Friday, June 18, 2010

Clueless Travelers

Tuesday we flew home from a conference in Las Vegas. Curbside check-in was a breeze and only a few minutes later our IDs had been checked and we were in the process of going through the security check. (I'd like to point out that the TSA folks were exceptionally courteous and efficient - a rare combination.) I politely invited a lady to move ahead of me in the line since Lourie was behind her, thus allowing us to stay together. Boy, was that a mistake! Despite the fact that she had on NO excessive accessories (large belt, jewelry, etc) that needed to be put through x-ray, had no laptop or other large electronic device that needed to be removed from her luggage and was wearing slip-on shoes she was the SLOWEST person I have seen in the security line in ages. As she removed each shoe it was given a careful examination with commentary on the flaws she discovered along with lamentations over the lack of quality in their construction. This was all done while standing in one spot - heaven forbid we slide our belongings towards the X-ray machine in the process and make some degree of progress! Then she had to remove her hat (with even more commentary) and finally made it through the metal detector. In the epoch that it took her to remove two shoes and a hat I removed my laptop and placed it in a bin, put my wallet and Blackberry in my bag, removed my shoes (cross-trainers, not slip-ons) and had everything on the belt, ready to pass through x-ray. I was reasonably confident that by the time I passed through the metal detector she would have slipped on her shoes, plopped on her hat, grabbed her suitcase and gone on about her business. WRONG. She was standing with her suitcase blocking the exit from the X-ray machine, slowly collecting her shoes and hat, then carefully putting them back on. I grabbed my bag, laptop and shoes and moved around her to the "dressing" area. I was re/un-packed with shoes tied by the time she managed to sashay past. Despite all the written and verbal instruction provided by TSA this poor lady was so clueless that it must certainly be painful! I'm certain that if they had an "experienced traveler" line she would have made that choice.

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