The Long and the Short of Airport Security

On my last trip abroad, I had the pleasure, and I use the word loosely, of traveling through four, different airports. You see flying used to be fun. In fact, flying was half the fun of getting to your destination.  No more. Enhanced security means it takes forever to get to your gate and once you are on the plane it doesn’t get better. You are in a cramped seat with little legroom, with people who have brought everything they own onboard to either save a few dollars or because they are afraid the airline will lose their luggage. Both are legitimate concerns, but the annoying result is that someone like me comes onboard with a small handbag and a laptop and there’s no room left in the overhead bin. In fact, someone probably has at least part of the backpack that’s under the seat in front of them drifting into my shrinking foot space. Planes are loaded with coughing passengers, loud noises, overworked flight attendants and just between us, I don’t think most of these planes have been properly cleaned since they were purchased.

But it’s only one of these things that I’m blogging about today: Security measures. Before someone says that we need security, I get that. I just don’t understand how so many people can take so long to get us through to our gates.

Now I don’t know where Orlando ranks in size among airports, but it’s not in the top ten. That’s where I embarked for my flight to New York. From the time I checked my bags until the time I got to the gate, one hour and fifteen minutes passed. They tell me I was lucky.

Now here’s the kicker. A week later I am flying between Paris’ Charles de Galle, the eighth busiest airport in the world, to Barcelona. This is an international flight, yet from the time I arrived till the time I reached my gate, and in spite of a slight language barrier, ten minutes passed. Yes. Ten minutes. All things being equal, Orlando had more security agents. I had the same routine at each airport: shoes off, jackets off, laptops out and visible. The check in line was almost non-existent in Paris, even though the flight was full and I was flying on Air France, the national carrier. I breezed through security, despite the fact that they examined my handbag and backpack – something they didn’t do in Orlando. And yet it took just ten minutes.

Why? I don’t know the answer to that, but those on my Paris to Barcelona flight say it’s routine to get through security quickly. What on earth happened here? I’m not just picking on Orlando. The same is true on every flight from any airport in this Country.

It was tough when I was younger; it’s much more difficult now. This is why many my age dread flying I see many, many road trips in my future.

I don’t think anyone at the TSA cares what I think, but if they do happen to read this, look into training in France. You will enjoy the vacation and maybe figure out how to make the experience better for all of us.

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