In honor of April Fools Day, here’s a list of foolish and foolhardy actions that are a foolproof way to make getting through airport security as painfully slow as possible:
• Wear metal studded pants. You can’t take them off and put them through the metal detector, so they’re going to have to wand you. What were you thinking?
• Leave liquids in your carry on bags. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know about the security directive limiting liquids and gels in carry on items. Even if you’ve missed it, there are explanatory signs located before you get into the security line. It’s way too late when you see the screeners pulling your bags off the conveyor belt.
• Talk non-stop on your cell phone. I love talking on the phone as much as the next person (maybe even more), but it really holds things up when you are trying to put your bags on the conveyor belt, take off your jacket and shoes, take your laptop out of its bag and place it in a separate bin, and take out your packet of liquid/gels, and do ALL those things with ONE HAND because you can’t hang up the phone long enough to get through the security check point.
• **Complain about crew members and airport employees going to the front of the line. ** For a while, airports had dedicated security lines for crew members and airport workers. Because these lines were frequently under used during much of the day, most airports have adopted a policy that all lines will be open to everyone, and instituted a policy to move employees to the front of the line. Becoming aggressive about it is practically guaranteeing that your bags are going to be searched. If you’re that hostile and aggressive to a crew member on the ground, it raises a question about what your behavior will be like in the air. You may not think it’s fair, but you’re going to have to learn to deal with it.
• Keep your pocket watch, cell phone, rolls of quarters, and bike chain in your pocket. That doorway that you have to walk through is a metal detector. All that stuff in your pocket is NOT going to make it through. The people in line behind you are going to be groaning as you take one item after another out of your pocket. Instead, take these things out of your pocket BEFORE you reach the metal detector, place it in a bin to go on the conveyor belt, and walk metal-free through the doorway.
• Argue with the TSA agent. I know this one is hard, and sometimes it does seem like they are dumber than dirt. You may even be right. But they are the ones who have control (situational power), and your life will go much smoother if you just play nice.
• Make jokes about security or talk about security breaches. TSA will take them seriously, and you’ll likely find yourself detained by a bunch of people with guns. “Hi, Jack” has never been funny; it’s just stupid.
• Act aggressively. Menacing and intimidating behavior may be an assault. Pushing and shoving may be battery. You can find yourself arrested before you even make it through security, so think about whether you really need to take that route.
• Get drunk and disorderly. Well, actually, even if you’re just drunk and not disorderly, you’re likely not going to make it through security. Federal law prohibits airlines from boarding and transporting anyone who appears to be drunk. If you can’t make it through security without a problem, chances are you won’t be able to board your flight. Security will detain you right there at the check point rather than risk a problem in the boarding area.
• Put your baby in a bin on the conveyor belt to go through x-ray screening. If I have to explain why this one is wrong, you probably aren’t ready for kids.
While I hope you get a chuckle out of this list, let me assure you that these behaviors are real. I have seen all these examples occur. Frequently. When I go to work for my next trip, I know that one or more of these examples will occur.