Modern Flight?

Modern flight is a miracle drained of every delight.

Sept. 26, 2006

I've seen Tums confiscated before a flight from St. John's.
Tums, this made no sense.
In fact, it was anti-sensical. In a province that very rightly worships corned beef and cabbage, where salt beef is more popular than Smarties, you should not confiscate a person's Tums. Tums should be handed out. They should be obligatory.
What are they saving us from? Muted belching at 29,000 feet?
Modern flight is a miracle drained of every delight.
Some airline security protocols make no sense whatsoever.
Air travel before 9/11 was tedious and sometimes frustrating. There was always an arbitrary edge to the behaviour of airline companies and airport management, but since 9/11, for people who have to travel or do so frequently, it is gruesomely rich in a variety of irritations, interminable line-ups, inexplicable searches of the most unlikely candidates.
Everyone has the story of an aging, faint, half-paralyzed grandmother searched as if she were Osama's mistress.
It's become a welter of surliness, silences over cancelled flights, one delay piled on top of another with less information to the long suffering patients I mean passengers than a blank sheet of paper in a blizzard. Belts are taken off as if beer bellies were the next threat, shoes capriciously winded, some carry-on bags checked as if they were stamped with Semtex as a brand, others whisked through.
One pilot, I'm told of, since they started banning highly explosive materials such as Crest and Colgate Total, was denied permission to take onboard his toothpaste, even though in his sealed captain's cockpit, there's a fire axe at his disposal, and yes, even without toothpaste, the plane is under his control. Can't brush his teeth in flight, but he can sharpen an axe blade or head to Cuba.
They tell us it's all for our own good, and who's going to argue?
But after the plot to blow up planes in midair that was exposed this summer, they laid down the law on bottled water, mouth wash, tins of soft drink, perfumes, liquid mascara, eyewash, lipstick and deodorant, every substance that makes one human being being locked in a cigar case for three or four hours mildly unapproachable by another.
I wonder how many have been struck by the thought than in the name of precaution, the airlines and the security people have been walking down one road called useless until it joins up with another one called ridiculous?
How much of airport security is one massive placebo, a bright metaphorical pill for all of us to swallow to make us feel better?
How much is a complicated costly, massive annoying set of procedures that sheep-like we all put up with because the fellow next to us is putting up with it too? But which, if passengers were asked their candid opinion about its actual effectiveness, would readily say it's something pretty close to a waste of time and money?
Well, today, they lifted the ban on toothpaste, mascara, eyewash and hand cream, three ounces each and bring your own zip-loc bags. You'll be glad to know, however, that perfume bottles shaped like grenades are still banned as are arrow and darts used in crossbows. I feel slightly better. Pass me a Tums. For "The National", I'm Rex Murphy
God I hate flying, I used to love it when I was a kid. I've been in just about every type of aircraft you can imagine, excepting military aircraft of course. Every freaking time I fly, they search my carry on like I'm some lunatic drug transporter. I have to admit, my heart rate jumps when they pull out that wand with the cotton ball and start swabbing my stuff. I think I know why now though, they must see my resentment from 100 yards, and I know it's coming. Last time I flew out of Halifax, the security guy in the airport freaked out at this middle aged woman for using one of those cart/dollies in the line up. The security line was all the way out into the common area of the airport, it's not like she was plannng on bringing it into the aircraft with her. I've also had the shoes x-ray'd but that doesn't really bother me. What bothers me the most is how they treat my stuff. I'm not really sure what bugs me the most, whethor I resent the treatment, or just irritated by the whole show.
I think since September 11 the Canadian Government has used terrorism to retract alot of our freedoms, nothing large or overt but a little pieces of freedom gram by gram. The new Identity cards are just another example of tracking the people, it's not needed but chances are the Feds will be able to track us like cattle. Oh joy. The airport security personel are freaking scary, no continuity of policy they just pick whom they like to power trip on and make that travelor's day a nasty one.
It has always seemed strange to me that they go through my carry on bag like I was Osama himself and subject me to everything but an **** probe, and my main luggage is weighed and thrown onto the conveyor and forgotten. Wouldn't that be a better place to hide explosives than your toothpast tube?
LOL it makes no sense does it Juan, I think it's something concocted by the stores at the Airport. Make us throw out all our hygene products so we can pay 100 percent above the normal cost for a tube of tooth paste and deodorant. Have you ever watched what they put the Pilots through, why for heavens sake they have the damn Aircraft under their control do they really need another weapon at hand. It's so stupid, it reeks of Government Incompetance doesn't it.
Well, there are crazies out there and I suppose one could fill a toothpaste tube with semtex and make a bomb that would bring down an airliner, but perfume, and roll on deodorant, aftershave, is nonsense. If they take your toiletries, they should pay you for them.
What's really funny/bizarre is that these rules and regulations have been in place for awhile and yet people still get in a panic/uproar going thru security. Get over it folks. I have flown a few times from Canada to Australia and back since 911 and once this year after the summer plots. It is part of life and you have to deal with it.

My worst experience was flyingthru Hong Kong in 04 during the SARS outbreak. You want to talk abput stress. I had to fill out a questionare about my travels and health and submit to a quick checkup just to get thru the terminal. The gentleman in the line up before me had a fever and was take for a full check up including a fluid/blood check. He later told me that was the most stressful event he had ever faced.
As stupid as they sound, they have to do them even if transportation security doesn't agree with it. In the US you're not allowed to take a pocket knife on an airplane, yet you can take small scissors on the plane with no problems. You can take matches on an airplane, yet you get your lighters taken away from you.

They might have a reason for that, I think it's stupid, but you never know what people could actually be hiding in the tums container.

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