sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

January 6, 2011

My Lovely TSA Adventure

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:15 pm

I know, I know, I swore that I will never fly again.  But me and DH were planning this Vegas trip for a while, hoping that because the flight is after the New Year perhaps the TSA will amend its rules.  Well, we just wanted to go.  Our daughter wanted a present, and she requested a castle.  All right, I thought, they will probably have something like that at the Excalibur.

Oakland International Airport was all right.  A nice girl at the baggage check in informed us that we need to put our carry on liquids 3.2 oz and under in a zip lock bag, and which point I raided my purse and put all of them into the suitcase that we checked in.  My hairpins set off the buzzer, so the agent told me to put them in a separate basket or else they’ll have to pet me down.  So I put them all in the basket, and that was it.

Vegas was all right.  We saw a show, had a nice dinner and gambled a bit.  We would enjoy it all much more were we not on a second round of stomach flu which caused the most annoying heartburn.  The heartburn gets worse when we eat steak or walk, we found out.  We walked to Excalibur to get a castle for DD, of which, turns out they had none.  We bought a snow globe instead.

The next afternoon we were heading back.  I put up my hair the way I’ve been doing practically every day since I became a mom, and we headed to the airport.  All that walking made me a bit uneasy.  Anyhow, at the checkpoint my hair went off again.  I told the agent that it’s my hair, and he told me to walk through the gate once more.  The buzzer went off.  He told me to that they’ll have to pat me down, but they can do it in private.  I said that I’d prefer private.  He called two ladies who took me — along with my bag — to a private room.  They weren’t at all interested in my hair, and they gave me a lot of leeway on that pat down.  The woman searching me stopped 3-5 inches away from my crotch and bra areas.  I suppose she didn’t like the process herself.  Besides, it was pretty obvious that I’m not a terrorist.

But then it was my bag’s turn.  She opened it, and went for the gold, so to say.  She pulled out a plastic bag with bright Las Vegas letters.  In it was a souvenir wrapped in paper.  She had to know what it was — the shape was just too obvious.  She asked me if she can open it, and I said yes.  “Oh, — she said, — it’s a snow globe.  You can’t bring those on the plane because of the liquid.”  She asked me if I want to check it or mail it to myself.  So kind of her to follow the protocol!  I told her to just take it.

After all that walking, and the heartburn, and more walking, she took away my daughter’s snow globe!  I was about to throw up.  A couple of minutes later I realized that the snow globe I had was under 3.2 oz.  So I went back to the “security” gate, and asked for my globe back.  They said, that the size doesn’t matter, because no snow globes are allowed.  Where is it written?  On the TSA website.  DH joked that you can destract a pilot with a snow globe, like if you come really close to him, and shake it in his face.  And then before he knows it, you sucker punch him.

And no, I didn’t check the TSA website to see if snow globes are allowed on board.  I’m not going to.  Because if the argument is about what constitutes a personal item or how large of a make up remover bottle I can take with me, I lost.  I flew El Al in the past, and was interviewed.  The first  interview was pretty invasive, but there was no doubt in my mind that I was talking to a serious person, and that this person was looking for terrorists.  It’s often said that we in the United States are not looking for people, we are looking for things.  To be more precise, we are not looking for terrorists, we are looking for snow globes.

Oh, and we did buy my daughter a pink Las Vegas Princess magnet at the airport store.

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6 Comments »

  1. “It’s often said that we in the United States are not looking for people, we are looking for things.”

    Nail on the head. This is exactly the problem. I’ve been interviewed in other countries as well and while it’s uncomfortable you at least feel like you are dealing with an expert and an authority. Not a bully who is following rules and procedures with no more thought to it than if he were working the fryer in a fast food place.

    Comment by Jennifer — January 7, 2011 @ 12:34 am

    • I agree. I feel like this is some sort of “security” circus designed to create more jobs in a bureaucracy or perhaps save a few bureaucrats their jobs once a terrorist attack happen. If it does happen, we have our fellow passengers to rely on.

      Comment by edgeofthesandbox — January 7, 2011 @ 5:25 am

  2. The latest in American security just has me rolling my eyes repeatedly, especially after Napolitano walked around Ben Gurion and said, “Nope, this won’t work for America.” But taking away snow globes will?

    Comment by Vicki — January 7, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    • Vicki, what’s exactly going to happen if they take away my snow globe? Me blogging about it? El Al’s first question is “Are you Jewish?” Their follow up questions had to do with my Jewishness. It’s not that they cared so much about me being or not being a Jew, but they wanted to see how I will answer their questions. In Napotitano’s mind that’s verboten.

      Comment by edgeofthesandbox — January 7, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

      • Yeah, I’ve had those questions on ElAl, too. That’s exactly the point. People should be asking questions instead of taking away our travel soap.

        Comment by Vicki — January 10, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  3. I never thought of hijacking a plane with a snow globe…Brilliant!!!

    Comment by daniel noe — January 9, 2011 @ 5:58 pm


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