Monday, June 29, 2009

Flying's Da Bomb

So I'm standing in line at airport security wishing I were somewhere more pleasant, like maybe the Siberian tundra, when a whole mess of beeping wakes me out of my dog-sledding vodka-swigging trance.

Airport Guy: Excuse me ma'am, what's in this metal box?
Me: A camera.
Airport Guy: (eying me warily) A camera?
Me: A camera.
Airport Guy: What kind of camera?
Me: A video camera.
Airport Guy: For videos?
Me:... yep.

Airport guy is clearly not satisfied with this description and so he asks me to open the camera case, which, granted, is bulky and reinforced with metal and locks and all sorts of things which someone might want to surround their delicate video equipment with. Airport Guy does not wait for me to open the camera case before he grabs it back from me and bangs it down on the counter five or six times.

Airport Guy: Why's it rattling?
Me: I think because you're banging it.
Airport Guy: Are you kidding me?
Airport Guy: You think I don't know what a camera sounds like?
Me: What?
Airport Guy: What's in the box, ma'am?
Me: My camera!
Airport Guy: (opening the box) And what about this, huh?
Me: Padding.
Airport Guy: Padding for what?
Me: Padding. It protects the camera incase it gets all banged around.
Airport Guy: Banged?
Me: Banged.
Airport Guy: Bang?
Me: What?
Airport Guy: Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over here.

So I step over there, a little gray room with no windows, where I am introduced to Airport Gal.

Airport Gal: A camera?
Me: A camera!
Airport Gal: Please turn the camera on ma'am.
Me: I can't, it's out of batteries.
Aiport Gal: That's pretty convenient, don't you think?
Me: Not really.
Airport Gal: Where are you traveling to?
Me: I'm going to Florida to visit my publishing company
Airport Gal: Like, books?
Me: Books.
Airport Gal: You said this was a camera.
Me: It is a camera.
Airport Gal: How do you know?
Me: I... what?
Airport Gal: Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over here.

So I step over there, and I am acquainted with Airport Man, who is distinguishable from Airport Guy by a massive belly and an even more massive mustache. I wait for nearly a half hour for Airport Man to get off of a phone call, and now he wants to know what's in the box.

Me: A camera! Look! Listen, my plane is leaving in like 15 minutes and I really can't miss-
Airport Man: This will take as long as it needs to take ma'am. What's this?
Me: Lens cleaner.
Airport Man: Lens cleaner?
Me: For the camera.
Airport Man: We're going to have to confiscate this.
Me: But it's under the liquid limit!
Airport Man: Would you be willing to taste it?
Me: What??
Airport Man: Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over -
Me: Don't you think if I wanted to transport a bomb I'd pick something more discreet to transport it in? This box is plated in shiny metal with huge rivets and locks and it's massive! Who would think this was a good place to hide a bomb!? Duffel bag, sure. Baby stroller, very inconspicuous. But this? I mean, you might as well rollerblade through customs dressed as a giant stick of TNT.

And that's how you get you get your lens cleaner confiscated and your red sweatshirt triple x-rayed in the special back office in a little grey windowless room next to airport security.

God Bless America.


  1. So what happened to the camera? Did they give it back to you?

  2. Holy frickin' crap.

    Don't you just love this county? :/

  3. Never argue. Apologize for messing up their day. And ask for their advice. "What should I transport my camera in that would make your job easier?" "Do you think I should Express Mail that to myself from now on? I worry, because that camera was a present." "Do you need to confiscate that bottle? Because I guess I can get more lens cleaner in Florida. It costs about $3." In other words, roll over and let them know they are Alpha. It's not right. But if you are annoyed, they become suspicious. And if they think you are condescending, they have nothing better to do than show you who has the power by making you miss your flight.

  4. ... What bitches. On the plus side (assuming they didn't confiscate the camera) they didn't dismantle it just to make sure you weren't smuggling anything inside it.
    They sounds like losers with a power trip.

  5. What is with airport security? They are all crazy acting. Last time I flew the man asked me, "Are those official TSA locks on your bag?" I said, "Yes." "Okay, then I will take your word for it." I told him he was free to open the bags in front of me and look through anything he wants but he then backed off.

    The problem is every person who works in TSA treats everything differently and there are no regulations to anything.

  6. I have a theory about airport security officials: When they were children, they'd go to the zoo, not to see animals, but to poke them through the bars with a stick.

    I flew out of Newark airport last year, and the assholes thought it was not only acceptable but necessary to empty my makeup bag, confiscate my foundation (which was under the liquid limit), and up-end my cigarettes 'accidentally' onto the floor.

    I feel your pain.

  7. Hahahahahaha.... *falls off chair*

    Oh, um, sorry. Yeah, that's an awful thing to have happen. Silly airport-type people.

  8. What a terrible situation!!
    That being said, that's the funniest thing I've heard in awhile...


  9. Once on a family vacation with my parents, the check in person told my dad he had been randomly pre-selected for more intense screening so he had a separate security line to get in while the rest of us got in the normal line.

    Why would they tell anyone that?? If they had something they wanted to smuggle, they'd just leave, miss their flight, rebook and come back the next day, wouldn't they? What good does it to do to tell people you're going to search them before they're in a place where they can't get away?

    Yeah, airport security is a joke.

  10. Slick. I saw this video on youtube not so long ago about a these people the goverment of spain was watching ; they thought they were terrorist and subjected them to all sorts of crazy sexual torture. It just reming me of it because of the little grey room.


  11. By the way , you wrote "you get" twice in the last paragraph. just saying