I seriously need to rant a little about the whole airport experience these days. Anyone who's had to fly, would you agree? It used to be novel and enjoyable, with an excitement to venture somewhere far away and new and those assisting you at the airport used to share with you in this excitement. But nowadays, it's just a big pain in the butt once you walk into the airport til the moment you're finally sitting in your seat on the plane.
Let's walk together through the agony of checking in and security... Unless you are part of the elite Business class, or have your Star, Gold, Latitude, Priority or whatever other tier you've managed to reach from racking up frequent flyer points or paid extra for those few extra inches of leg room, then you'd be waiting in line with me while that isle on the other side of the line divider stays virtually empty. (I'm not bitter to those who have reached a higher tier, just find the ladder a bit ridiculous. Marc reached Priority once and was fun while it lasted.) It's even better if you have the privilege of traveling with an infant, whom you can never enter on your booking itinerary online or beforehand. I'm usually refused at the little electronic check-in kiosk that's supposed to make life easier since I have an infant- why wouldn't they make the process easier FOR those traveling with children?? It takes extra long for the agent to figure out how to get the lap infant onto my boarding pass, but eventually it's all squared away, after paying an extra tax for baby. Ok, on ahead to security, the most joyous part of the adventure. They have the line for families and handicapped at most airports now, which is a nice gesture, but does not actually get you on ahead of anybody, since I always seem to be the target of random selection for screening. Ok, why would a mother with five kids in tow bother transporting drugs or bombs?? Just sayin'. And why in the world do they have to check your boarding passes five times in the same line up?! I love it when they tell you to put your boarding pass in your passport with the photo page open in one line. Then at the next line you enter they tell you something different, with a slight attitude at your perceived stupidity for not knowing what you're 'supposed' to do. Pretty soon too you're not gonna be allowed to travel with any liquids, gels, gum, metals, foods, or electronics... Maybe not even paper! Can you believe that a security scanner picked up that I had a paper receipt in my pocket and I was told to remove it? Heck, it'd be easier to travel in your bathing suit and then buy what you need at your destination. (I dream of a day when that's all I will need to travel with on my way to an exotic beach destination...but that's besides the point.) Then at least I wouldn't have to unpack my whole carry-on in front everyone to expose all my belongings, or have my body scanned through my clothes.
Well, since I'm a conspiracy theorist, I think it's all a big scam to force us to buy more- $5 bottles of water, $10 sandwiches. Or maybe it's all politics, a way to avoid the real issue of why the whole security process even had to be instituted- extremist terrorists who, from what I've followed mostly seem to be from the same type of people group. Maybe I'll get myself in trouble saying so, but it is a free country with freedom of speech, right? Instead of making us all suffer with cumbersome security systems and processes that waste a whole lot of our time and energy, why can't they profile based on those groups who've posed the threats in the past? (I'm not at all meaning to comment racially.) Why are these 'random' security checks posed on the vast majority of innocent travellers just trying to get to their exciting destinations? I know, it's all in the name of safety, for the common good, while we risk losing our rights of freedom, privacy and who knows what else.
Today, we had an early morning flight, thankfully with no kids this time and it was a bit less painful. But they tell you to be there two hours before. Security wasn't even open when we got there two hours before. Marc and I were the first ones in line and what do ya know, they had to screen us. Seriously? The first ones in line? I jokingly asked the officer if that body scanner they made me stand in causes cancer. He didn't seem to think that was funny. Then when they told me I had to have my hands swabbed to check for chemical residue, the machines weren't even ready yet. I tried to lightly joke with them again that they were getting right on it first thing in the morning and again not amused. I know they are just doing their job, but do they gotta be so serious to make you all nervous like they are going to find out some secret sin of yours before you're able to escape on your voyage? What have we done anyway? We're just trying to get to that fun getaway.
Well, we finally get through and to our gate. When called to board, the list if all the elite tiers is rattled off for priority boarding and THEN pre-boarding for those who may need a little extra time with little ones or elders. I'm sorry, but how is that pre-boarding if half the plane is already loaded with the elites? What really cracks me up is when they finally call economy class passengers, but you better not go into the Priority boarding side of the lines even though it's empty and there's two agents taking tickets.
Kay. I think I've said enough for now. Maybe another time I'll rant about the actual airlines and immigration. That's another load. I do want to say of all the flights I've taken lately, I appreciate Westjet the most. They really do try to bring the fun back into flying high, once you get through check-in and security. I guess a solution to this experience would just be to not fly. Unfortunately, that's impossible for our lifestyle.