Alice’s Restaurant

May 8, 2007

Travel in the Post-Nine Eleven Era

Filed under: Day to Day Life, Research — aliceaudrey @ 12:44 am

Although I’ve been flying since I was a little kid, I haven’t been in the air since 911.  I had heard so much about how much harder it was to get through security that I was quite concerned.  Perhaps it was the time of day we flew, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.

The set up was a little different from I remembered, but not bad.  We started off in the line for the courtesy desk to check in.  But unlike when I was a kid, they didn’t take our bags, merely affixed tags and gave us boarding passes.  We then went through a line that had a machine that looked a lot like a CAT scan machine.  The ticket line was of normal length.  It took us a little less than half an hour to get through.  The CAT scan thing was even shorter.  We then went to the security screen in front of the concourse.

From what I’d heard this could be a nightmare.  I’ve seen the pictures online of women being touched way too personally and heard about having to take your shoes off and how all kinds of things were being confiscated.  The number of turnings in the roped off line were daunting, but only about a quarter of the way had people.  Of course it was between 4 am and 5 am at the time.

We were prepared, having not brought anything objectionable, and breezed through.  Except my mother who they took to the side and ran a wand over to confirm the metal detector had indeed only picked up her new artificial hip, which we were expecting.

While we were waiting for our first plane we my sister and I went hunting for breakfast, specifically looking for cinnamon rolls.  I swear there were nearly as many guards as passengers in the concourse.  The one I found most interesting was the one on a bicycle.  He peddled past us several times.

We had a two and a half hour layover in the Dallas airport.  That was a bit long for two hyper kids.  They filled most of the time by riding up and down on the escalators.  Then we took the train for the entire loop.  That was fun, except none of us remembered to bring a camera.  Oh well, I thought.  We could get pictures on the way back.

In Belize the customs agents sat behind tall desks and literally rubber-stamped our paperwork in a matter of minutes.  No computers anywhere, but very little hassle.  They didn’t bother to look in our luggage.

The way back was another matter.  We only had an hour layover and in that hour had to collect our luggage, get through USA customs, pass through security again, and change gates. 

The plane landed on time, or we wouldn’t have had a chance.  I made sure we were among the first in our section to get off the plane.  Yes, bulldozer Alice at work.  The lines everywhere along the way moved fairly quickly, though the pilots and stewardesses kept butting in ahead of us.  However, with the time pressure I didn’t have a chance to transfer some of the stuff from my carry on to my suitcase.

The guy who took the last couple of ounces of my sunscreen looked so gleeful when he pointed at the label at the bottom of the container.  It doesn’t matter how much is actually in the container, only how much COULD be in it.  I know why they do it that way, but it’s nothing to crow about.  They took my applesauce, but left my Del Monty fruit cup.  Considering how unnatural those fruit cups look, you’d think they’d be far more suspect.  Now I have a lone fruit cup sitting in my refrigerator that I doubt anyone will ever eat because none of us felt like eating it on the plane.

They took my water bottle in the airport in Belize, but it’s easy to buy more both on the planes and in the airports.

We couldn’t get a cart because they said it would be too slow.  There’s my mother running through the concourse with a cane.  I had no idea she could move so fast so soon after surgery.  We took the train.  It was too dark out to take pictures and we were all too anxious about getting off at the right stop anyway.

They were already loading the plane when we got there.  Only a handful of people were still in line ahead of us, but about a dozen people got on the plane after we sat down.  It was very close, but we all made it, and didn’t even lose any luggage.

There was one other change from what I remember from before.  Airlines no longer serve those trays of food for lunch or dinner, let alone for free.  What they offered was pathetically small and way over priced.  For instance $4 for a bagel with cheese and ham.  Bring your own.  Just don’t include any applesauce.


1 Comment »

  1. Hi Alice, I’m happy it was not more difficult than that. Coming back from the Uk the other day we had to take off our shoes. Nobody before us had to, but when it came to our turn the guy said, “shoes off please.” My husband asked why the didn’t tell you in advance so that people could be ready. He answered that they were only doing spot checks. “Oh, I said, so we look like terrorists?” Smiling sarcastically. He smiled back, “No you don’t like terrorist.” I guess they do it so that they can not be accused of profiling.
    What I did find amusing was that once you past all the security, there was a huge sign saying that everything you bought from that point on ( at the duty free shops, of course) you could take on the plane. Hah! Security and business obviously were not getting along well.

    Comment by Anastasia — May 8, 2007 @ 5:40 am

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