Security checks are widely different around the world. The common things are the metal detectors and the x-ray machines. Beyond that, everything is different.
There’s the mini-interrogation in Amsterdam where they want you to sweat. I used to carry stainless steel collar stays. It took me a minute to convince them they weren’t knives. (I’m pretty sure they knew but wanted to see me panic. I often wonder if it’d be quicker just to panic at “Where are you from?”)
In Singapore, the metal detector and x-ray machines are at each gate so you don’t wait in the long lines like in the states. Singapore is the most efficient and comfortable airport in the world, IMHO. In Delhi, you have to x-ray your bags and get them tagged before checking in. In China everyone gets frisked and all the friskers are women, unlike in the states where men frisk men and women frisk women. I asked a Chinese colleague why on both issues. On why everyone is frisked, it’s because they don’t trust the metal detectors. On why all women friskers, he said “Because men won’t complain.”
I could write pages on just these differences but staying in the spirit of being helpful, I’m going to focus on how to efficiently get through airport security in the US. It was part of the lunch topic with my friend Kurt Kolb.
Use the VIP line – There are few benefits of having a lot of flight miles. One of them is that we get that special card that says, “I’m the idiot who flies too much.” That said, showing it allows us to go through the VIP line. This causes the people in the longer line to stare daggers but we’ve earned it because we’re the idiots who fly too much. What if you don’t have one of these cards? Pull out a gold or silver credit card and politely walk through like you own the place. Not that I’ve ever done that but I’ve seen it work.
Go to the line on the far left or right – (There’s an “unless” here but you’ll have to wait for that.) I don’t know why it is but people in the US just like to go to the line that’s closest to them after they get their ID scanned. On a typical day the outside lines are the shortest and they’re usually filled with the veteran travelers who know how to go through quickly.
Don’t get behind kids – (Here’s an “unless.”) I have nothing against kids at all and many years ago I was one of those parents traveling with little ones. The problem is parents of little ones tend to carry everything. I know my wife and I did. When carrying a lot of stuff, when the person has more than two feet to take shoes off of and we add the wonderment of excited kids going to see Mickey, we have a bottleneck.
Newbies – (Another “unless”) – You know them when you see them. They can’t decide which line to get into. They’re wearing a belt buckle the size of a steering wheel. They’re doing nothing in line to get ready for the x-ray and metal detector. Help them out in a polite way. Most welcome the help and all the professional travelers behind you will think you’re a hero. After helping go the line on the far right or far left.
Everything in your briefcase or luggage – Even before you get to the ID check put everything that will set off the metal detector, in your briefcase or suitcase. Phones, watches, ear buds, money, wallet, jacket, etc. Basically everything but the clothes you need to keep from committing indecent exposure.
That’s all for this installment of TravelTrix. Happy travels… Happy trix!!!
©2013 Rick Wong – The Five Abilities™ LLC