Might Be In Over My Head…Maybe?

So traveling via airport was pretty interesting and this is coming from someone who traveled not too long after 9-11 and armed military were patrolling the airport.

So not only did I have to show my ID and boarding pass for the privilege of ascending the stairs to security, where normally you then just show your boarding pass, but again at the security I had to have my ID scrutinized. Once past, I proceeded to remove my shoes, take out my iPad, take off my jacket, remove my quart bag of “liquids”, then my jewelry and I thought I was finally prepared. I walked into the “tube”, assumed the position with my hands in the air feeling rather exposed when I was then asked to strip more…okay so it was my scarf. But I had made it through or so I thought. I then went through a pat down and my hands got a test of some sort. All the while my personal items are being shoved through the shoot. Okay…a little more screening than normal but I was through and in the gate area and I knew that would be the last time until the return flight.

Well I was wrong. At Philadelphia at the boarding gate, it was announced from the “gate keeper” that TSA would be doing random bag checks and ID checks of those boarding the plane once they had entered the terminal. At this point, after the above and other small incidents trying to get on the plane, I figured the odds that I would be the random person were pretty good. I escaped thanks to a lady that had blatantly cut in front of me as I was boarding. Luckily she took the hit for me and I must admit part of me was thinking, “bet she wishes she hadn’t cut in front of me now.” In the end, made it safe and sound to New England.

Here are some tips I have learned over my years of travel and in the last few recent trips:

1. Really DO give yourself plenty of time. Planes usually board about 30 minutes before take off and if you are not there in time, flights can and will give away your seat. I have seen it happen several times, even on this last flight. Getting through security is taking longer and longer. So getting there at least two hours early for domestic flights and three for international is highly recommended. Not only does it give you plenty of time to get through everything but also allows for the unexpected.

2. DO weigh your bags before you go to save time. The 50lb rule is a hard rule so if at all possible, weigh your bag before you get to the airport, shift luggage items to make the limit and should you get there and find out your bag is overweight, look and see what heavy things, like shoes, can be moved to your carry-on.

3. DON’T pack liquids that are over 3.5 ounces or electrical equipment like flat irons, hair dryers, curlers in your carry-on. You will get dinged and you have two options at that point – trash it or check your carry-on.

4. DO be prepared for anything and DON’T panic. There are certain activities in life that it can be assumed something will go wrong. Weddings are a guarantee but so is airport traveling. If you know that and are prepared for that reality then when something does go wrong, it can be less stressful. But the worst thing you can do is panic because solutions won’t come at that point.

For example, on this recent trip to New England, I knew our checked bag felt heavy, right around the 50lbs mark. This was confirmed once we put it on the scale…53lbs. So my simple solution was to take it off and adjust some items. I was prepared for this. Normally we would have weighed our bag before we got there but we couldn’t find our scale. But I had a plan. My husband wanted to wait to see if they would let us through (I had been through this several times and in all my 29 plus years of travel, only once when I was at 50.5lbs did they let me through.) Okay, so when they didn’t let it through, I shifted his shoes and my shoes to our carry-on and some thin clothing to the checked bag. 49.7lbs!

All in all, my best advice for handling the airport is to plan in advance to avoid surprises and panic situations.

And I would like to shout out on this November 11, to all our Veterans, “thank you for all you have done to make our amazing country safe, for protecting our rights and freedoms with your lives and for being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. Words can never express the depth of gratitude you are owed and deserve.”

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