When we left, the old procedure was in place. Because I had a total knee replacement, I always set the metal detector off, so I tell the TSA agent before I walk through the scanner that I will set off the alarm, due to the titanium knee. Sure enough I do, so I am prepared to be sent to "Area B", for additional scrutiny. Previously this meant another TSA agent would take a hand held scanner wand & have me assume the da Vinci pose (see diagram @ the left), while they checked me out for any metal items. It was not a huge deal, but strange as you stand there in your stocking feet, spread eagle position as some stranger wands you down.
Now, it would appear, those were the good old days. A few new forms of screening have emerged.
In Chicago, one of the world's largest airports, they were geared up with the new whole body scanner x ray machines. You put your hands up over your head & hold still, while Uncle Sam takes an x ray scan of you. Personally, to be more efficient, I think they should make this a two-fer by making it double as a medical diagnostic scan as well.
Just like they hit you up for $25 bucks to check in baggage, they could hit you up for $25 bucks to be able to forward the x ray to your Doctor.
Anyway, in the Columbus airport, they said the x ray scan machine was not yet fired up, so I was sent for the pat down. A blue gloved, same sex agent had me assume the da Vinci pose, as she did the whole body pat down. Gone are the days of the less intrusive wand.... now it's a touchy feely whole body hand exploration. I happened to be having a major hot flash at the time, so I was sweating profusely-- probably made me look like I was harboring something illegal.... she did question the lump in my vest pocket-- a wad of Kleenex did not go by unnoticed!
I suppose they abandoned the metal scan wand, as many terrorists are using plastic explosives these days.
Thankfully, I was traveling w my husband & he was able to catch the stuff on the conveyor belt...
carry on, laptop, shoes, purse, bag of 3 ounce items in a ziplock bag. These whole body scanners may be a few rows away from where your stuff is going through the X ray machine.
They will not let you cross over to the other side till you have passed the test, scan or pat down, but your stuff proceeds on down the conveyor belt, the other way. Intentionally or not, someone could theoretically gab your laptop, or purse in a busy airport & be gone. In our case, the husband was double timing it, gathering up all the stuff in the bins, his & mine, while I endured the bigger scrutiny.
Ok, so I was busted-- now they know about the Kleenex, but they let me through the security screen anyway.
"At this time please turn off all electronic devices. This includes cell phones, i pods, MP3 players, electronic books, i pads, 3G phone, DVD players.... then she said "Look, if you have anything with an on/off switch it needs to be turned OFF!"
Clearly, there are so many *things* in the electronic device world these days, constantly changing, she had given up on trying to name them all. She stopped short of bellowing "Turn off all the electronic crap, dammit!!!"
Another new flight trend I could not help but notice, is because the airlines are charging $25 for the first checked bag, and $35 for a 2nd checked bag, people are now carrying on more stuff to avoid the change. Newer & larger planes can handle the largest rolling luggage carry on, but older planes can not. This means there gets to be a kind of struggle to put your stuff in the carry on compartment.
I also noticed they strive to have full to the max flights, meaning the planes are full to capacity.
One of the flights I was on, we had to do the heave ho to force the overhead bin door to shut.
So many people are loathe to do that because your carry on is your lifeline, should your other checked in baggage take a scenic tour. I am convinced now, that a non rigid carry on in the way to go, because it can be flexed to fit in the overhead bin. In any case, the fees are the crux of the problem. This was a multi destination trip, so our fees for 1 checked in baggage item per person were $150 bucks.
Gone are the day of peanuts or pretzels, you get a cup or can of soda or juice & that's it!
I should mention our extended stay in the Denver airport. We boarded a jumbo jet & the Captain announced we would be arriving in Chicago early. Yay!
Then he announced there was a "hydraulic issue" the mechanics were working on. About 40 minutes later, he ordered everyone off the plane, as the hydraulic issue could not be fixed & the plane was mechanically grounded. As much as that is a pain in the ass, I do embrace the idea that knowing about plane mechanical problems, are best to be discovered while on the ground. That being said..... we happened to be in the last seats in the last row.... consequently the last ones off the plane.
So it was no surprise that there were 300 people ahead of us in the customer service line.
I sought out a United clerk to give me an 800 number. Sure enough, United had automatically rebooked us on a flight leaving 10 hours later, arriving in Chicago @ midnight.
Well, at least we did not have to stand in that very slow moving line & I gave all of the people in the back of the line the 800 number, to spare them the agony of standing in line as well. You know your family loves you when they agree to come pick you up at O'Hare airport @ midnight.
Since Continental & United just merged, we wondered if the new name would be Unitinental, or Continited??? Other than that, the skies were friendly, albeit cramped. But as an almost 6 foot tall person with , ahem, large bones, don't get me started on just how uncomfortable it is to be crammed in those tiny seats. Flying these days is kind of like a root canal- you are just glad when it's all done.
Have you had any interesting flight experiences ?
Have you had any interesting flight experiences ?