Saturday, August 22, 2009

Avoid 911 With The 411 On 311

We travel a great deal. I’ve been through the security routine countless times. You would think I would know better than to wear a belt but a couple years ago, I decided that if I wore a pair of loose pants on our trip, it would be more comfortable and would give me a little space for those extra pounds we tend to tack on during vacation. Needless to say, it required a belt. The buckle wasn’t very big so I thought it would make it through the metal detector without a problem. I was wrong.

The female security guard came over and asked me to step on the mat with the little feet drawn in white and spread my arms. I told her I was sure it was my belt but she had to wand me anyway. Sure enough as she passed it over the buckle it went off.

“You’ll have to remove your belt,” she said.

“I can’t,” I told her. “If I do, my pants are going to slide down.”

Without the least bit of compassion she said, “It’s that or we have to go into one of the private rooms.”

Bob is standing by the Cinnabon case tapping his foot. Now I know if I don’t hurry here, he’s going to buy a Cinnabon and send his sugar numbers sky high. So I removed my belt and hung onto my pants.

“Arms out,” she said.

“My pants will fall,” I said.

She folded her arms and stared me down. I put my arms out and prayed. The wand passed quickly out to the tips of my fingers, down and up one leg and started down and up the other as I held my breath hoping to make middle big enough to hold the pants up until she finished. Just as she started up the second leg, I had to exhale. I could feel my pants begin to slide—embarrassment was only a moment away. Just as they were about to let go, she caught the wand in a belt loop and yelled, “Gotcha!”

I truly think she enjoyed the challenge.

You can avoid an emergency going through security by following a few simple steps:
The most important thing to remember right now is the 311. Simply stated it’s only 3 oz each of liquids and gels that can all fit into a 1 qt. see-through plastic Ziploc bag per person. Prepare this ahead of time and remember the 311 rule only applies to your carry-on.

As you are waiting your turn in line at security, begin emptying your pockets. Bring along a little bag to toss it in and then it can go in your carry-on to go through the machine. Stuff your belt into the bag as well. Don’t where a shirt with metal buttons.

Remove your jacket, or sweater, or over-blouse—anything that looks like a jacket. Either stuff it in your carry-on or hold it until you get a bin.

Your 311 bag needs to be taken out and placed in the bin along with your other items: jacket, shoes, purse, etc. Video cameras need to come out of their case.

Computers need to be taken completely out of their bag and placed in a separate bin.

And don’t plan to carry on those remote control cars to play with up and down the aisles. They will slow you down in security.

Also be aware that water guns are still considered weapons and will probably be confiscated at the security gate—don’t ask me how know.

Lastly, don’t wrap your Christmas gifts before you go even if they are in your checked luggage. You may find TSA has unwrapped them to check them out. It’s best to send gifts on ahead by USPS or UPS or FEDEX or reindeer. I don’t think Santa has all the security checks we do.


Terra said...

I was so happy to learn that you avoided disaster in the pants department during the security check.

Karen said...

Thanks, she says, smiling coyly.