Friday, July 13, 2007

Fly High, Fly Free, But Don't Fly Southwest!!!

As so the lead singer of the band, Samiam wrote on my T-shirt back in 1996....

So anyways, I love Southwest Airlines because of the free flights; they are great. But... What is up with people and the new security rules at the airport?

I packed my bag Tuesday morning and ran to the airport. After rushing through the parking lot, I proceeded to the security line which was way massive up here. I went through the security no problem, completely forgetting to take out my liquids!!! No problem no issues... nice and safe anyway, not like I had anything was in my bag that could cause a problem.

At least that I didn't notice until after... I had this off brand Leatherman tool with like a six inch blade on it that I tossed into the suitcase from my golf bag over the previous weekend in Tahoe. Sweet! I boarded a plane with a something a little more dangerous than a box cutter. Makes you feel safe, don't it. No way was I going to try that twice. I checked the bag and blade this morning.

I fly a lot. And all you hear in a security line is that you have to have your liquids in a quart sized back with no more than 3 oz of one substance. It's a simple freaking rule. But every other trip or so, I see the lady, in her mid 50's with her friends, heading to Vegas with their hand decorated T-Shirts with little dice, cards and chips COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS to the countless rules and regulations they have at the security line when it comes to liquids. I see "the lady" stereotype in question, getting her ass hauled out of the security area, like one of bin Laden's henchmen because she's got 14 to 15 full sized shampoo bottles that she cannot live without down in Vegas for two days. And she has that goofy, nervous grin on her face with the giggles like she did nothing wrong as she says to the security officer, "Why I didn't know, I hardly fly!" Meanwhile every businessman and woman is pissed that she stopped the whole freaking track because she is stupid. The businesswomen look even more pissed when this happens and are more likely to call the "lady" stupid under their breathe.

The other thing in security that happens is when the computer geek goes through. Dude's got like 4 laptops or video cameras and he doesn't take them out of the bag like he is supposed to. This guy is always in his twenties, in jeans, mostly white but sometimes Asian, harmless as a butterfly. His bag gets stopped like this for the electronic bullshit he didn't pull out or because he has a Dr. Pepper stuffed in the bag. No it's not a Pepsi or Coke, it's a Dr. Pepper!! Not Diet either, a full fledged Dr. Pepper. And he almost cries when they take the can away from him. He stairs blankly back at the conveyor belt as he is being frisked with that metal detecting rod at his lost Dr. Pepper that is thrown in the trash. You know, midway in flight, when he had one of those laptops open watching Lord of the Rings with his noise canceling headphones on, he was going to crack that Dr. Pepper open. You almost feel bad for him. It's really the story with in the story that is lost during travel.

The final guy that annoys me is nervous guy. I am guilty of having this guy's tendencies when I fly with family because I have a system and I don't like shit changed last minute because of someone having to pee or because they are nervous. Anyhow I saw this guy today and I almost coughed up my latte at the gate. Dude hits security line. It's like 4:50 AM. Flight is at 6AM. I know which flight he is on because I can see his boarding pass. He's on my flight. So nervous over the security. I felt like punching him because he felt the line was too long and moving slow. There was maybe 30 people backed up. Lot's of geeky Asians and older women flying to Vegas. Anyhow... I get away from him and get through security. I see my gate and in Phoenix they have these rolling platforms, like flat escalators. I get on one of those and walk to my gate, looking for a Starbucks the whole way. (I found one with no line!!!) I am almost to the gate when up the middle of carpet away from the conveyor belt, the nervous dude is running and panting loudly. I am riding the belt totally relaxed and he is barreling up to the gates like he stole something. I see my gate then I see Starbucks, order, then head over to my "A" Section. I am like seventh. Big board and monitor say, "FLIGHT NUMBER --- SACRAMENTO 6:00 BOARDS AT 5:45" It's like 5:20. He finally finds us and heads to the lady at the counter. "Um..." he says, "Is this Flight --- to Sacramento?" The lady is like, yeah... as she points. Clearly she is doing something else more important than answering a stupid question. "When do I board?" He says... She just points at the clear block lettering on the panel next to the door. "Oh, "he says, "Well... Well... I'm gonna go get a cup of coffee or something over there and I'll be back." Pointing frantically at Starbucks (which still has no line) That's when I choked on the latte. What was he doing? Threatening to come back and ask more questions? I couldn't believe it. Dude was freaking the whole way up. Definitely didn't need any coffee.

People watching is so much fun...

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