Scenes From an Airport Security Line (by guest blogger DROBBSKI)
(or, So’s Your Face Slowpokes!)
A relatively young couple with four children stood in front of me in the security line at National Airport this morning taking for-ev-er to clear the TSA security checkpoint. Each kid had two carryons, the parents had two carryons each, and the father also carried two cats in two separate small pet containers. The family clearly hadn’t navigated a TSA checkpoint before. First they forgot to take off their shoes, then the kids forgot to take off their coats, then the mother left her ID at the ticket and ID checker lady, then they forgot the “pet tickets” to allow their kids on the flight,…etc.
About the time I start fuming about pet carriers as blatant violations of the “one carryon, one personal item policy” the TSA screener asked the father to take the cats out of the carrier to pass through the metal detector. “Oh no, this one is an outdoor cat” the man said, pointing to the case marked “Fluffy.” Nobody other than the father understood what that meant, because the TSA employee and rest of us schmoes in line behind the family all muttered “huh?” at the same time. Apparently, as an “outdoor cat,” Fluffy doesn’t much like her carrier and can be a bit feisty when set free. The discussion continued for what seemed like an eternity. We schmoes grew more antsy by the second. One of the schmoes even asked aloud if cats qualify as “luggage” or “personal items.” Fourteen pairs of eyes rolled at that one.
Just when we schmoes were about to erupt in open mutiny, TSA supervisor lady came to the rescue. She allowed the father to take Fluffy into the supplemental screening cage — a small area used to wand down people who refuse to take off their shoes or have pacemakers, separated from the rest of the security checkpoint by six-feet tall opaque walls. But, he would still have to remove Fluffy so TSA could screen the pet carrier. At this point, father said “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” but, presented with no alternative, he acquiesced. The family proceeded through screening, the father entered the glass walled cage with Fluffy’s carrier.
Problem solved, right? The line finally started moving, but we schmoes wanted revenge for the nine extra minutes of our life wasted by a family of six with twelve bags and two cats. Little did we know revenge was just around the corner, separated from us by six-feet tall walls. Moments later we hear tremendous hissing and shouts of “uh oh, oh no, oh no, oh no!” (Not exactly what you want to hear in an airport.) All of the schmoes still in line turn at once. Fluffy is out of her carrier, hissing and scratching, and running all over the sequestration area as the father and the TSA rep try in vain to catch her.