Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pat Downs, Bright Socks, and Cheeky TSA: How to Get Through Airport Security

If you fly, you know what the single most terrifying and reassuring part of getting on a plane is. Airport Security. We've all been there. In fact, I've had my fair share of pat downs. In this post I'm going to give you some of my Airport Security tips and tricks, and also one of my more interesting encounters with this special task force.

If you've traveled by plane recently you know there are a few options to get through security successfully.

Option 1: (You're more likely to win the lottery than complete Option 1.) Make it through the security check point with all of your belongings still in tact without having to submit to a search.
Don't wear any metal, nothing even resembling metal. (I once wore a plastic hair clip to avoid the metal rule, and was subject to a search of my head because it looked too much like a weapon in the scan.)
Be calm, at all times.
Have all of your liquids ready in an "approved" Ziploc bag as soon as you enter the check point.
Have shoes that are easily put on and taken off.
Just don't even attempt jewelry.

Option 2: (More likely than Option 1, and my most used option.) Make it through the security check point with most of your belongings still in tact, after having to submit to a pat down, and in the process of finding your missing shoe.
The way I achieve this option is by;
Forgetting to take my shoes off.
Searching for my liquids while taking my shoes off, therefore causing yet another back up.
Staying calm until they've taken my shoes.
Wearing minimal jewelry, and heaven forbid an underwire bra.
Just generally breathing.

Option 3: (Least likely option.) TSA wrestles you to the ground while confiscating your bags, and carries you away without so much as a glance from a fellow patron of the long security check point lines.
Honestly, I've never tried this option. I value my passport too much for this.
Just stay calm and for the love of all things Holy DO NOT say the word "bomb."

Cheeky Airport Security

This "adventure" took place while trying to fly out of Heathrow. Luckily everyone spoke English. While standing in line I had all of my liquids out,  along with all of my electronics and I was devoid of any jewelry or jacket. I was ready to go through. At some point I had noticed that most everyone else was going through without taking their shoes off, so I went for it. My mother was ahead of me and got through just fine, along with my aunt who escaped without any extra attention. At first I had a problem getting my suitcase into the bin to send through the scanners. Then I COULDN'T find my Kindle to send through with my bag. I was suddenly holding up the line, and beginning to panic. 

Once everything was finally put in place I walked up to the medal detector and got "nodded" through. (They nodded at me to walk through because talking is just too much effort.) Then I heard it....the dreaded dinging of the metal detector. They give me the once over and decide it's the shoes, my converse that I travel religiously with. I quickly divest myself of my shoes.

Upon taking off my shoes I realized that I had put on neon pink socks that morning. Both a female and male Security agents screamed that I was blinding them. I then put my shoes into the bin the security guy had offered me. I had to stand there and watch as he took my shoes away. Then the same Security woman asked if I had anything sharp on me. My response, "Not that I'm aware of." She said, "Oh, we've got a cheeky one." then she started the pat down.

I eventually got through security back to my bag that was left on the conveyor belt blocking other bags from getting through. Keep in mind I'm still without shoes. I got all my things back into my bag, my coat back on and still my shoes were nowhere in sight. I stood there for what felt like centuries searching other people's bins for my shoes. When they finally arrived, I took no time snatching them off the line and putting them on.

When I was finally ready to leave the security area I looked up and saw a man asking if he could go through his bag before Security did. They said no and very calmly escorted him away. It appeared as though he chose a more civil version of Option 3. Right then I was very happy that I chose Option 2. Even though it can get very bothersome at times it will NEVER be as bad as Option 3.

Moral of the story: Security is tedious and stressful, but every time they stop someone who intends to hurt airport goers I forgive them completely.

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