Gone Away / Tags


Another hour to kill at the airport in Mexico City

Another hour to kill at the airport in Mexico City

— After nearly four weeks in Mexico City, I checked out of my room at 3 am in anticipation of my 6 am flight. I figured I’d need about 15 minutes to wait for an Uber, a half-hour for the ride to the airport, and another half-hour for check-in and security, putting me at the gate an hour before the 5:15 am boarding time — a comfortable cushion. Instead, it took two minutes for the Uber, 20 minutes for the ride, and less than ten minutes for check-in and security, putting me at the gate about 45 minutes earlier than planned.

My customary airport rant has been canceled for lack of outrage

— This is the point in my travels where I usually go on a rant about the TSA. Today, I can’t. Every TSA agent I interacted with today was pleasant, courteous, and professional. I’ve heard and read a number of horror stories about checking in firearms at the airport, concerning both the airlines and TSA. This was my first time, so I prepared myself for the worst. I didn’t have a problem from either American Airlines or TSA.
The long journey home from Montpellier is underway

The long journey home from Montpellier is underway

— After fifteen days in Montpellier, France, our long journey home to Phoenix is underway. The upside of getting an early start is not having to rush. The downside is a lot of time spent waiting. We unwittingly arrived at the airport an hour before check-in was scheduled to begin for our flight to Paris. We used the time to enjoy a coffee and the sandwiches Kathryn made us last night from food we otherwise would have had to throw out.

Cookies and our breaking points

— If you’re reading this, we’ve safely landed in Detroit. I’ve never been to this airport before, but I hear it’s nice. I’ll report back when I’ve had a chance to look around. In the past, I’ve had a difficult time sleeping on airplanes. However, on the flight from Phoenix, I was asleep before we pushed back from the gate. I slept for well over an hour. I woke up feeling great, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the two tall beers I had at the airport.
Patiently mingling with the unwashed masses in Miami

Patiently mingling with the unwashed masses in Miami

— We’re at Miami International Airport, waiting for our flight back to Phoenix. What a shithole. For once, TSA wasn’t the problem at the security checkpoint; it was totally clueless passengers. I mean, signs were posted in nine languages, and it seems like half of traveling public here can’t read any of them. Ugh. On the plus side, we just finished an Asian fast-food dinner that made Panda Express seem upscale, and I’m looking forward to a Cuban coffee.

TSA allows passengers through checkpoint without screening

— https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/tsa-jfk-passengers-bypass-security-checkpoint-article-1.2977418 I couldn’t resist sharing a link to this recent news about my favorite three-letter agency. I’m not sure which troubles me more, that the TSA couldn’t be bothered to perform its most basic function, or that such a large part of the traveling public doesn’t recognize the screening is little more than security theater.

Credit where due at Sky Harbor, particularly to TSA

— We’re at the airport in Phoenix, and it’s time to give some credit where it’s due. First, when we arrived at the self check-in kiosk, we got a message telling us we were misconnected at Salt Lake City. The Delta personnel who resolved the situation were patient and friendly. After having the agent check several alternate routes, we’re back on the same route with a shorter-than-normal layover. Apparently the minimum is supposed to be 30 minutes; we’ll have 27.

Passing through Atlanta Hartsfield en route home

— I’m at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport in the boarding area for the flight back to Phoenix. After an exhausting flight from Johannesburg, at this point we’re roughly three-quarters of the way home. The formalities in Atlanta were tolerable. The low point, as usual, was the TSA checkpoint. For the second time this trip, it was Kathryn, not I, who lashed out verbally at a TSA “officer”. The CBP folks, on the other hand, were both professional and personable.

Tyranny’s Steadfast Ally

— Those of you who read my blog know I have little respect for the TSA. Those of you who’ve known me longest may remember that one of the few times I’ve bothered to write to an elected official was to oppose the nationalization of airport security, way back in 2001 when it was being debated in the wake of the September 11 attacks. So last week, when Reason.com offered its readers a contest to decide what the letters TSA really stand for, I couldn’t resist offering a suggestion.