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January 20, 2014

Walking Through Airports

Steven R. Berryman

Flew into Miami Beach BOAC, didn’t get to sleep last night…well, it wasn’t quite like that old iconic Beatles tune had it way back in the day; my business trip to Indianapolis wasn’t that rushed but did include sushi in Charlotte despite a destination of Baltimore.


The “Fab Four” of Abbey Road fame did have to rush – only due to their celebrity status – but surely didn’t have the TSA’s cattle-stall welcoming system. Examining three world class international airports first hand on Friday, I witnessed this year’s “state of the art” of air travel travails; for those who had given it up due to those bomb detectors that take your clothes off electronically, and feel-you-up strip searches, maybe give them another chance!


No, no, they can’t see your private parts naked in the scanner (so they say) but keep an eye out for smirks, just in case). And they don’t touch you...


Remove your hat, coat, belt, pockets, cell phone, firearms, knives, toenail clippers, etc., first to shorten the trip. Wear a wireless bra. I heard that if you bring pumped breast milk for the baby on the trip they make you sip it to see if it will explode; interesting.


My advice to you is to buy an E Ticket and check in early. You can have a scannable code sent to your smart phone and just show it at the gate as you check bags, and then just have your state-issued driver’s license handy. You can’t fly without I.D.


Be sure your smart phone is fully charged at your moment of departure!


Check out the details of your air carrier. There’s cash hiding in the details! Southwest lets you check two bags up to 50 pounds for free. U. S. Air, soon to be merged, charges you $60 to check in two.


And then they brag about their transferrable Skymiles program!


See what kind of plane it is. The Airbus 319 is really neat, but seats are tight. The older but venerable Boeing 757s are nicer. Be sure to get a window seat for fun, to enjoy the topography.


Drinks are not complementary, and you can only pay by credit card. Unless you want a soda.


To be a savvy traveler:


View your total travel times and details of itinerary carefully, and whether you will suffer a connecting flight for their convenience. It may be worth the dough to take the direct flight, but be prepared to pay up. The adventurous business traveler may enjoy the experience because the longer airport adventures due to the longer suggested lead-times have spawned the airport-as-shopping-mall.


All of these behemoth airparks feature a bar and a restaurant (no churches yet) with a bathroom within feet of all of the gates. Yes, do chart the locations of all lavatories, as you will find they are crucial to your overall traveling experience....because like an ice hockey game, you have found the home of the $8 beer.


Definitely don’t eat before you go to fly. If you show up the recommended two hours early, you will need to fill the time. The Air Mall has food and junk food everywhere. Only eat food that you actually recognize.


Should you need ground transportation at your destination, be sure to arrange that ahead of time, as well. Avis and others can be contacted directly through the same website that arranged your ticket, even if somebody else bought that for you. The check-in/out of a car or van or sports car (whatever you want!) was amazingly fast and efficient; like a blur.


Back in the Baltimore’s BWI now; who'd of thunk that returning there would be such a pleasure.


No more O.J. Simpson running through airports (he’s in jail anyway).


It’s fun to fly again.

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