security review

I travel a bit for work. Not as much as Brian used to, but it’s still a bit. Yesterday morning, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Denver, eating my breakfast and watching the news with absolute fascination. As a result of a terrorist attempt, security was being cracked down at all airports. Liquids and gels were no longer being allowed in people’s carry-on luggage. Ultimate consequence? You might have thought you’d be able to carry-on your over-nighter suitcase with your toiletries in it, but think again.
Eventually, I tuned it all out. I was scheduled to be up in Denver for the rest of the weekend and wouldn’t be flying home for a few more days. I figured it would calm down by then and I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Fast forward to 4 hours later, when I’m walking out of my customer’s office and calling my coworker to tell him to pack his bags and schedule the next available flight home. That’s another long story that I can’t really talk about here. Needless to say, I called our company’s travel agent and rebooked my flight for later that night. There was a 4pm flight, but the travel agent strongly recommended against it, saying that there were long lines at all of the security checkpoints at airports and that she didn’t think I’d be able to make that flight. Fine. I took the 5:55pm flight back to Phoenix. I got back to my hotel room and while packing my things, I checked US Airways’ website for what their recommendation on time to get through security lines. Their website recommended giving yourself 2 extra hours of time. Great.
I get the airport, drop my rental car off and let Hertz take me to the terminal. I quickly rechecked my purse for any hand lotion bottles stowed away anywhere and did a little reorganization in my two suitcases. One would still have to be carried on with me because I had stuff that had to stay with me. The rest, though, I tried to cram into my checked luggage, to make it easier to get through security.
I take the escalator down to the security checkpoint, anticipating lines going everywhere. Nothing. There were 6 people in front of me in the security line. WTF?!?!?! I got here 3 hours early for this?! Sadly, once I got through security, I was screwed. I couldn’t get onto the earlier flight because my bags would still get on the later flight, thus removing the reason to take the earlier flight.
Eventually, my coworker and I sat at a bar and killed the time drinking Fat Tire beers.
The moral of the story? Don’t listen to your travel agent when it comes to security lines. Or your airline. I don’t know who you shoud listen to, but those two definitely suck.

5 thoughts on “security review

  1. Well, that advice was based on Thursday, when everything was going to hell in a handbasket as no one knew what not to bring to the airport. [Understandably so.] By Friday, additional TSA employees [and in some places, National Guard folks] were available to streamline the process a bit, and travelers had adjusted to the new requirements.

  2. Yeah, you see… I travelled on Thursday. Either travellers are amazingly more intelligent than we tend to give them credit for (which I’m not entirely sure of) or TSA’s more intelligent than we tend to give them credit for (which I’m not entirely sure of either).

  3. You realize that had the advice been: “Oh, don’t worry. The lines are moving just fine.”, then you would have been stuck behind the longest security line in the history of mankind, right? 🙂

    I think you hit the nail on the head: no one knows.

    Side note: you’re becoming quite the seasoned business traveller, aren’t you?

  4. Heh. Okay, well, perhaps the explanation is that, by the late hour of the day, most folks had reacted accordingly. After all, it was pre-dawn EDT when all this stuff broke, so we’re talking a lapse of 12-14 hours, for sure.

  5. I think a lot of people just bailed. Here in the UK, British Airways were basically saying ‘if you don’t absolutely have to travel today, then don’t’; they then fully refunded passengers, or re-scheduled them for free.

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