We’re All Guilty until Proven Innocent.
I don’t fly often.
Besides the fact I work 40-hours a week and don’t have a whole lot of extra time, or money, I find airport security procedures intimidating.
Once you enter the terminal to embark on your travels, you join the line with the other cattle, most of whom are equally innocent of any wrong doings. As you shuffle forward, you hope you’ve followed the rules and not missed any updates, but begin to feel apprehensive.
At least I do.
TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is not supposed to be your Welcome Wagon and are not there to be your friends. I get it. But the fear they engender makes me feel as if I’ve entered a prison.
Guilty, guilty, guilty.
I have my passport and boarding pass ready, liquids in a plastic quart bag, phone on. God-forbid you fail to comply. You then contend with the voice becoming louder and eye rolling.
Their voices raised to induce schnelling and the constant clatter, beeping, and announcements are enough to raise even the most law-abiding person’s blood pressure.
- Have your boarding pass and ID in your hand.
- Don’t come up until called.
- Take off your coats, belts.
- Turn on your electronic devices.
- Liquids should be in a separate bag.
- Turn the bin sideways.
- Stay with your stuff.
This last order is directly counter to the step that follows in the process of airport security: the metal detector. It’s the step after you put your luggage on the belt, so how can you stay with it (luggage)? Should I climb on the belt? I will if you say so.
So sorry for my error, please don’t kill me!
As if that’s not enough, there’s a new step in Boston. After you pass through the metal detector, you don’t get to grab you luggage. You wait in another queue while your bag is individually pulled off the belt and the x-ray is cross-examined.
Thankfully, I passed this with flying colors. Had it not, I would’ve been unpacking whatever item it was that caught the inspector’s attention, shoving it back in so they could move on to the next person, and getting out of the way.
But this is Boston and they’re a little bit more sensitive to terrorists and bombs. I understand the need for caution.
It’s not like I don’t want them to find bombs, guns, knives, and other weapons people might be sneaking onto a plane. I, for one, want to be in the same condition I was in when I arrived at the airport as when I deplane at my final destination.
There is no resolution to this scenario. If you’re going to fly out of Boston or any major airport, this is what it is. You’re going to have to exist in the land of the miserable, who examine us, the suspicious.
Maybe that’s what makes us read and follow the rules, arrive early, and treat one another civilly.
But beware. As of October 1, 2020, the ID requirements are changing. A regular driver’s license will no longer be accepted as a form of ID. Anyone 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another form of valid ID.
You can still get a standard driver’s license or opt for a REAL ID, a federal ID, by providing proof of citizenship or lawful presence (you are living in the US legally), a Social Security Number and proof of residency. All documents must be original and cannot be used to prove more than one requirement.
Both forms of ID cost the same.
If you’re going to do a lot of air travel, may I suggest TSA ✓®? (TSA Pre-check)
For $85 you will be able to, and I quote, “speed through security and not (have to) remove your: shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.” And you can do it for five years. Their tag line is:
Keep moving. TSA Pre✓® saves you time and stress.
So, I guess they are aware we poor weary travelers are stressed-out by all these security procedures. But there’s a catch, in small print:
“TSA uses unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen (sounds like the Catholic Church) through the airport. All travelers will be screened, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.”
Correction: you (US citizens, only) are not guaranteed to keep moving and reduce time and stress, but there’a better chance you will!
Or maybe you’re better off staying home.