Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I can relate...

To this dilbert.blog entry...

It is a little nuts at the "security" line sometimes.  Last week I was flying from Boston to Augusta ME (only took me 7 hours! And they did not even charge me extra).  I went through security without a hitch (no gels, no liquids of any sort) taking my carry on suitcase and backpack right through security.

Then I realized I had no cash and the taxi's in Augusta ME, well, they are not "state of the art" if you know what I mean (the name of the cab company is Al's Taxi - sometimes Al in his own Taxi picks you up).  So, I looked around for a cash machine - none to be found.  I knew there were some down by baggage claim though and since my flight was so delayed - I had plenty of time.

So out I went, downstairs, get money, get back into the security line.

This time - my bag (which had not been opened or touched really since last time through) was pulled.  Apparently there was a suspicious looking "something" in there.  So they started going through it (this was the last night of a week long trip, nothing like digging through someone's dirty laundry).  Couldn't find anything.  I mentioned that "last time through it was OK, not sure what it could be".  Well - that was not the right thing to say.  Obviously I was questioning their veracity.  They sent my luggage and laundry through one piece at a time.  I decided to just stand there and smile nice at that point.  Nothing found - they dug and zipped and unzipped and searched and sent the bag through - everything.

Never could find what they were looking for - so it was deemed "safe" at that point.

And it only took about 10 minutes - must have been a slow night for them.



Anonymous Andrew said....

According to mapblast, it only takes about 2-1/2 hours to drive that from Boston, MA to Autusta ME (162 Miles). Taking 7 hours throught airports and all that goes with that is one of the reasons that I much prefer to drive (or take a train) anytime that I can get there in one day. Just take a couple of books on tape (CD), put on the cruise control and relax the whole way.

Tue Oct 17, 08:12:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Oh, I am so driving next time - that is a done deal for sure.

Tue Oct 17, 08:13:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Marco Gralike said....

Ohhh, Tom great post....

That was just the right article to post, for someone who is going from Holland to the States (OOW 2006) and who was already worried about rigid security rules in the States...


Tue Oct 17, 08:25:00 AM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

I find the stories of the children who have "airport problems" because ther names are on the no-fly list strangely comforting -- it throws such a sharp light on the the reasoning ability of the TSA "operatives" that you realise that rational thought has nothing to do with this process at all. All you can do is meekly submit.


They ought to publish that list so that parents can know in advance what first names should now be avoided for their newborn.

It also seems to me that there ought to be some fun to be had from going through security dressed as famous revolutionaries/bad people -- I'm sure a Fidel Castro costume ought to get you pulled aside, and maybe a Hitler one as well. It's make a great documentary. Volunteers?

Tue Oct 17, 09:20:00 AM EDT  

Blogger gandolf989 said....

i went to Guam once, and when I was in bagggage claim the German Sheppard that was sniffing bags gave mine an extra sniff, probably because he smelled my Siberian huskies, whose fur was all over my bag. So I got to watch customs in Guam spend 10 minutes pulling everything out of my bags and then walk away when nothing was found.

A worse experience happened in Charlotte. I was in the back of an MD-80, by the time I had gotten off the door was closed for my next flight, which was accross the hall. I asked the gate agent to let me on and she wouldn't. My first flight was delayed in Miami because there was a lightning storm over the airport. We went back and for for five minutes, the plane pushed back, and I was just about to walk away when she said, "well I could have let you on, but i didn't want to!!!" So I then demanded free miles, a calling card and a free dinner, which i got.

Tue Oct 17, 10:01:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Steve said....

In those pre-911 days, I had the guys at the Amsterdam Airport ask me to wait a couple of minutes for them to get people over - no, I was not in trouble - but they wanted to run a contest to see if someone could figure out what was in my back pack from the image on the screen.

Being a good sport, I did.

The fifth guy who came over - who looked like he was a lifer - took a one second glance and told them what it was. A compact cordless screwdriver.

Tue Oct 17, 11:37:00 AM EDT  

Blogger jimk said....

We were returning from the
Cayman Islands (to the US) and went through customs. My son (9) decided to be a wiseenhimer with the Customs Agent when they ask you questions where you show your passports. So the customs agent forgot to stamp the piece of paper needed after you picked up your luggage. So the next customs agent was going to make us go back through the system. Fortunately, he just let us go on. (no I didn't have any Cuban cigars in my luggage.)

Tue Oct 17, 11:47:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

wanted to run a contest to see if someone could figure out what was in my back pack

Same happened to me in July - so customs officer put a hand in my bag and yelled "Ouch!!" - "yes, officer, it's a cactus" :))

Tue Oct 17, 02:43:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Dougie McGibbon said....

Many, many years ago, I was flown to South Korea to install some systems. At the time, there were student riots and I had been given all sorts of dire warnings - look smart, cut your hair, don't argue with any guards...

As I passed through customs, the customs guard grasped my case - "You carry - knives?", "No", "guns?", "No", "explosives?", "No".
The guard gave a disapointed sigh and handed me my case back - totally uninspected.

I got the distinct feeling that if I'd been carying a powerful handgun, he would have carefully inspected it, noting the make and the build quality - possibly calling in some colleagues to admire it before handing it back to me!

Tue Oct 17, 05:25:00 PM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

I'm reminded of the very lengthy immigration interview that a friend of my brother went through, after answering the question, "Do you plan to attempt to overthrow the Government of the United States by force?" with the answer, "Not sole purpose of visit".

These people have no, repeat no, sense of humour at all.

Tue Oct 17, 05:43:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Noons said....

The guard gave a disapointed sigh and handed me my case back - totally uninspected

In Kuwait's main airport back in the early 80s, I got to xray security just before boarding my flight to Europe. With my camera bag full of lenses and cameras.

The guy in the xray box pointed at me and I found myself looking into a gun barrel while a "moustache bigger than mine" picked my lenses, complete with both caps.

"What's this?", waving them right under my nose.
"A lens", I said innocently.
"What's a lens?" was the reply with the gun barrel getting closer.

Picked one of them, very slowly. Pulled the caps off, making sure they didn't "click" loudly: just in case...

Showed him through the glasss.
Beaming smile: "Oh, photo! Take one,take one!". So I put a lens on the camera, clicked the shutter in front of the moustache.
No film.
It worked: I'm still alive.
I think...

Tue Oct 17, 10:22:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous RobH said....

Once of my first flights out of Canada was to a conference San Diego for IOUG (where I got Tom to sign my book).

While entering the the customs officer asked me some routine questions (it was 6 in the morning) but when he asked where I was born I replied without thinking "A hospital"

I wasn't trying to be funny, just came out that way. Needless to say the next 15 min was painful

Wed Oct 18, 12:16:00 PM EDT  

Blogger TheHost said....


The reason you were picked the second time through is that you left and tried to come back in. That is an automatic flag - you automatically get selected.

The moral of the story is - only go through once.


Mon Oct 23, 10:11:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Backpacking Info said....

I hear ya. I'm an airline pilot and the hassles we have to put up with with these geniuses is amazing. I was once going in to the airport to pick up some paperwork so I had my normal clothes on, but I had my company ID and airport security badge with me. The woman at security told me that I needed to take my shoes off. I showed her my badge and informed her that they were my work shoes. She replied "Are you at work? No, so take them off." Unbelievable.

Mon Aug 20, 12:18:00 AM EDT  


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