Dearest Rachel –
I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to the process of checking my way into an airport – until such day that travel itself becomes boring and routine (may that day never come – it’ll be time to come home and stay home at that point) – but today’s ordeal had to be one of the swiftest and cleanest passages through that I’ve ever experienced. You’d think it would be that much worse in the middle of the day (okay, yes, it’s still fairly early by workday standards, but 9:30 isn’t exactly ‘red-eye’ time), especially on a Friday, when leisure travelers like me head out to get a jump on the weekend, but honestly, the lines for security and all that were moving as smoothly as I’ve had to deal with.
Maybe it’s due to the fact that most travelers at this point are leisure travelers, as opposed to business travelers; the latter are still preferring to use Zoom, or something similar for their face-to-faces. When everyone is looking forward to wherever it is they’re going, everyone is happy – or at least, less disagreeable – and the whole process is so much more pleasant for everyone.
Granted, there was this one moment when the TSA agent had me going – “Sir, you need to be wearing a mask” – and I had momentary flashbacks to the issue I had to deal with at the Basel airport, before I realized she was referring to the fact that my mask had Alfred E. Neuman’s face on it, and she was just pulling my leg. You always hear that security personnel – especially at an airport – don’t have a sense of humor, or aren’t allowed to show it. Well, that’s just not true. You – and they – just have to joke about safer things than bombs and hijackings, that’s all.
I should mention that not everyone here are leisure travelers, though. The fellow behind me in the security line commented on my laptop backpack, even as I was grumbling about having to all but completely unpack it to run things through the x-ray machine. While he expressed his approval of my bag, he talked about packing his laptop in a snug little bag within his checked luggage (so it wouldn’t get damaged en route). He also pointed out how my passport case was too easy for someone to snatch, as well as reiterating my dad’s advice to keep my wallet in my front pocket. I retorted with the same comment I gave Dad about that strategy: that way, if someone tries to pick your pocket, they have to at least let you enjoy the process.
“Naw… you do that, they’ll just stab you.” He mentioned that he’d been in Iraq, as if that explained anything.
“Well, if a pickpocket’s just gonna loot my corpse, what does it matter where I put my wallet?”
I don’t recall his answer to that, although he must have said something. He’s still alive, after all.
Most of the time, when I fly on United (and therefore find myself in Terminal 1), I have to take the subterranean walkway to the ‘C’ gates. This has to be the first time I recall being at the ‘B’ gates, and the one I need to be at is literally right in front of the screening area. I’m at the gate, and off my feet, in record time.
While there’s no denying the fact that electronica has made life easier – even with (maybe especially with) a situation as bureaucratically fraught as airline travel – there’s never going to be a point where paper ceases to be a necessary part of the process. I can type in my confirmation number off of my email from my travel agent, but the kiosk still spits out a paper boarding pass for the folks at the gate to scan – they can’t seem to do a QR code, as far as I can tell.
And I have papers for once I get off the plane in a few hours, too:
These are the vouchers to get me from the airport to the hotel – as well as for the hotel itself – and from the hotel to the pier tomorrow, as well as from the pier to the airport next Sunday. Literally every bit of travel I might need or want is included in this booking; thank heaven for travel agencies who think of all this, so I don’t have to.
Oh, and as long as I’m talking about papers, I should mention that I was rummaging through the suitcase before the folks came to pick me up. You’re not going to believe what I found – or maybe you would, knowing us.
That’s a ticket from the last shore excursion that brought us to the airport when we were on the Liberty of the Seas with Ellen back in 2007. In fact, you can see it’s Ellen’s ticket; don’t know what I was doing with it, and I doubt she wants it as a souvenir at this point. Still, I left it at the house, if she happens to change her mind.
Anyway, they’re calling my group, so I’ll need to be heading out. Talk to you later, and wish me luck; I’m gonna need it.