rules change from week to week depending on the terror
alert status. Imagine that. In such a short period of
time travel planning has gone from what to pack so youre
not without, to what not to pack or else. I see
a whole new cottage industry springing up here on disposable
everything. Pack nothing now. Buy it while youre
there. Throw it away before leaving. Travel with only
your toothbrush and the clothes on your back. But what
about the souvenirs? Is this what its coming to?
as I stood a long security line at our local airport I
watched as everyone in front of me had to remove their
belts, jackets, shoes, laptops from their briefcases,
and empty pockets. If a button, bobby pin or ring sets
off the alarm youre sent back through the metal
detector, and just in case, still searched by security
for double insurance. So is your carry-on.
the time I got to the front of the line I quipped that
I would start showing up in nothing but a bikini and flip-flops.
The women in line giggled with a sigh of relief that someone
else felt their frustration at the disrobing...and of
course, the men laughed with relief at such a vision.
Little did they know that it was my thighs that put the
word cottage in cheese.
uncomfortable as all these rules are, they are now a fact
of life. Theyre not going to change or go away so
we need to get used to them and learn to properly prepare.
When all is said and done, I am very happy that such extreme
measures are being taken to protect the public. This is
how it should have always been, but because it wasnt,
terrorists had easy access to airplanes and innocent lives.
Flying today has never been safer.
most important thing to remember is that airports and
airlines vary in rules and not just based on the most
recent terror alert. Some still check IDs at every checkpoint;
others no longer check it at boarding. All still expect
to see ID with boarding passes before or while passing
through security. So its best to always have your
ID and boarding pass ready to show at all times. Many
people hold up lines because theyve put these things
back in their briefcase or purse, which means they have
to put everything down so they can search for the items.
You get enough people doing this and lines are delayed
best thing to do just days before you leave on a trip
is to check the latest security rules with the airlines
on which youre flying and how they apply at your
departing and arriving airports. You dont want to
be blindsided with any surprises. Dont assume, for
example, that whatever Northwest rules are in Detroit
the same apply to Miami. Each airline has their own set
of rules and restrictions tailored to meet the regulations
and requirements at each airport, which may slightly vary
from state to state, airport to airport. So be sure to
check on your airlines and their applicable procedures
at each airport through which youll be flying.
is easy enough to do online. In fact, http://www.roadandtravel.com/airlines/airlinerules.htm has an extensive listing of all airlines and their current
rules. If you dont find the answers youre
looking for, theres a link to each airline and an
800 number for additional information. Make this part
of your travel planning in advance.
some airlines have relaxed a little on arriving two hours
in advance, dont take any chances. There are so
many unexpected things that can delay you getting to your
gate on time. It just takes one nutcase in the security
line that forgot he had a knife on him or someone who
makes a now-against-the-law comment or joke about terrorism
or weapons, to hold things up for hours. Give yourself
plenty of advance time to get through check-in, security
and to your gate.
a book, or some work, and plenty to do for the kids. Many
airports are now so modernized that theyve become
more like malls than airports. You can always get a head
start on your Christmas or birthday shopping. Some, like
Detroit Metropolitan Airport, even have massage parlors
for weary travelers. And of course most have a good variety
of restaurants so perhaps you might even plan one of your
meals around your wait.
used to take all day to fly from Los Angeles to New York.
Now, with all the new security rules, it can take all
day just to fly from Boston to New York, so dont
get your knickers in a knot. Understand and accept that
travel days are now going to be an all day event no matter
where youre going -- you need to plan accordingly.
Once you build that time into your travel schedule youll
find that its far less stressful to get there and
much more fun to arrive at your destination.
last thing you want to do is show up at an airport late
to catch a flight then get delayed even further at security.
Missing a flight is upsetting for anyone, however, any
yelling or arguing with agents or security will get you
detained or perhaps even arrested. So, arrive early, know
the rules, and most of all be prepared to practice your
patience. You will need it.
is not what it used to be, for sure. But it can still
be a lot of fun if planned properly. The busy summer travel
season is upon us. Travel wise, travel safe.