Archive for Thursday, October 10, 2002

Does this look like the face of a terrorist?

October 10, 2002

I'm not a criminal, but I sure felt like one on my recent trip to Arizona.

I walked through the boarding security gate at Kansas City International Airport and the alarm sounded. Before I knew it, I had several people swarming around me, telling me to step aside. I had to stand with my arms out to the sides as a woman ran some kind of monitor over every inch of my body. It was very embarrassing, especially since she couldn't get the alarm to sound.

Another woman was asking if I had a laptop in my carry-on bag. I did, and it needed to be removed so they could scan that, too, but Miss Security Woman was making me sit down and raise my feet off the ground so she could continue scanning me for whatever illegal device they thought I might have, and I was a little tied up at that particular moment. The other woman finally came over and grouchily asked if she could take the laptop out of my bag, so I gave her permission to do so.

There I was with my feet up in the air when the alarm finally sounded. The buckles on my shoes were the culprit, so I was asked to remove them, and she scanned them with her little machine. She took them over to the X-ray machine and ran them through it before I finally got to put them back on my feet.

About an hour later, I left the boarding area for a little while. I learned my lesson, though. I removed my shoes before I stepped back through the gate to re-enter, and I left my laptop with my fellow travelers. Whew! No alarm this time.

Lo and behold, on the return trip from Arizona, I got buzzed again. I wasn't sure why, because I had already taken my shoes off and the laptop was out of the bag.

The Arizona security person was much nicer about the incident, and she was the only one I had to deal with, instead of a swarm of people hovering over me.

This guard ran her scanner over me, and it beeped when it got to my watch and also my bracelet. So, she ran the scanner over me again and said I was free to go. Funny, I had my watch on in Kansas City, too, but it didn't trip the alarm.

Needless to say, I made it back to Kansas without further incident. The trip was great. The weather was a little chilly, but we learned a lot and brought back some good ideas to use in the future.

I've certainly learned my lesson when traveling by airplane. Next time I have to board a plane, I'm going barefoot.

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