Wednesday, June 11, 2008
the appearance of action
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of going through airport security (pre-clearance for flights bound for the United States) twice in about as many hours. I was on a flight that was cancelled, so they took us out through security - and by the time we had collected our bags, my colleague had called the travel agent and booked us on another flight, so we basically looped through the line and went back through security. On the second pass, the airline said they wouldn't book us in if we had to check our luggage (I am not sure if that was a time constraint issue . . . though as it turned out the plane didn't arrive in Ottawa for another 4 hours, so that doesn't seem quite accurate.) In any regard, on my second pass, I had my suitcase with me, whereas I had checked it on the way through before . . . and I had carefully put my liquids in a ziploc for clearance, but they TOOK MY HAIR STUFF because it was 150ml instead of the requisite 100. I was really annoyed (remember, this is after doing the thing involving taking my shoes off and my laptop out and filling out a customs card twice in as many hours . . . ) because, seriously, my extra 50ml of texturizing spray is not going to make our plane any less safe. Even if I was planning to make a bomb out of hair products and toothpaste, it would probably not be that extra inch of product that would make my devious plan a success. Obviously, we need airport security, and I can accept that I can't carry on my swiss army knife (which I got busted for the other week because I am an idiot and put it in the wrong make-up bag), but the shoe thing and the liquid thing are way more about the appearance of security - by the time those modes of security were implemented, the plots involving shoes and liquids had been foiled, and it is unlikely that anyone intent on doing damage is going to replicate these methods . . . but the general public must endure the arbitrary restrictions on their luggage (along with my personal favourite, the Heathrow one carry-on rule . . . which is awesome when you're transiting through on an airline that doesn't have that rule and are between two other airports that don't have that rule . . .). Ok, I am ranting, but I was supposed to arrive at Regan at 8pm last night, and got to Dulles at 2am, having walked barefoot through the metal detector twice, and stripped of my "trying to look more like a lawyer and less like a 22-year-old-kid" pre-meeting hair routine.