Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Airport Insecurity

Grab this related post Widget!
We arrived in Cuenca a couple of days ago and already there are stories to tell, but I want to first share a crazy airport story.  Since we left Vegas we're been through six terminals (not just to get here--we also went to our son's wedding in Mexico and visited our daughter in New Jersey).   If you don't fly much let me tell you, the security "standards" are anything but.  They vary from country to country, airport to airport, and even person to person.

At McCarran in Vegas, a TSA guy pulled one of Cynthia's bags and was giving her all kinds of crap about several of her carry-on bottles being 4 ounces instead of 3.5.  He said either throw it all away and come back through security or go back to the counter and check the bag.  Some of the stuff was expensive and/or medically necessary, so we hustled back to the counter, only to be told it was too late to check the bag and we would have to take a later flight.

Understand we're leaving the country.   Everything we're carrying on is oversized and unbelievably heavy, especially the ones I'm carrying. I'm pouring sweat and in no mood for this level of "customer service." The clock's ticking.  For these and a multitude of other reasons we weren't taking a friggin' later flight, so we split the items up among several bags, chose a different security line with the most apathetic looking agent, and went straight through.  (Sigh)  As a result of all this nonsense we had no time to purchase any food and barely made our flight, getting  to "feast" on a bag of nuts we'd brought along.

But that's the frustrating story, not the crazy one.  Check this out.  After the wedding we went through Cancun, Newark (twice) and Atlanta.  We took off our shoes, forgot to take off our belt, set off the alarm in one airport with an item that caused no problem somewhere else--all the usual shenanigans.

In Quito, Ecuador, our last stop before finally getting here, we of course leave our shoes on, because nowhere else in the world had that stupid "tennis shoe bomber."  How many years ago was that?  His diabolical plot didn't even work.  Exactly why are we still doing that?  But I digress.  We've got an open bottle of water.  That's OK too.  But they pull off the belt for inspection an accordion file of Cynthia's.

H-m-m-m---what's up?  Why are they hassling us? There are only papers in there, right?   Oh, maybe because of that big pair of scissors in the back!!

Wow.  Completely forgotten about by us.  Completely missed by security in three different cities more concerned about belt buckles and an extra half ounce of whatever than a potential weapon.  Not of mass destruction, but capable of at least a respectable puncture wound.  How is that possible??

Go to bed tonight assured that your safety is in totally incompetent hands.



Andy said...

Ha, classic. I did something similar a few months after 9/11 and somehow made it through security not realizing my carry-on held a multi-tool that included a 4 inch knife. I found it while sitting at my gate rifling through my bag for snacks. d'oh! it's all about the illusion of security. of course, having said that i am glad they check as much as they can!

FNU said...

I did the same thing. Brought a wine corkscrew with a small blade to cut the foil. The corkscrew was fine, but the blade was a problem. One more thing for their little plastic box showing all the things confiscated. Glad to see you made it.

Anonymous said...

OK, maybe it's the proximity in age between the two of us and all the shared cultural references, but your writing is HYSTERICAL!

I am following this blog starting from the beginning, and I must say, 'You Funny Man!'

This one was one of the best. As we contemplate expatriate lives, and Cuenca in particular, I think that you will have many insights to give me.