pointed out the health risks to baggage handlers (increased loads = increased strain on joints and lumbars = increased workers comp claims.) This will be interesting to watch.
    I, too, am pissed about the lack of carry-on coffee options at this point. (I may have to resort to a Kramer-like scheme where I smuggle a latte inside my jacket.)

  2. John says :

    Interesting observation about the overhead bins.
    I may look into powder-based toiletries. Just add water for toothpaste! That’d solve the problem … until the next act in the security drama.