Departing London/ Arriving in the US

I love to people watch and the airport is one of the best places to see all kinds of characters.

There was a young woman in front of us.  Her suitcase was gigantic and it was overweight.  She had to pull out a bunch of stuff out to make it less than 50 lbs.  I wondered why she didn’t wear some of the clothes.  Her shorts barely covered her bum, her see thru tank top was tiny.  She did have a really cute hat and shoes on.  But I think some pants and a shirt would have helped her with the baggage weight problem.  Just a thought…

Since we have to go through security I propose that we all wear flannel pajamas and slippers.  We’ll be comfortable, warm and it will make security a breeze.  But I can see some people wearing negliges if I suggest that.

Back to departing London.  I am amused by how each country sets its own rules for security.  In the US we need to remove our shoes but not in Europe.  Didn’t the shoe bomber fly from Europe to the US?  That just doesn’t make sense to me.  In the US we are not going through some x-ray machines but not abroad.

After going through security I was waiting for my husband and so they decided to swab my bags for bombs.  They just swab the bag and run it through a machine.  It only takes a few seconds. I know they make this ramdon but I don’t think I fit into any high risk profile.  I don’t see it as an invasion of my privacy but I see it as a waste of time and resources.

You can breath easily once you are through security, board your flight, sit for countless hours and then you arrive in the US.  We went through Newark this time.  It was my first time at this airport.  The passport control was fairly quick but they only had a handfull  of people working.  If they had more flights coming in, that would not have been adequate.  If we want security we should be investing in it.  Where are the 9/11 fees going to?

Newark’s Customs is very thorough.  It seems that everyone on my plane either had their bags x-rayed or searched.  It makes it a much longer process than just going through.  But since I didn’t have anything to hide there was no problem.  The girl with the overweight bag had her suitase hand searched.  Poor thing, it probably took an hour.

After you exit customs you must go through security once again.  If you checked your bags you must put them in a belt and they will get it to your destination (hopefully).  I don’t understand why we go through security again.  We never left security but I guess you could grab someone’s bag and take it with you.  Who knows.  This time I was selected for a body scan x-ray.  Not too time consuming but always a bother.  Then we get to sit in the terminal waiting for our flight to Chicago.

So many steps, so much security but somehow people know how to overcome it.  How do we balance security and comfort?  Personal liberty and the common good?  Who knows, but I do know that I prefer to be greeted by friendly agents who treat me kindly.  Even though they are in the security business they are dealing with people who are on vacation and they should try making our experience the best it can be.  Plus for any college graduate who is looking for a job, the TSA is hiring officers.  Hopefully you had some PR, marketing or psychology classes and you can make a difference.

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