back in black like a mack attack, Jack

June 29th, 2005

I’m back, yay hooray. Now, a story about my return trip:

Okay, so I’m going through security at Pittsburgh International Airport (or PIT, as the hip airport-savvy kids are calling it), when one of the security folks flagged me down and informed me that I was randomly selected for additional security screening. He quickly stamped a friendly little “Inspected By” stamp like you might see on USDA-approved beef and directed me to a nondescript metal detector line to the far right of the rest. I was instructed to remove my shoes (which were then taken from me for additional scans), and after the standard walkthrough metal detector, I was given the wand treatment (this is where they wave their magic wand all around you and up between your legs, dangerously close to the crotchular area) and a friendly all-over pat-down. Afterward, I was directed to a nearby chair while the man proceeded to go through my backpack, making sure there were no hydrogen bombs folded into my t-shirts or whatever (I declined to bring any baggage beyond my carry-on, so it contained all the clothing and toiletries I brought on the trip. I should stress at this point that the bag was exceedingly difficult to pack up before I left for the airport. I didn’t have any larger backpacks available to me, so I had to stuff as many clothes into it as possible).

I don’t want you to get me wrong here. I’m not complaining about the often-berated “price of freedom” portrayed in this story. It’s a price I’m glad to pay in order to feel secure while flying. Of course, I already felt plenty secure before the pat-down, but that’s beside the point.

The point I’m getting at is this: after determining that my bag was cruise missile-free, he instructed me to pack the bag up and took off, with nary an offer to assist me in repacking! Stef can attest to the extreme effort that was necessary to get that zipper closed and contain all the items. And the guy just left me to my own devices! Could he not have at least apologized for the inconvenience?

If rudeness is the aforementioned price of freedom, I may have to rethink my stance on the matter.

9 Responses to “back in black like a mack attack, Jack”

  1. Anonymouson 29 Jun 2005 at 8:24 am

    Should have warned you– they are a gazillion more times likely to flag you if you’ve made your reservations close to the time of departure. I got a pat down that was fairly invasive both on my way to interview for this job and on my way home. Was it in Pittsburgh? They made Alicia really upset once also.

  2. marioon 29 Jun 2005 at 7:24 pm

    Yeah, it was in Pittsburgh. The lady in front of me said she had to go through this routinely; apparently, her kids get flagged more often than not, so the whole family has to go through it.

  3. aerhaeron 29 Jun 2005 at 9:13 pm


  4. Anonymouson 30 Jun 2005 at 1:05 am

    ….yeah. In other news, this dude in Charlotte keeps trying to get me to go drink beers and go to the beach with him, after touring the Charlotte facilities. I think he’s concerned that I have no social life and also I guess it leaked that I’m female. Is the Charlotte airport cool at all? I am told that it is way cooler than the Pittsburgh airport, but I don’t believe it.

  5. Anonymouson 30 Jun 2005 at 1:07 am

    ^ That last message was (obviously) from Stef. Some testy livejournal diva-type has been getting on my case for not identifying my responses. Consider it identified. 😛

  6. marioon 30 Jun 2005 at 2:53 am

    But who posted the identifier post?!?

  7. Anonymouson 30 Jun 2005 at 3:33 am

    Captain Snuggly, the world’s most heroic angora rabbit!

  8. marioon 19 Sep 2005 at 5:07 pm

    After all this time, I never answered your question! The Charlotte airport is way cooler than the Pittsburgh airport. They’ve got a row of rocking chairs to sit in.

    The funny part is, you’ve been to this airport since you made this post oh so long ago! Xing!

  9. raspberrypaion 30 Jun 2005 at 5:45 am

    Before getting on the flight back from Japan, they had to check my very large, very full and tightly packed backpack THREE times before it cleared. You know what set it off? An alarm clock (made of thin metal) and a pair of nail clippers that happened to be stacked on top of each other. Anyway, the lady was very careful about my stuff and she repacked it all herself. I felt like I would get in trouble if I tried to help her. But I did end up helping her get the zipper closed all the way. Every time she had to open something, like my cosmetics bag or even the container for my mouthguard, she always said “Excuse me” first before opening. The people seemed very nice but still were strict with the rules.

    But thanks for the post, it’ll help me with my paper on differences in culture that I have to turn in soon.